To boost their profitability, life insurers have to identify producers who best align with their strategies and capabilities. They must also develop a greater understanding of producers’ needs, then deliver a superior “producer experience” to build loyalty, a new report concludes.
Deloitte Consulting LLP, New York, published this finding in a survey of 650 U.S.-based life and annuity producers. The report explores the outlook for producers’ business, their level of satisfaction with the support they receive from carriers and the factors that underpin their selection of a carrier when placing new business.
The Deloitte survey finds that many producers are not satisfied with the support they now receive from carriers. While 90% of the respondents say that competitive products, customer service support and new business process are “extremely important” or “very important” to the success of their business, only about 60% of those who rely on insurance carriers in these areas say they are extremely or very satisfied with the support they receive.
When asked to rank the importance of 14 factors when choosing a carrier for new business (assuming the carrier has already met the producer’s basic product and support requirements), factors that ranked most often among the top three were speed of underwriting and policy issue (48%) and sales and support (46%).
Factors that were ranked by one-third of producers as one of their top three placement factors were high quality service support, rapid processing of new business and brand of the carrier. In addition, 22% of producers placed high-quality leads among their top three factors.
The report adds that 60% of producers have appointments/contracts with six or more carriers. But the respondents say they place 61% of their new business with their top carrier and 21% with their second carrier. Carriers that are not in the number one or two spots tend to receive little or no production.
Most producers surveyed say they are optimistic about their business but also see significant threats in the years ahead.
Of the producers surveyed, the report notes, many perceive threats to their business in the trend towards direct-to-consumer sales by carriers (63%) and other financial institutions (58%), healthcare reform (56%) and increased compliance requirements (54%). However, respondents also see opportunities in the increased interest in retirement income planning (87%) and the uncertainty around the estate tax (45%).
Read the full report here.