Grant's gazelles in Kenya, Don Macauley“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or the gazelle—when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

— Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Innovative carriers are up and running. They have a deep understanding of their customers. The top P&C Insurance carriers know 98% of agents consider ease of business critically important to their placement decision. We help them understand how effectively they are meeting their agents’ needs and how they compare to their competitors.

Agents routinely tell us how specific carriers can improve ease of business to help them increase their client base. A key step in this process is quickly obtaining a competitive quote with coverage that properly protects their customers. Therefore, not surprisingly, many ease-of-business comments we see from agents focus on the quote process.

Agents who comment on the quote-to-issue process fall into two overriding categories—those who want self service and those who want full service.


Agents who want self service indicate they need effective, user-friendly technology and responsive underwriting. Here is an example.

“Let us quote stuff ourselves, I’ve been waiting a week for a garage-keepers quote that I should be able to do myself in 10 minutes or less. “

The experience described in this quote goes beyond the desire for more effective technology. They also have a need for carrier underwriters to respond quickly during the quote process. The agent would not necessarily need self service if the carrier was responsive.

When agents comment on their desire to self service, they often also express a desire to access underwriting decision makers quickly and efficiently. We frequently see comments like the following.

“Help/assist quoting. Find a way to write business. Technology is a tool, not a replacement for the human interaction and decision making.”

Here is a description of the experience that self-servicing agents seek. In this quote the agent is describing a carrier that frequently attracts their best business.

 “… Insurance Company — easy to use and accurate rating system … and available underwriting team.”


Not all agents want self service.

Another group of agents values a full service experience over self service. They want to send in an application and have the carriers do the work. Here is a quote from one of these agents.

“Accept email ACORD and Loss Runs, get back to me quickly.”

And another one.

“Make less work for me. While many think it is critical to be able to quote & issue from the office, I prefer it the other way. I don’t have time to do my job and someone else’s. I like the submit to a carrier for a quote option.”


Even though these agents express a desire for different service experiences, their desire springs from a singular need—and the fact that many carriers are not meeting their need. They share a common desire to be efficient and effective in their jobs and in servicing their clients. However, their differing past experiences and current circumstances lead them to different conclusions of how this can best be accomplished.


Some agents want self service because they cannot rely on their carriers to be as responsive and accurate as their clients expect. Others want full service because they cannot anticipate which carriers will be able to meet their client’s needs. Some carriers deliver very inconsistent communications of their risk, coverage, and pricing appetites. This means that agents who want to properly serve their clients, must seek quotes from many different carriers. This is a very labor-intensive proposition for an agent that is self-servicing.

Carriers that are responsive in their underwriting and that have a clear and stable underwriting appetite will attract the best business from their agents. This is true whether the agent prefers self service or full service.


Innovative companies have an opportunity to disrupt their competitors by better meeting agents’ needs during the quoting process. Top carriers are already leaning into this opportunity. They have a head start over the others.