There's no question that independent agents are highly valuable participants in the insurance marketplace. But carriers that depend on independent agents are continually trying to determine what's important to them when they choose carriers.Two recent studies conducted by Celent Communications Inc. provide some insight.

After surveying 23,000 independent producers, agency principals and customer service representatives, Boston-based Celent found that although technology can be a differentiator, it is not the key driver for producers choosing a carrier.

Rather, 72% of independent agents selling property/casualty lines are satisfied with the technology support they receive from their carriers. And, 79% of agents selling life/health products are satistfied.

So what is important to agents? Product features, underwriting speed, product price and new business support are the top four drivers.

On the P&C side of the business, the most important carrier interactions are communicating with underwriters, checking new business status and generating quotes.

For life/health, independent agents value illustrations and new business status as the two most important interactions they have with carriers.

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