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Agents feel the need for speed

When cell phones introduced cameras and texting, I decided that my next phone would be a “camera phone.” But I really couldn’t see myself typing out messages rather than simply calling someone.

That attitude seems quaint now. Rapid developments in technology have turned former cutting-edge gadgets into antiques, and it’s easy to blame our collective human impatience on the ubiquity of fast-changing technology.

Insurance agents value speed in processing quotes

Humans hate to wait

Consider the wheel, one of the most revolutionary inventions in human history. All subsequent inventions are compared to it. The wheel was invented more than 5,000 years ago, driven by humankind’s desire for expedience. It made it easier for people to move heavy objects, increased our mobility, and quite literally changed the course of history.

Humans hate to wait. How much time is wasted waiting—at airports, in lines, on the phone, or at government agencies? Look at the Department of Motor Vehicles, which is universally reviled for making people wait. Considering all that history, it’s no surprise our recent survey of agents who write small commercial policies revealed that a top concern they have when working with insurers is speed.

After accuracy of quotes, the agents in our survey indicated that speed to quote is the most critical factor in considering which insurer to work with. In fact, 33 percent of our respondents said speed is their top concern.

Most respondents explained that they get quotes from three insurers, and it’s obvious that many agents spend considerable time gathering these multiple quotes. That’s time better spent developing new relationships and growing their business.

Challenges of small commercial market

Insurers in the small commercial market know what challenges small businesses face, and most agents are small businessowners. Agents are pressured to quote business quickly and accurately, and they welcome easy-to-use tools that make their jobs easier and faster. They’re clamoring for anything insurers can do to reduce manual tasks and redundant data entry to provide instant quotes. They need to operate in real time and submit and track the progress of applications.

Insurers have a challenge. Their product is complicated. The underwriting process requires discipline and specialized knowledge so that risk is adequately priced for both parties. Independent agents have traditionally played an important role in the small commercial transaction. Insurers need to consider agents as business partners or even as clients, rather than vendors or outsourcers.

Your customers expect to purchase any product—even an insurance policy—efficiently and automatically. Small commercial agents hold this same expectation for speed when dealing with insurers. It’s incumbent upon insurers to return accurate quotes quickly. A consistently positive experience can build customer loyalty, creating a seamless experience for your agents that helps you become the go-to insurer.

For more information on our straight-through processing solution for BOP, please visit our website.

Rick Stoll

Rick Stoll is vice president for commercial underwriting products at Verisk. You can contact him at

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