If you ask a group of independent agents to name the technologies on the top of their wish lists, you likely will hear a different answer from each.Some agents want carriers to improve their Web portals, making it easier for agents to obtain quotes and make inquiries and endorsements on carrier sites. Others want carriers to provide real-time transactions through their agency management systems-via so-called "bridges." This way, they never have to leave their agency systems to conduct their business.

Scott Hinderks, principal at Flury-Hinderks Agency, Leawood, Kan., says he'd like Safeco Corp., which accounts for 85% of his business, to concentrate its resources on improving its own agent portal. "I'd greatly prefer that they put their resources in ease of doing business with Safeco as opposed to (bridges)-because my business is greatly tied to Safeco," he says.

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