This year's J.D. Power & Associates Small Business Commercial Insurance Study has some pretty positive things to say about the involvement of agents and brokers:
Customer satisfaction is highest among small businesses with 11-50 employees, compared to businesses with four or fewer employees (790 vs. 769, respectively). Higher scores among larger businesses are influenced by agents and brokers spending more time with these key accounts. Agents and brokers are not only interacting with these larger businesses more frequently, but the interactions are also three times more likely to be made in person outside of the agent's office, compared to businesses with four or fewer employees (24% vs. 8%, respectively). Consultation via face-to-face interactions allows insurance agents to understand the customer's needs, provide helpful information regarding risk and tailor insurance products to meet their needs."Providing face-to-face consultation, from policy review to helping customers understand price adjustments initiated by the insurer, is crucial for customer retention and satisfaction," said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power. "Those small business customers who have regular face-to-face contact with their insurance agents are more likely to understand their coverage, its value and the reason for a price adjustment should one occur. These customers are more likely to be satisfied and loyal to the insurance brand than those who don't have regular in-person interactions."
This flies in the face of increased talk of carriers selling directly to small commercial customers. According to J.D. Power, small commercial customers like the active involvement of agents and brokers, face-to-face, outside the agent's office.
Are you concerned about your small commercial customers going direct? If so, are you doing the things described in this study? If not, why not?