According to a recent study by Hanover Group, the lure of a "cheap" policy and bypassing the "middleman" wears off pretty quickly and many of those customers return to an independent agent. The article does not indicate this, but I believe a few more reasons customers switch back (aside from reasons mentioned) are:
- clients like knowing who they are dealing with - most calls to a direct writer end up with someone different always answering the phone; many times those calls end up overseas as well and we know how frustrating that can be
- clients like knowing their agent is experienced- many direct writers employee newly licensed agents that don't have nearly the experience that is found at an independent agency
- clients like supporting their local community
- clients like having choices- the bottom line is direct writers usually have one option for clients, as an independent we have a multitude of options for our clients
Enjoy the full article below as it appeared in the August 12, 2013 edition of Insurance Journal
60% of Direct Buyers Eventually Return to Independent Agents: Study
Most customers who are lured away from independent agents by direct insurers promising lower prices will ultimately return to an independent agent.
According to a recent study commissioned by The Hanover Insurance Group, nearly 60 percent of consumers who had purchased insurance through a direct channel 10 or more years ago reported switching back to an independent agent because they wanted more value.
This study was conducted for Hanover, an independent agency company, by the research firm InsightExpress, which surveyded 1,000 consumers who purchased insurance through direct channels 10 or more years ago.
Most consumers who switched back to independent agents cited expertise and convenience for their decision. According to the survey, the motivators for consumers who switched to work with independent agents also included the benefits of having one point of contact to handle insurance needs and questions and having the guidance of an experienced personal insurance professional.
“This research demonstrates that consumers really value the advice provided by independent agents and the personal relationships they build with their customers,” said Mark R. Desrochers, president, personal lines insurance at The Hanover. “The majority of respondents said their number one reason for switching from a direct insurance provider was to have someone to guide them through their insurance buying decisions. Clearly trust and expertise are important to consumers.”
“The study shows that consumers realize the value that independent agents bring. That’s why we deliver our products exclusively through agents who are ‘the value creating channel,’” said Dick Lavey, president of field operations and chief marketing officer at The Hanover.
The Hanover Insurance Group Inc. is based in Worcester, Mass.
Source: Hanover Insurance Group