As part of the Accenture 2014 Independent Agent Survey, IAs ranked digital capabilities fifth out of 12 priority areas, with the most interest in web-based service, claims and quoting. Web-based services are viewed as key differentiators, supporting customer acquisition and retention. This finding reveals the need for tight and effective integration between an agency’s and their carriers’ systems.

But notice the lower respective rankings of digital marketing; mobile CRM, quote, and bind; and customer engagement via social media. The fact that many IAs do not regard digital capabilities as a top priority means that they may struggle to provide a superior customer experience, particularly when it comes to serving customers who prefer digital interactions and expect high responsiveness.

Evolving the independent agent channel - agents' priorities regarding digital capabilities
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Carriers, on the other hand, are making significant investments in digital. Accenture’s 2014 CMO Insights survey found that CMOs view digital capabilities as critical to improving the customer experience. Other Accenture consumer research has found that personal lines customers are increasingly likely to interact with their insurers via digital channels. For example:

  • 71 percent of customers are willing to purchase insurance online
  • 67 percent are interested in insurance products offered via mobile device
  • 55 percent are interested in insurance offered on social media

IAs have historically delivered top-notch customer service, and as a result, enjoyed high customer retention rates. Leading independent agents will take advantage of innovative digital technologies and big data analytics to develop greater customer knowledge and insights, improve their ability to reach their target markets, and deliver a superior customer experience.

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