INSURANCE AGENTS SPEAK
It has been said that you need to know where you are to determine how best
to get where you want to go. That is the motivation behind the National
Underwriter/PIA Independent Agent Survey—to provide deep, revealing
insight into the challenges, needs, and demographics of independent Property
& Casualty insurance agents across the U.S.
More than a year ago, PIA began talks with the National Underwriter about
joining together to conduct the most comprehensive and exhaustive survey of
America’s independent agency force that has ever been attempted to date. We
are proud to deliver that survey.
The extensive questionnaire for this project was crafted by PIA, NU, renowned intelligence firm Flaspöhler,
part of NMG Consulting (with which NU has enjoyed a decade-long editorial relationship) and its carrier
The results of this project are now being shared as a data-rich cover feature of charts, graphs and editorial
analysis in this issue of NU, on PropertyCasualty360.com and in a subsequent issue of PIA’s print magazine,
Our findings provide a detailed picture of the current state of a representative cross-section of America’s
professional, independent insurance agents. This data set will be useful to PIA, in developing our own
strategies to help our members succeed, and to carriers in their dealings with their appointed agencies. The
findings will also inform National Underwriter’s editorial coverage going forward in serving agents.
We were heartened to discover that agents were generally more positive when asked to rate their agency’s
relationships with their carriers over the past three to five years. More than half ( 51.2%) said their carrier
relationships remained the same, while 27.2% said they improved and 21.7% reported they had declined.
Our questions revealed that PIA members want a lot from their carriers, but there are some recurring themes.
A somewhat higher priority is given to access to current forms; timely information on new products and
product changes; pricing continuity; technology support; and knowledgeable company representatives.
The level of demographic information collected is extensive and serves to paint a detailed portrait of the
independent agency universe. There is reporting of three-year trends in commission levels, by lines; detail
on revenue derived from various lines; plans for expansion or contraction of involvement in various lines;
planning by P&C agencies for expansions into Life & Health; strategies and tactics for overall agency
expansion and perpetuation; and agencies’ use of technology.
All of the data are augmented by frank (and anonymous) comments by agency principals in the form of
responses to multiple, open-ended questions on provocative topics, such as their feelings about their carriers;
their perspectives on commission rates; and what they need to grow their agencies. This feedback should be of
particular interest to carriers.
This groundbreaking survey provides our industry with the most comprehensive and
accurate picture of what professional independent insurance agents need to best serve
their P&C clients — and by so doing, ensure our mutual success and profitability.
Executive Vice President & CEO
National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA)