A survey of 275 insurance producers in the United States during September 2009 finds that agents craft their business requirements based on age, experience in the field and unique position within the industry. So says research results released by Mintel Comperemedia, a service that provides direct marketing competitive intelligence,
The survey results include:
• Independent agents rank marketing support higher than captive agents when selecting which products to sell (76% versus 68%). This is likely because independents don't benefit from national advertising campaigns. Captive producers, however, are more concerned with their company's brand recognition (92% versus 78%).
• Captive agents also differ from independents in the type of incentives they prefer. While all producers rank cash and commission highest, captive producers like trips and conferences more than independents do (38% versus 27%).
"It's clear that an insurance producer's status affects what he or she looks for in products and incentives," states Daniel Hayes, VP of insurance services at Mintel Comperemedia. "Insurers need to take note of agents' unique preferences, and shape their marketing and business plans accordingly. Independent insurance producers, for example, need more marketing support and incentives that don't distract them from their core business goals."
An insurance producer's level of experience also impacts business preferences. Agents with less than five years experience are more likely to prefer company Web sites (55% versus 41% of those with more experience) and conferences (43% versus 34%) for learning about new products. More seasoned producers report higher preference for direct mail (41% versus 31%).
Though referrals reign as producers' top preferred method for promoting an agency (89% of all agents surveyed), agents with less experience report higher preference for Web sites, insurance company leads and networking events than do their more experienced colleagues.
"Newer agents rely more on Web sites to attract clients and keep them informed," says Hayes. “By supporting electronic media efforts, insurance companies can feed the sales cycle of newer agents who are still building their client portfolios. This is one way to attract newer agents to the insurance company's products.”
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