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

by Craig Weber, March 28, 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.


Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally based analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is a wholly-owned operating unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

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Table of Contents

Boston, MA, USA March 28, 2006

Executive Summary 3
Introduction 5
  Methodology 5
  Limitations 5
About The Respondents 7
Business Practices And Challenges 11
  Carrier Concentration 12
  Cycle Time 14
  The Data Entry Challenge 16
  Use of Technology 17
  How Producers Get Things Done 18
  Tools Used 19
  Evolving Behavior? 20
  Electronic Data Capture 21
  E-Signatures 24
  Teleunderwriting 24
Carrier Selection 27
  Overall Satisfaction 28
  Carrier Choice Drivers 30
  Impact of Experience Levels 34
  Help in Prioritizing Initiatives 37
  Becoming a Favorite Carrier 39
  About the Data 39
  Named Favorites 41
  Favorite Carrier Reasons 41
Conclusions 43
Appendix A: Selected Respondent Comments 44
Appendix B: The Survey 48
Objectivity & Methodology 52

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