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Agents Prefer Carrier Portals to Their Own Agency Management Systems Says Novarica

Agency staff preference varies according to role, but producers value ease-of-use above all.

Insurers seeking to please their independent agent partners may be surprised to learn that more agents prefer using highly functional carrier-provided portals than their own agency management systems, according to findings published in Novarica's recently published "Agent Survey 2011: Personal lines -- How Technology and Service Drive Carrier Choice."

Novarica found that 42 percent of agents preferred a carrier's portal, versus 26 percent preferring their own agency management system. Twenty-nine percent answered "I like them both pretty equally," and the remaining 3 percent expressed no preference.

Respondents' role within the agency was key to understanding their preference, according to the study. Agency principals were far more likely (38 percent) to prefer working through their agency management system because, Novarica speculates:

It may be because their own Agency Management System is better able to give consolidated reports for the whole agency and principals are generally more interested in managing their agency than producers or CSR's are.

Producers were the most willing to work with either agency management system or carrier portal, expressing a slight preference for the latter. However, carriers should note that ease of use was the driver in either case.

CSRs were far more likely to prefer carrier portals: only 20 percent preferred working through the agency management system, according to Novarica.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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