Independent agents in tip-top shape, trade association says

Posted on: Friday, March 15, 2013

Independent agents who deal with insurance leads scored a major victory last year, specifically those who sell property and casualty coverage.

According to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, premium lines for property-casualty policies increased, outdoing captive agency providers in a variety of statistical arenas.

For example, IIABA notes that independent agents and agencies outperformed captive agencies in personal lines, commercial premiums and market share throughout much of the country. The commercial sector is where independent agents appear to be cornering the market, with premiums growing $11 billion, a 5 percent increase from 2010.

Bob Rusbuldt, president CEO of IIABA, noted that the independent insurance business proved to be quite resilient last year in the face of a variety of economic obstacles and momentary setbacks.

"Despite the market fluctuations and challenges of recent years, the independent insurance agency system remains stable, strong and growing," said Rusbuldt. "Many carriers that weathered the storm of market contractions for several years were able to successfully bounce back."

The property-casualty market is the only arena where agents dominated. For insurance agents who primarily sell life insurance, they performed well in 2012 also. According to consulting and professional development organization LIMRA, life sales soared last year, both in terms of policy count and premium growth. This means that for three consecutive years, individual life insurance sales improved on an annualized basis.

Ashley Durham, senior analyst of product research at LIMRA, noted that the fourth quarter stood out as perhaps the best three-month period of them all in 2012, as all major product lines witnessed growth. That hasn't happened since 2006, prior to the economic recession and housing collapse.

Posted In: Insurance News, Property & Casualty Insurance

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