Traditionally, independent agents have been considered the golden path to increased sales and customer service for insurers. Providing the most important conduit to the carrier, agents' one-on-one care for prospects and customers accorded them the utmost respect. Insurers competed financially for relationships with the top producers, offering training, marketing tools and the latest technologies to keep them front and center in the carrier’s distribution chain.

This business model is still generally paying off. For example, independent agents (IAs) and advisors in the life vertical, where customer intimacy is king, see record-setting new business opportunities. According to LIMRA’s analysis of its 2016 study, 30 percent of households (37.5 million) remain uninsured, and 48 percent of households (60 million) have a life insurance coverage gap of $200,000 on average, which amounts to more than $12 trillion in total market need.

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