The attitude can be best described by one respondent, who wrote simply, “My biggest concern is the carrier’s commitment to the insured.” That isn’t to say producers are entirely without thought for their own needs. Commitment to the broker distribution channel was rated the fourthmost important priority in a carrier (7.99), with producers expressing dismay over “mixed signals” from insurers who sell directly as well as through independent agencies. That point feeds into perhaps the most widely expressed theme of all—that producers want to do business with carriers who value them as partners. Survey respondents crave frequent, open and informed communication, whether through an inperson visit or simply a human voice on other end of the line.
OPEN AND COMMUNICATIVE CLAIMS RELATIONSHIPS ARE VITAL According to the survey, transparent claims handling with frequent and detailed updates for both producers and policyholders is the most important consideration producers make when placing business. Nearly 64% of participating
producers rated claims handling as a 9 on a scale of 1–9, while another 20% rated it an 8. That means roughly eight out of 10 producers rate claims handling as among their top priorities when evaluating a carrier. For Claudia McClain, agency principal at Everett, Wash.-based McClain Insurance Services, the claims handling process is really where “the rubber meets the road,” and a carrier must perform or face an unlikely renewal. “If there is one thing a carrier should strive for, it’s opening and closing claims quickly,” says McClain. “At the time of loss, it’s a ‘moment of truth’ situation. Often, the way the claim is handled will be the determining factor on whether the client will stay with them for years to come, or jump ship.” Despite the emphasis producers place on the claims relationship, however, there seems to be room for improvement on the carrier side. Producers noted that an unacceptably high number of claims departments offer poor response times and keep the producer in the dark on claim status. When a claim does get settled, many carriers are less than timely in making payments, which snowballs into a much bigger issue at renewal time.
A CARRIER’S MOST IMPORTANT QUALITIES On a scale of 1-9, how much of a priority do you place on the following aspects of a carrier’s oﬀering?
9 8 7 6 5 4
8.29 8.14 7.99 7.95 7.94 7.82 7.60 6.85 6.69 Carrier Commitment Underwriting Technology Quick Range of Marketing Education
reputation and ﬁnancial stability
to the broker distribution channel
and automation capabilities
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