Digital Report Card

Agencies have come a long way, but there’s still room for improvement.

By: Cal Durland

Today, 95% of independent agents say digital technologies are important or very important to their success - a substantial increase from the 58% who responded similarly in 2016, according to the Insurance Digital Revolution’s second Insurance Digital Transformation Survey.

Agents are now embracing the use of digital technologies to improve the customer experience. Historically, they have spent more time focusing on tools that improve internal workflow and less on customer-facing technologies, but that appears to be changing.

Today, 67% of agents offer e-signature, compared to 54% in 2016. Meanwhile, twice as many agents now offer online quoting capabilities, and more agents are using web-based portals to allow customers to request policy changes, check policy information and payments, report claims, obtain insurance ID cards and get insurance certificates - 39% compared to just 23% in 2016.

But agents need help from carriers to increase adoption of digital tools. Overall, 55% of agents say there are more ways carriers can support digital initiatives such as download, commission statements, staff training and e-signature. Only 4% of agents call carriers’ customer-facing technology “excellent”; 49% rate it as “average.”

Most agencies can only realize the productivity benefits from some tools if most or all carriers offer them. Currently, for example, less than half of agencies use claims download (47%) and e-docs and messages (35%).

Despite room for improvement, however, agents are clearly increasing their use of digital tools - leading to higher cybersecurity exposure. But according to the survey, many agencies are not taking appropriate action to protect themselves.

More than half of agencies (62%) are concerned about cyber threats, but do not have a good understanding about specifically what those cyber risks are or what they should do about them.

Only 37% have a written security plan in place, and only 37% hold cybersecurity training for employees at least once a year. Less than a quarter (24%) perform annual penetration and vulnerability scans, and only 7% test their staff’s resistance to phishing campaigns and virus-laden emails.

Ironically, more than half of respondents still rate their cybersecurity protection as either “good” or “excellent.”

For complete survey results, visit insurancedigitalrevolution.org/survey2018. For tools that can help you improve your agency’s use of digital, visit insurancedigitalrevolution.org/digital-toolkits.


This article originally appeared in the September 2018 print edition of IA Magazine (www.iamagazine.com).

Candace Boyle