Independent Producer Survey: Technology, Services, and Other Drivers of Carrier Choice

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28 March 2006


Boston, MA, USA March 28, 2006

Life/health independent producers hammer home what drives them to place business with one carrier over another.

Repeating the themes from two years ago, independent producers in a new Celent survey highlighted new business support, underwriting speed, and marketing and sales support as critical drivers of carrier choice.

Voting for Carrier Choice Drivers Assume for a moment that your carriers all have identical products at identical prices. From the following list select the three most important items in terms of your decision to do business with one carrier versus another.

"Independent producers are remarkably consistent in how they view carrier choice," says senior analyst Craig Weber, author of the latest Celent report, . "They start by asking which carrier has the right product, which is an appropriate focus on customer needs. But then the focus shifts to new business support, speed, and marketing support."

Weber notes that producers gave producer portals for new business submission top billing among potential projects for carrier investment. "It's not the technology, per se, that producers are after. It's the ability to illustrate, submit, and get underwriting decisions on new cases with a minimum of effort," Weber says. "That's a healthy attitude, given the focus that producers have on generating business."

Another interesting finding from the study is that carriers do not need to have the lowest price, or the highest commission, to stand out to producers. "Producers view these items are nice-to-haves, while product, service, and new business support are absolutely essential," Weber says.

The 52-page report, which is based on an online survey of independent producers, also provides detailed insights on a variety of specific technology and service issues. Key findings discussed in the report include how "carrier concentration" (i.e., producer willingness to place business with few carriers) varies by lines of business; the impact of new business cycle time on placement rates; how "old school" tools like telephone and fax are still used by most producers to perform everyday tasks; and how producers are willing to use a mix of proprietary and non-proprietary tools to enter application data.

A table of contents is available online.