The number of independent insurance agencies has increased, newer agencies are growing and the system as a whole is dynamic, according to the 2012 Agency Universe Study (AUS). Future One, a collaboration of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) and leading independent agency companies, has released key findings from the recently completed, hailed as the most comprehensive look at the independent agency system.
“The 2012 Agency Universe Study revealed much good news for the independent agency system, including an increase in the total estimated number of independent agencies and there are patterns indicating that agencies are growing, adding further proof that the system as a whole is dynamic,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO.
“This is great news for the independent agency system and reflects a stable and growing distribution system that remained resilient during the recent economy challenges.”
The study looks at many statistics about independent agencies operating in the U.S. including their numbers, revenue base and sources, number of employees, ownership, mix of business, diversification of products, technology uses, non-insurance income sources and marketing methods.
“As the Big ‘I’ continues to increase its diversity awareness efforts, the 2012 Agency Universe Study found more progress toward efforts to focus on marketing to a more diverse clientele and developing a more diverse staff,” says Madelyn Flannagan, Big “I” vice president of agent development, education and research. “Approximately half of agencies report having developed plans to meet the needs of emerging markets including women, ethnic markets and the LGBT community.”
The 2010 study found an increase in the number of new small and medium small agencies with minority principals and the 2012 numbers are generally comparable.
Other key findings of the 2012 Agency Universe Study include:
• The number of independent agencies has grown. After declining from 44,000 in 1996 to 37,500 in 2006, the number of independent agencies has grown to 38,500 in the past two years.
• Business conditions for independent agencies improved between the 2010 and 2012 studies. In 2012, 60% reported increased revenue, compared to 42% in the 2010 study.
• Systems and data security are now the most important technology challenges facing agencies.
• Agencies are beginning to use the Internet more to obtain new customers. About 25% use Facebook to keep in touch with prospects, and 20% use LinkedIn.
The 2012 Agency Universe Study is the eleventh in a series that was first conducted in 1983. Subsequent studies were released in 1987, 1992, 1996 and 2000. Since 2002, the study has been completed biennially. Since 2004, the Agency Universe Study has relied on Internet data collection. Approximately 2500 agencies were included in the 2012 analysis.
To order a copy of the 2012 Agency Universe Study Management Summary, which provides an overview of the highlights from the complete study, visit www.independentagent.com.
In addition to the Big “I”, the Future One coalition includes the following company partners: Allied Insurance, Allstate, Amerisure Insurance, Central Insurance Companies, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, CNA, Encompass, The Hanover Insurance Group, The Hartford, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Progressive, Selective Insurance Group, State Auto Insurance Companies, Travelers and Westfield Insurance.