Agency-Carrier Connectivity | Read Time: 5 minutes

The Latest Trends in Digital Distribution and Automated Servicing

October 3, 2019

Ivans logo. By: Ivans Communications

The digital age of insurance is here. Insurtechs are starting daily. Consumers are demanding new digital services. And regulatory changes are forcing organizations to adapt more quickly than ever before.

To learn more about how technology has influenced the insurance industry, IVANS recently conducted its annual survey to better understand agency-insurer connectivity and digital collaboration across the industry. Gathering responses from agents, MGAs and insurers about the demand for and adoption of key digital technologies, the survey results provide a roadmap for success in the digital age of insurance.

More than 1,600 independent agencies, MGAs and insurers across the U.S. and Canada participated in the 5th Annual IVANS Agency-Insurer Connectivity Survey. Results indicate that both agencies and insurers are hungry for more digital collaboration. Yet, while the independent agency channel is vital to the success of insurers’ businesses, they are not allocating the time or investment to support the connectivity needs of their increasingly digital agencies.

Are insurers focusing on the right priorities when it comes to their agency partners? Are they considering agency distribution benefits when selecting technology projects? Are agencies vocalizing their connectivity preferences enough to insurers? Read on to learn the survey’s key takeaways and discover technology that will allow you to better prepare your business for success in the digital world.

Key Trends in Digital Distribution

of agencies said they use printed appetite guides, nearly half what was reported the previous year.

In 2018, 66% of agencies surveyed reported using printed appetite guides to identify markets. The use of online applications increased, showing agencies continued migration to digital technology to identify market appetite. 81% of insurers indicated that they have moved to digital appetite guides, but nearly the same percentage also report they still produce printed appetite guides, an inefficiency that may lead to wasted time and cost. Using technology as a foundation to improve processes, agents can more easily find the right market for their risk and insurers can reach new agencies and geographies quickly and with lower costs.

of agencies believe they would write more business with insurers if they provided real-time appetite within the agency management system.

Agencies continue to demonstrate to insurers the importance of integrated connectivity as part of their daily workflows, requesting quicker access to markets and product information. Insurers need to market directly to agencies via tools that integrate into agents’ daily workflows, making it easier to keep their products top of mind 24/7 and find the right agents at the right time.

of agents use comparative raters for Personal Lines quotes. Yet, 73% of agencies would prefer to quote Personal Lines directly from their agency management system.

Historically, insurers have focused on investing in company portals and comparative raters. Now that agencies are demanding greater connectivity with their insurer partners, it’s time to shift your focus to integrated quoting so that you improve ease of doing business with your agencies. You can ensure constant product visibility by quoting within agencies’ daily workflows.

Key Trends in Automated Servicing

of agencies surveyed said they place more business with those insurers that provide automation.

Gone are the days of mailed or faxed policy details to be scanned into an agency’s management system, and then filed away. The industry is pushing to be paperless, and data shows that insurers and agencies are adopting the technologies to automate this information exchange between their systems of record. The main benefit? Time savings.

hours per employee per day saved when using automated information exchange technologies.

Agency demand and adoption for download services continues to rise. Year over year, agency demand for these services remains the top request to increase ease of doing business, with 70% of agencies indicating they currently receive eDocs and Messages. Insurers recognize the benefits of eDocs and Messages download, citing an increase in ease of doing business and stronger agency relationships as the main reasons behind their investment in this download service. In fact, 58% of insurers rely on download to distribute policy information to agencies.

What This Means for Digital Transformation

Year over year, agencies and insurers continue to make strides in digital technology adoption. Yet, the prioritization and alignment on digital initiatives between agencies and insurers remains an area of opportunity. To increase ease of doing business and digital collaboration, agencies and insurers must automate distribution and servicing for both their current – and prospective – partners.

For more insights on digital distribution and servicing and the current state of agency-insurer connectivity, read our report, Agency-Insurer Connectivity: An IVANS Annual Report, now.

Ivans logo.

Ivans Communications

Ivans is where insurance carriers, agents, and MGAs come together to grow their businesses. Every day, our 34,000 agents and 450 carrier partners plug into technology that empowers them to better determine appetite and eligibility, swiftly produce quotes, get accurate claims and commission updates, automatically communicate policy data, and connect to one another to drive new business. With easier ways to get the day's work done, insurance professionals can open the door to more revenue without letting complexity in behind it.