A recent poll of more than 3,000 independent agents reveals that the overall ease of doing business is a critically important factor in choosing a carrier with which to place business. The survey, conducted by Deep Customer Connections, Inc. also revealed a widening gap between agents' expectations and carriers' performance. "The gap between expectations and performance tripled on five of the 10 factors of ease of doing business," noted Paul Croke, a founding partner for the Scituate, Mass.-based consulting firm. That occurred despite the fact that the insurance industry as a whole improved fractionally on all 10 ease of doing business factors. The Web survey was sent to over 40,000 independent insurance agencies and brokerages nationwide. There were nearly 3,200 responses with more than 100 different carriers being rated. The 10 ease of doing business factors identified by Deep Customer Connections are:

   

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