In my last blog, I identified two important approaches carriers can take to keep the independent agency (IA) channel a viable source of short- and long-term benefit. This blog discusses the first one: become a preferred carrier across a larger number of agencies.
Such an enviable position is a natural result of a carrier’s intent to increase loyalty among IAs. Several key elements can help carriers to do so:
- Increase ease of doing business for efficient interaction between agent and carrier to create a satisfying customer experience.
- Provide specialized knowledge and skills, from better product intelligence, transaction support, and collaboration options.
- Support effective agency operation, rather than just product sales, to tighten the carrier-agent relationship.
- Clearly define customer ownership to support agents’ efforts to remain accessible and relevant to customers at all times.
- Enable key agent-customer interactions to help agents more directly assist customers when issues arise—thus, increasing customer loyalty and retention for both agent and carrier.
- Provide unique customer service capabilities, such as after-hour and peak-hour service support that is provided on behalf of their agency, rather than the carrier.
- Embrace third-party distribution capabilities to provide the vast majority of agencies with the scale, skill, scope, and capital that enable growth.
- Improve claims services coordination to create a mechanism for independent agents to play a role in the claims process.
Next week, I’ll discuss the second key strategy for creating more value from the IA channel: build a high-performance agency network that thrives on the carrier’s strengths.
To learn more about empowering the IA channel, read the full report: Creating Value in the Independent Agency Channel.