Independent Agency Staff Morale High During COVID-19, New Survey Finds
Staff Writer | April 30, 2020
More than half of U.S. independent insurance agencies report that staff morale during the novel coronavirus pandemic remains good, although many are concerned about the longer-term impact of policy cancellations, according to a new survey by Channel Harvest Research.
Agents were asked to rate the overall feeling and morale among their work force on a scale of 0 (terrible) to 10 (wonderful). Only 9% reported low morale (0-3 on the scale) and 38% said average (4-6). Some 53% said morale is good (7-10), perhaps a surprising number given declining agency revenues and personal stresses, Channel Harvest noted.
About half of respondents reported agency revenue is unchanged since the crisis started in early March, Channel Harvest found. But some 41% saw a decrease. Ten percent actually posted an increase of revenue during the crisis.
Business interruption coverage has been a top discussion topic for clients, 74% of respondents said. Customers also are asking about auto (50% of agents reported) and workers compensation (38%).
Other coverages noted as top discussion items: commercial property and general liability (15% each) and health and home insurance (14% each). Loss-of-use on rental property also was cited as a top discussion topic by 7% of agents.
Agents were asked to consider their most-effective methods for communicating about COVID-19 related matters with customers and answering policy or service questions. Email dominates, with nearly 90% choosing that as a top method to reach clients. Phone calls were next, at 81%, followed by texting (30%), video chat (14%), and social media (13% each). Lower numbers cited agency U.S. Mail and website content as their top tools.
In open-ended responses, many agents offered an unsettling outlook as the pandemic's economic impact unfolds across the U.S. Here are some related comments:
"It's too soon to see changes in revenue. As the months grind on, I expect sharp declines as the out-of-work shed extra vehicles and optional expenses. Those who still are working are also likely to cut back on optional expenses."
"The worst is probably yet to come for p-c agencies doing commercial insurance."
"Activity has diminished for new policies, many calls about reducing existing policy premiums, slower pay of bills, reducing agency income. I reduced staff pay 25% (lower hours) while working from home."
"New business has come to a stop."
"We have a lot of hospitality business, which has closed down so we are lowering payroll where we can. I expect a huge reduction of income in the next three months."
On the brighter side, many respondents are optimistic about the new way of working from home. A sampling:
"As insurance professionals, we have made careers out of being prepared for the worst-case scenarios. We were already prepared for staff to work remotely long ago, just in case there was ever a disaster that prevented us from accessing our office. Additionally, our flexibility has been a selling point for clients -- they are recognizing and acknowledging that our ability to work from home, provide them the same service level they have come to expect with minimal disruption, and our willingness to make accommodations for them -- all of this is a service level that far exceeds anything they would get from a faceless online insurance provider."
"We already had most of our staff working at least part time from home as a way to reduce our footprint of necessary office space as we grew. So, switching to full-time work from home has not been too much of a stretch."
Each year, Channel Harvest conducts an extensive survey of thousands of independent agents around the U.S., with its 2020 report publishing in early May. The pandemic poll was conducted April 15-16, and some 200 agents responded. For information about the 2020 survey report, contact John Novaria, Channel Harvest's industry relations director, at john@Aartrijk.com.
- A Digital Wildfire Creates a Burning Platform for Digital Insurance Business Transformation
- Digitalization, COVID-19 Spurring More IT Investment in Cybersecurity
- Electronic Chat with Michael DeGusta, CEO, ClarionDoor
- U.S. Consumers Significantly Underestimate Flood Risk, New Survey Finds
- The Future of Insurance: Opportunities in Ecosystems
- Electronic Chat with Todd Greenbaum, CEO, Input 1
- Majesco to be Acquired by Thoma Bravo
- The Evolving Role of Managing General Agencies
- Electronic Chat with Char Hu
- Electronic Chat with Allan L. Egbert, Jr.
