Most of the 38,000 independent agencies (IAs) in the United States are small businesses that generate annual premiums of $5 million to $6 million, with 7 to 12 full-time employees.
As part of the Accenture 2014 Independent Agent Survey, we asked more than 1,100 IAs about operational enhancements that would help their agencies grow. The top priority was improving customer service. This finding is consistent with IAs’ clear focus on retaining existing customers, as I discussed in my last post.
Adding a new producer also ranked high; however, given the size of most agencies, this can represent a sizable investment. IAs also prioritize technology to streamline operations, through more efficient transactions. More efficient transactions allow agencies to increase their throughput while at the same time managing costs and expanding their capacity for sales and servicing.
As clearly as IAs prioritize customer retention and service, they show little enthusiasm for outsourcing of business processes as a means to growth; it was the lowest-ranked of 85 relative preferences measured in our survey.