IVANS Inc., the Greenwich, Conn.-based provider of network and real-time solutions for the insurance industry, has released a study detailing the current state of insurance agent adoption of technology in the United States. The study, which received responses from more than 435 independent agents, revealed that an overwhelming majority of insurance agents (84.3%) prefer to work with insurance carriers that they consider "aggressive" in their use of new technology."The results of this survey are important because they show that recent advances such as real-time agency/company interface and use of broadband technologies have clearly dispelled the concerns from a few years ago about disintermediation of agents when embracing new technologies," says Maggie O'Hara, divisional vice president of offering management for IVANS. "In fact, if anything, these technologies have helped convert agents into huge technology proponents that now hunger for more positive change."

With regards to technology adoption, the IVANS study also found that the vast majority of independent insurance agents (91.2%) are currently using some form of broadband connection to process transactions with carriers, the majority of which (86.2%) have an agency management system in place. The survey also revealed that 15% of independent insurance agencies surveyed are currently using virtual private network (VPN) technology to securely connect with other offices or remote employees. In addition, almost half (47%) of agents' management systems are now linked to a Web site to process policyholder information.

"What this study means for U.S. insurance carriers, especially those considering new advancements -- such as real-time transactions, wireless solutions or new Internet applications -- is that agents are better prepared to work in these environments than in the past," added O'Hara.

Source: Financial Dynamics for IVANS

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