The PIA Partnership is an arm of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents. It was established in 1996, with the goal of identifying opportunities, and enabling dialogue between PIA leaders and company decision makers. The PIA Partnership focuses heavily upon research, the results of which are turned into profitable, actionable plans for both agents and financial companies.
Each year, the PIA Partnership completes several such projects, recently this has included several Voice of the Customer (VoC) related areas of research, such as Agency Touch Points – The Voice of the Customer: Personal Lines; and Closing the Gap – Growth & Profit. The PIA Partnership has announced plans to continue with a Voice of the Customer themed research project in 2014, which will be titled Agency Touch Points – The Voice of the Customer: Commercial Lines. This will be a national survey of commercial lines customers, aimed at discovering their purchasing preferences.
Andrew C. Harris, the National President of PIA, has stated that, “Recent studies backed by direct writers and captive carriers have contended that some buyers of coverages such as small and midsize business owners protection (BOP) have asserted that a majority want to purchase such coverages online. We believe that such studies lack credibility, and that a more objective picture of buyer preferences is required.”
This short statement clearly defines the goal of the Agency Touch Points – The Voice of the Customer: Commercial Lines research project, to draw a definitive line under what so far, has been a rather confusing issue, with multiple sources delivering research results that are far from congruent.
The 2012 research project run by the PIA Partnership, Agency Touch Points – The Voice of the Customer: Personal Lines, revealed that consumers will more often attribute value to the help that agents can give them, rather than the range of available products and cover options.
It will be interesting to see if the results of the Agency Touch Points – The Voice of the Customer: Commercial Lines project returns similar results, even though we are shifting the emphasis from personal to business coverage.
With a list of partners that include The Motorists Insurance Group, The Hartford, The Hanover Insurance Group, The Central Insurance Companies, State Auto Group, Selective Insurance Group, Progressive Insurance, MetLife Auto & Home, Liberty Mutual Insurance and Encompass Insurance, there can be now doubt that the PIA has access to the kinds of sources that it will need to produce in depth, valuable findings at the end of this project.
By Mac Wheeler