Independent Producer Survey: Technology, Services, & Other Drivers of Carrier Choice - L/H Edition

by Craig Weber, November 11, 2003


Boston, MA, USA November 11, 2003

Independent Insurance Producers Uninspired by Carrier Offerings Insurance Reports Published by Celent

1,602 independent producers provide unique insights into how they select one carrier over another, and what it takes for a carrier to become a producer favorite.

Despite massive commitments of energy and budget by carriers seeking to strengthen their independent sales channels, most independent producers have relatively few favorite carriers and spread their new business across three carriers or more.

"Producers would gladly settle on a favorite, if only carriers would differentiate themselves by addressing the things that producers really care about," says senior analyst Craig Weber, author of Celent's latest report, Independent Producer Survey: Technology, Services, & Other Drivers of Carrier Choice (available in Life/Health and Property/Casualty editions). "But the vast majority of carriers don’t give independent producers the right suite of products, services, and technology to meet their needs," Weber adds. "The result is that distribution investments are often wasted.

The report describes how product price, features, and underwriting speed are typically table stakes— enough to put carriers in the running for a piece of new business, but not enough to differentiate the carrier and give producers a reason to concentrate their business with that carrier. (See Figure 1 above.)

"From a question about key drivers of carrier choice, it did not appear that technology was a major factor," says Weber. "But then we asked producers to name a favorite carrier and the reason for their choice. The results suggest that technology can be a key differentiator if it improves producers’ day-to-day quality of life. Producers who name favorites tend to be enthusiastic about their choice."

Survey respondents named The Hartford as a clear favorite in both Life/Health and Property/Casualty segments. Other favorites included Zurich, Travelers, AIG/Lexington, and Chubb Group for Property/Casualty, and Prudential, Pacific Life, and John Hancock for Life/Health.

Other key features of the report include:

  • Detailed breakdowns of technology available to agents in the field and how often that technology is used.
  • Insights into producer views on technology initiatives such as electronic signatures, online learning, tele-underwriting, and more.
  • An examination of how producers from different segments typically handle both new sales and servicing transactions.
  • A discussion of new business cycle time and how producers think it affects not-taken rates.

The reports are based on a Celent survey administered to 1,602 independent producers in August, 2003.  A table of contents for both reports is available online. Click here for the life/health edition, here for the property/casualty edition. 

of Celent Communications' Life/Health Insurance and Property/Casualty Insurance research services can download the report electronically by clicking on the icon to the left.  Non-members should contact for more information.


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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 November 11, 2003

Independent Producer Survey  Life/Health Edition

Return to report Abstract


  Methodology 6
  Limitations 7
  Respondent Profile 8
  Premium Production 8
  Agency Size 10
  Lines of Business 10
  Appointments 11
  Carrier Concentration 12
  Sales and Service Modes 15
  Cycle Time 15
  Electronic Data Capture 17
  Use of Technology 18
  Who Pays? 21
  E-Signatures 22
  E-Learning 24
  Tele-Underwriting 24
  Technology & Carrier Choice 25
  Carrier Choice Drivers 27
  Drill-Down on Carrier Choice 28
  Eye on the Prize: Business Concentration 30
  Differences by Products Sold 33
  Playing Favorites 34
  What Makes a Favorite Carrier? 37

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