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How IA’s are Leveraging Technology Efficiently in the Hard Market

Part Three: Hard Market Agent Survey Report
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In today’s rapidly evolving marketplace, independent agents stand at a pivotal crossroads. The emergence of cutting-edge technology has revolutionized how businesses operate, offering unprecedented opportunities for growth, efficiency and customer engagement. For independent agents, leveraging technology is necessary to stay competitive and relevant.

As noted in the recent Trusted Choice Hard Market Agent survey findings, there is wide variation in how independent agencies are leveraging technology. But how are successful firms viewing technology in the hard market? Let’s take a closer look at the survey results.

graphs that show how many agents have added technology

Agents are thinking about technology, with 32% of small agencies (sized 1-10 staff) and 45% of large agencies (25+ staff) adding technology recently. When asked how agents are managing the increased demand or inquiries from clients during the current difficult market conditions, 18% of respondents said they added new technology systems or applications specifically to address the demand of this market.

Some agents said they examined what they already had before upgrading or making changes. “[We are] learning to use our operating system more efficiently, and we see carrier portals becoming more streamlined,” says one survey respondent. Others are using their management systems to speed up submissions and remarketing efforts.

Aside from taking advantage of what was already in place, agencies are adding technology for automation, agency management and website upgrades. Agents are also using various carrier rating tools, encouraging producers to compare rates and requirements from multiple companies more effectively. One agent says, “Companies are providing tools to review renewal premium changes.” Another agent notes, “Carriers are offering capacity checkers to avoid having to complete a full application in order to identify the products available for that area quickly.”

Using Tech to Support Staff

The survey also asked agents, “How has technology supported your agency in navigating the hard market conditions?”

Technology can let clients request documents on their own directly through an agency’s website, says one surv respondent, freeing up staff time for more high-value tasks. Another firm is using artificial intelligence (AI) to automate the decision-making process as well as other processes that once demanded staff time. Automated email campaigns and communication with clients were mentioned by a number of agents, along with better quoting tools and more robust reports.

Survey respondents also noted other aspects of technology’s role. One agent observes: “New technology has taken the place of new hires—for now.” Another survey respondent believes that technology has made navigating the hard market more difficult. “We used to fill out applications, and the companies would quote,” the agent says. “Now, each company wants the agent to do all the quoting in their system.”

What Agents Are Saying

Brian Ford, CIC, Principal and Agent, Insurance Resources, Florida
Most of the agency’s revenues are from personal lines, with the balance in commercial lines. The firm is a member of a very large aggregator, facilitating access to as many carriers as possible, given the restrictive insurance market in Florida. Ford and his team have used its agency management system tools to proactively communicate and share information from outside newsletters, flyers, local articles and even Wall Street Journal articles.

Annmarie Westerfield, Chief Operating Officer, Cupo Insurance Agency, New Jersey
The agency business mix is about 75% commercial lines, including general liability, auto, property, employment practices liability, and workers’ compensation. It focuses mostly on habitational and property risks, retail and wholesale, as well as some contracting.

Westerfield strives to ensure that producers are turning in thorough and accurate submissions so underwriters will actually quote the business. “Companies are getting inundated with submissions,” she says, “so if you don’t have all the information upfront, and it’s not accurate, you’re not going to get a quote.”

Agent Solution: Leverage The Tech You Have

graph of percentages of how agents are adding tech

Most agents responding to the survey—some 40%—say they have not added any new technology. About 13% have increased automation, while 10% have upgraded their agency management systems. Most are focused on making better use of existing technology. “We have not added additional technology; [we’re] just taking more advantage of the resources already in use,” says one respondent.

“Technology solutions — such as project management software, customer relationship management (CRM) tools and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems — can automate processes, improve efficiency and reduce costs,” says another agent. “By streamlining operations, organizations can optimize resource allocation and minimize wastage.”

Need more support in this hard market? Check out the full suite of resources we have for agents here.