Local underwriters are critical in helping small commercial customer service representatives and account managers do their jobs quickly and efficiently, according to a new study.

Conducted by The Pert Group for The Hanover Insurance Group, the study found that 98 percent of customer service representatives rated underwriter access as very important or important.

“Agents who partner closer with their local new business underwriter can potentially reap more advantages in their overall ease of doing business,” Hanover Corporate and Commercial Marketing Vice President Jim Griesing told Insurance Networking News.

About 85 percent of customer service representatives said responsiveness to requests and timely claims are important when selecting a carrier or recommending a carrier to a small commercial client.

“What we are doing right is being locally knowledgeable and developing local relationships. This shows our approach of listening and reacting to what our agents say is important to them,” Griesing said.

According to the study, underwriter visits and calls to agents is the most effective means of communication between customer service representatives and carriers compared to emails, company newsletters, Internet postings and other electronic means of communications. About 89 percent of customer service representatives responded that time management is consistently top of mind.

“Technology helps customer service representatives and account managers to do their jobs as quickly and efficiently as possible but when they have a question, a point of contact and relationship with someone is important so that they can call to get an answer and find a solution when they need it,” said Griesing.

The study also reported that 94 percent of customer service representatives say they believe underwriters understand their role within the agency more than any other carrier representative.

The company recently announced enhancements to its small commercial operating model, which include the redeployment of small commercial underwriters in the field.

“We recently redeployed 60 new small commercial underwriters in the field to be locally focused, responsive and to work more closely with agents, customer service representatives, agency producers and marketing staff,” said Griesing.

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