- Electronic Chat with Christopher Tramontano and Zbigniew Gawienczuk
- Data Science is Gelato
- Insurance Innovation: Alive and Kicking
- Independent Agents Divided on Digital Experience, New Survey Finds
- Electronic Chat with Michael Jones
- Electronic Chat with Paul VanderMarck
- As Auto Insurance Premiums Shrink, Insurers Need Mobility Ecosystem, New Study Finds
- Property & Casualty Insurers Raise Digital Games as COVID-19 Elevates Customer Expectations, J.D. Power Finds
- Electronic Chat with Bobbie Shrivastav
- Meet the Board: Marissa Buckley
- Big Data and Insurtech: A Carrier Perspective
- Traditional Insurers Need Open Ecosystems, Partnerships to Remain Competitive, CapGemini Report Finds
- Electronic Chat with John C. Siegman
- 4 Ways AI is Empowering Insurers During COVID-19
- 6 Big Changes to Insurance from the COVID-19 Crisis
- Electronic Chat with Christopher Ewing
- Independent Agency Staff Morale High During COVID-19, New Survey Finds
- Electronic Chat with Brad Epker
- Tapping AI to Improve Policyholder Experience
- Electronic Chat with Manisha Bhargava
- ITA Pro Magazine, March/April 2020
- COVID-19 a Game Changer for Workers’ Comp
- Electronic Chat with Steve Comer
- COVID-19 Pandemic Forces Cancellation of ITA LIVE 2020
- Leveraging Digital Resources in the Time of COVID-19
- Electronic Chat with Robert Hartwig on COVID-19 and Insurance
- Celent Study: Most Small Businesses Still Unclear on Importance of Cyber Insurance
- The January/February 2020 ITA Pro is here!
- Deloitte: New C-Suite Roles Mean More Opportunities for Women
- Electronic Chat with Pankaj Parashar
- Electronic Chat with Tara Kelly
- Electronic Chat with Chuck Wilson
- ITA, InsNerds Collaborate to Enhance ITA LIVE 2020 Content and Coverage
- How SMBs Can Compete in Digital Ecosystems in the 2020s
- 4 Ways Insurance Can Prepare for New Data Privacy Laws
- Brewer Lane Ventures Launches and Hires Insurtech Vet Martha Notaras as Managing Partner
- 2020 GIA Cohort Launches on January 14
- The November/December 2019 ITA Pro is here!
- Electronic Chat with Joshua Snead
- Electronic Chat with Wendy Aarons-Corman
- Simplifying the Move to a Third-party Print Provider
- Take a Business-Driven Approach to Continuous Improvement for Core Systems and Processes
- Electronic Chat with Ron Glozman
- Guidewire’s Data Guru Mike Byam on How Insurers are Using Internal and Third-Party Data
- Electronic Chat with Russ Bostick
- Electronic Chat with Rock Schindler
- Electronic Chat with John Siegman
- Electronic Chat with Martin Burlingame
- Insurtech Landscape 2019: Top 5 Takeaways
- Grinnell Mutual Tackles Massive Transformation -- in Stride
- A Candid Conversation with Paul Mang
- SageSure Insurance Managers Improved Competitiveness by Consolidating Payments to a Single Digital Platform
- Digital Does Matter in Insurance-- And Insurers are Missing the Mark
- The 22nd-Century Insurer: Taking a Cloud-First IT Approach
- The September/October 2019 issue of ITA PRO magazine is now available in digital format here:
- ITA Pro Magazine May/June 2019
- Spotlight on the 2019 IASA Conference
- ValueMomentum Selects Erie as Site of Regional Development Center
- Capgemini and Majesco Become Alliance Partners
- Electronic Chat with Dr. Dan Shoham
- Electronic Chat with Todd Greenbaum
- Martha Notaras: The “Outsider” with an Amazing Inside View
- Electronic Chat with Larissa Tosch
- Martha Notaras Will Join ITA LIVE 2019 as a Keynote Speaker
- Five Things to Consider When Evaluating Your Cyber Risk
- ITA Pro Magazine, January/February 2019
- Synergy Between Insurers' IT and Analytics Teams Key to Operationalizing Insights, Says Novarica
- Major Ransomware Attack Could Hit U.S. with $89B In Economic Damages
- ITA Announces 1st of Three Keynote Speakers at ITA LIVE 2019
- Electronic Chat with Jeroen Morrenhof
- Legacy Systems Are Dead. Really? Don't Count On It.
- Now Accepting Nominations for the 2019 ITA Bridge Awards
- It's time to register for ITA LIVE!
- Registration is Now Open for ITA LIVE 2019!
- What to Expect from a Digital Experience Platform Implementation
- ITA Pro Magazine September Edition is Now Available
- It's National IT Professionals Day
- Save the Date for ITA-LIVE 2019
- OneShield Software and UrbanStat Work Together to Improve Real-Time Analytics and Risk Decision-Making
- ITA LIVE 2019 - SAVE THE DATE!
