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Are Insurers Satisfied with Their Digital Offerings for Mid/Large Commercial Distribution?

New SMA Blog by Mark Breading, Partner, Strategy Meets Action

In recent years, the mid/large commercial lines segment has worked extensively to evolve the distribution ecosystem through new partnerships and expansion strategies. Additionally, carriers in the segment have been deploying new technologies for distribution to not only enhance internal operations and processes but to further support the success of distributors, whether retail agencies, brokers, wholesalers, or MGAs. However, according to new SMA research, not all solutions meet the expectations of carrier executives today

SMA’s recently published report, Distribution Technologies for Mid/Large Commercial Lines: Carrier Plans in 2023 and Beyond, covers the current state of digital capabilities that carriers offer distribution partners, an assessment of the barriers to deploying new capabilities, and carriers’ plans to provide new solutions. The insights are based on a survey of executives at carriers focused on the mid/large commercial market.

Across the sales value chain, insurer executives generally have low satisfaction with digital sales capabilities, particularly in earlier stages of the sales process. There is significant dissatisfaction regarding digital appetite solutions, which is not entirely surprising given how little automation exists in the area. The reality is that distributors often misunderstand a carrier’s appetite – a challenge that has existed for years. Market conditions can result in the ebb and flow of a carrier’s appetite, and at times, they may pull back in writing certain risks. Other times, they may have increased appetite in a specific class. Although improved communication can help alleviate pain points, tech solutions that support appetite matching between carriers and distributors will be essential for the continued success of carrier/distributor relationships.

In contrast, insurers’ satisfaction levels with their digital offerings for servicing are notably higher than sales, with claims inquiry capabilities rating the highest among executives. Insurers continue to pour investments into claims operations as it is one of the highest touchpoint areas for policyholders. However, a recent SMA survey of agents reveals a need for carrier partners to enhance claims capabilities, with about half of agents and brokers in mid/large commercial lines desiring carriers to prioritize projects in claims download and filing capabilities.

These insights from the report highlight the imperative for carriers to continue to evolve how they interact with and serve distribution partners. Insurers that focus on strategies that enable distributors to place coverage efficiently and competitively with minimal friction and excellent customer experience will be the ones to contend with in the future.

For more information on mid/large commercial lines distribution technology strategies and investments, see our recent research report, Distribution Technologies for Mid/Large Commercial Lines: Carrier Plans in 2023 and Beyond. This report is part of SMA’s research series based on surveys and interviews of insurers, agencies, brokers, MGAs, and others in the distribution channel, including insights from ReSource Pro’s extensive footprint of distribution clients. Contact the author for more information on this new research and advisory services for distribution.

Contact the author for more information.

About The Author

Mark Breading is known for his insights on the future of the insurance industry and innovative uses of technology. Mark consults with insurers and technology companies on forward-thinking strategies for success in the digital age. His inventive methodologies, fresh ideas, creative conceptualizations, and ability to incorporate InsurTech and transformational tech in business strategies are unparalleled. He also leads SMA’s research program, publishing 25-30 research reports per year and conducting various custom research projects for insurer and vendor clients. His thought leadership in the areas of InsurTech, transformational technologies, customer experience, and digital strategies has earned him a ranking of one of the “Top Global Influencers in InsurTech” by InsurTech News and Onalytica and a place in the ten finalists for the “Top Global IoT in Insurance Influencer Award.”

Before joining SMA in 2009, Mark spent 25 years with IBM in roles including the Global Insurance Strategist and Director of Global Financial Services Executive Conferences in addition to leadership roles in consulting and marketing. Mark co-developed IBM’s Account Based Marketing program and led the global project office to implement ABM across all industry verticals worldwide. Mark has held both technical and business roles in sales, consulting, marketing, and business strategy and has advised insurers around the world for almost 30 years.

About SMA, a ReSource Pro company

At Strategy Meets Action, our clients advance their strategic initiatives and accelerate their transformational journeys by leveraging our forward-thinking insights, deep vendor knowledge, and vast industry expertise. Strategy Meets Action is an advisory firm that works exclusively with insurers, MGAs, and vendors in the P&C market. For more information, visit

About ReSource Pro

ReSource Pro brings integrated operational solutions to insurance organizations to improve growth, profitability and insurance outcomes. Headquartered in New York, ReSource Pro’s global service centers address client operational needs around the clock. Recognized as an industry thought leader and listed as one of Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies annually since 2009, the company is renowned for its focus on innovation, service excellence and trusted partnerships, and its unique productivity platform for insurance operations. More than 5,000 ReSource Pro employees provide dedicated support to hundreds of insurance organizations, consistently achieving a +97% client retention rate over a decade. For more information, visit

SOURCE: Strategy Meets Action (SMA)