The insurance business depends on distribution for its success. Although insurers continue to grow alternate channels, agents and brokers still constitute the dominant network for issuing property and casualty (P&C) and general insurance products.
Growth in insurance premium volume has been marginal during the last five years, especially in developed countries. To counteract this trend, insurers must use their agents and brokers to full potential. Although many customers start their research on the internet, a significant number of customers purchase insurance policies through in-person contact, agents and brokers. Agents/brokers continue to play an irreplaceable role in managing client relationships and in cross- and up-selling. Several obstacles exist, however, to their success in growing such activities. These include increasing product complexity, competition from direct networks, and limited exposure to and experience with advanced technological tools and social media.
In this paper, we show the need for and the benefits of empowering personal lines distributors in the P&C and general insurance industry through technology and new business strategies.