News Coronavirus watch17 Nov 2020

US:Independent agents face pandemic-induced challenges

The constant dominance of the agent channel in the insurance industry continues to face strong headwinds due to increased competition and evolving consumer expectations that have been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the JD Power 2020 US Independent Agent Performance and Satisfaction Study, misalignment and poor execution continue to place agent-based carriers on their heels in their ongoing battle with direct-to-consumer insurers as the channel of choice among modern property and casualty insurance consumers.

The study, now in its third year, was developed in alliance with the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. It evaluates the evolving role of independent agents in P&C insurance distribution, general business outlook, management strategy and overall satisfaction with personal lines and commercial lines insurers in the US.

“The effects of COVID-19 have highlighted the importance of personalised insurance as consumers seek help navigating their way through this period,” said JD Power head of property and casualty insurance intelligence Tom Super.

“Ironically, in many instances, it was direct-based carriers, which have made a concerted effort in recent years to emulate the high-touch and high-quality agent experience that were able to step up and deliver during this crisis. The independent agent channel should use this as a learning experience and redouble efforts toward improved alignment, execution and efficiency to drive more beneficial customer outcomes,” he said.

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