Agent-Insurer Connectivity | Read Time: 4 Minutes

Commercial Lines: What Agencies Are Looking For

October 13, 2022

Christen Kelley headshot By: Christen Kelley

With Ivans at the center of connectivity between carriers, MGAs and agents, we often get asked about what agents are looking for in commercial lines. We took the guesswork out and interviewed two agents in a recent National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) webinar to get their thoughts on what they want from their carrier partners.

INSURICA Director of Data and Lead Resources Kylie Hubbard and Horton Group Director of Project Management Kristine Lambert sat down with me to share their agency perspectives on commercial lines process – from user experience to appetite, digital document delivery and more.

“I hope every carrier will soon utilize eDocs because it’s just so helpful in the sense that the data is immediately there.”– Kristine Lambert, Director of Project Management, Horton Group

Carrier Websites

One hot topic in the insurance world is improving the agency user experience. Agencies and carriers are looking for ease of use, especially when navigating digital processes.

“The biggest thing is the ease of use. There are still quite a few where the usability isn’t really where it needs to be, and it takes a lot of time for us to research or try to find the data we’re looking for,” Kristine said.

One example that both Kristine and Kylie gave is agency code changes.

“We do a lot of mergers and acquisitions, and when that happens, we get an additional agency code that rolls under our main agency code. But it doesn't always flow smoothly, and some carriers also make us have separate logins for different agency codes,” she said.

Kylie added on to Kristine’s point about agency codes with acquisitions.

“We're changing and rolling over codes all the time, and that process has room for improvement. There are some people who have done a really good job on that. And those are usually the ones that make that easy on us because they understand we have to do it a lot more than just that one carrier.”

Digital Document Delivery

At the beginning of the pandemic, the industry made a huge shift towards digital document delivery out of necessity when working from home.

Kristine said her agency purged paper, and with coming into the office no longer required, getting the mail from carriers has become less frequent, causing delays in getting information into the system and to the insured. Going electronic saves on printing costs for the carrier and reduces the time getting documents.

“We're trying to turn the paper off on everything, because nobody wants paper anymore,” she said.

Kylie said she has seen carriers influencing the market in a positive way towards digital document delivery.

“I think carriers have done a good job of influencing eDocs because our world can sometimes be pretty old-school...and we have people who just really like to do things the way they like to,” she said. “I think carriers have disrupted that for the better and influenced those documents to be delivered digitally.”

Appetite

Finding and placing the right risks can be challenging, but technology can help. So, what are agencies looking for when it comes to appetite communication? It starts with transparency.

“Help us understand what you [carriers] are writing…Your marketing appetite is usually, in my experience, quite a bit different than what your actual underwriting appetite is,” Kylie said. “My ask to carriers is to work with us on clarifying those appetites. Give us more insight into your underwriting guides so we can do a better job placing business with you that actually fits.”

Considerations for Future Workflows

Besides websites, what other workflows can be better from an agency perspective? Kristine and Kylie brought up agency codes and loss runs as two examples where technology can help reduce manual tasks.

Kristine gave the example of an agency asking an underwriter for loss run information when they have to check in with another team and jump through hoops to get the information.

“It would be nice if some of that data is readily available for us so that we can advise clients a lot easier,” she said.

Kylie emphasized agency codes as an area for improvement.

“We have a person who is focused solely on that. I wish there was a more standardized process because it takes a lot of hands,” she said.

Let Ivans Help

At Ivans, we’re here to help you create the best partnerships with your agency partners. Find out how we can help you ignite more connectivity and value for the entire industry.


Christen Kelley headshot

Christen Kelley

Christen Kelley leads Ivans' overall marketing strategy. She brings more than a decade of insurance technology experience to her role. Kelley holds a master's degree in Communication and Information Technology from Bay Path College, and a bachelor's in Business Administration from Bryant University.