- Insurance Technology Association Announces New Editor-in-Chief
- August 2018 Edition ITA Pro Magazine is Now Available
- Enterprise Architecture in an Agile World
- Top 10 Tips for Securing Your Mobile Devices and Sensitive Client Data
- Industry Insight: 4 Global Insurance Trends in Digital, Data, Content Services and Security
- Diving Deeper into Prioritizing Your Strategic Digital investments
- Why Content Rules
- How Mass Personalization Will Open the Small Business Benefits Market
- At Year End 2017, Will Your Organization Be Protected from Cyber Risks?
- Do Insurance Bots Dream of Mitigating Risk?
- Conditioned to Respond
- Managing & Mobilizing Insurance Data in a Connected World
- Race to the Finish Line
- New Tools, New Opportunities in Claims
- ITA LIVE: Reaching Insurance Industry Crossroads
- Advice to Insurance IT Leaders: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
- New Date, Venue for ITA LIVE 2017
- Guidewire Makes Major Push to Small and Midtier Market by Acquiring ISCS
- Insurance Disruption is Happening Right Now
- Insurity Adds Strategic Investment Partner, General Atlantic
- Beyond Transformation: The Convergence of Finance, Risk, and Actuarial Functions
- The Rapid Evolution of Consumer Protection Regulation
- Talent Hunt: Finding, Attracting, Retaining Top People
- Insurers Flexing Their Distribution Models
- Technology Driving Disruption in Insurance
- Fear of ‘Next Bubble’ Challenges Life, Annuity Carriers
- Technology Allows Commercial Lines Insurers to Stand Out
- Single Sign-on Viewed as Biggest Tech Challenge for Agencies
- ISCS Observes 20th Anniversary; Scurto Predicts Major Changes Ahead
- Policyholders and Their First Impressions
- Progressive Making Progress on the UBI Front
- High and Dry: Insurers Search for Disaster Recovery Plans
- Insurers Sign The (Un)Dotted Line
- Reflections of a Retired Insurance CIO
- Mobile Device Management Just One Answer to BYOD Issue
- Lessons from GEICO and Progressive on Winning the Critical Buying Stage
- You Are a Target for a Cyber Attack
- Web-based Systems are the Next Evolution in Claims Technology
- Gaining a “Wow” Experience from Web Users
- Time to Shift from Business/IT Alignment to Business/IT Alliance
- Healthcare Insurers Changing to Consumer Model
- Organization is the Key for Selecting Software Vendors
- Analysts Expound on the Needs of the Mid-tier Insurance Market
- Finding the Cure for Obamacare’s Website
- New Software Solutions Benefit Insurers on the Inside and Outside
- Products, Market Impede Investment in Systems for Life Insurers
- Combatting Cyber Threats: Predict, Prevent, Persist
- The Future of Telematics Heads Beyond Insurance
- The Shame in Cyber Security Lapses
- Building Policy Administration Systems for the Future
- Insurers Look Into The Eyes of Their Policyholders
- It’s a New Dawn for the ITA
INSURANCE IT NEWS
- Encova Insurance Launches New Suite of Personal Lines Products
- Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Expands Lines of Business on Majesco Policy for P&C
- One Inc Acquires Invenger Technologies, Including Invenger-InsurPay
- Hyland Releases Foundation Version of Brainware Intelligent Capture
- Guidewire Software Announces Promotion of PartnerConnect Consulting Partner
- Sapiens CoreSuite for Life Insurance Now Available on Microsoft AppSource
- OneConnect and Swiss Re to Partner on Smart Claims to Europe
- Auto-Owners Insurance Now on IBQ's Commercial Platform
The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
ITA LIVE 2020
ITA LIVE 2020 –SAVE THE DATE!
April 5th – 7th, 2020
The Diplomat Resort
Become a member today to receive updates – www.itapro.org/MR
BLOGS AND COLUMNS
The next generation of customer requires a digital platform and robust ecosystem that work together under one common platform across different core... READ MORE
Denise Garth of Majesco examines how insurance can tap into the synergy between companies and customers that helps meet the needs of all participants... READ MORE
You have surely heard it said that small businesses are the growth engine for America. Today, the phrase has a special ring to it for benefits... READ MORE
With stagnant growth and lingering low interest rates, the life insurance industry faces a challenging future... READ MORE
Finding insurance carriers willing to write commercial lines risks has always been a challenge for producers... READ MORE
As Guidewire Software prepares for the start of Connections, its 11th annual user conference that begins on Nov. 2, Brian Desmond, chief marketing... READ MORE