NU Online News Service, Nov. 20, 2003, 2:35 p.m EST – Relatively few independent life/health agents responding to a recent survey by Celent Communications Inc., Boston, blame slow application processing by insurers for lost life insurance sales.

Celent reports 72% of independent agents responding to its recent “Independent Producer Survey” said that slow new business cycle time results in no more than not-taken policies per 100 cases submitted.

The findings show agents can cut the erosion of business between signed application and policy issueancy by keeping clients informed about the long cycle time they should expect until the policy is issued, Celent says.

“It’s easy to say cycle time is an important cause of cases not taken, but it’s harder to say ?x’ no of cases were lost because of cycle time,” says Craig Weber, senior analyst with Celent. “When you ask that way, agents understand it’s not the primary driver. They have to manage expectations. All else being equal, agents would love faster cycle times. But they know it takes 30 to 40 days to issue a $500,000 policy, and it’s the same across all carriers.”