Survey: MMG of Maine Named Best Ease of Doing Business Performer

October 23, 2007

More than 8,000 independent agents and brokers assessed the performance of over 220 property and casualty carriers in Deep Customer Connections Inc.’s (DCC) 5th annual Ease of Doing Business (EDB) survey.

MMG Insurance of Maine lead this year’s top rated carriers, followed by West Bend Mutual Insurance, of Wisconsin. Others included in the “Top 10” EDB performers are Frankenmuth Insurance, Integrity Insurance, Selective Insurance, Acuity Insurance, Central Mutual Insurance, Grange Insurance (of Ohio), and Hawkeye-Security Insurance, with Peerless Insurance and SECURA Insurance tied for the 10th spot.

In the survey, agents and brokers rated the importance of 11 EDB Factors including underwriting responsiveness, handling claims promptly, providing effective technology, acting with the agency’s needs in mind, and others, and then evaluated several carriers’ performance in those factors.

“We’ve seen a slight increase in overall performance from last year’s EDB survey,” said Nort Salz, president of DCC. “Industry-wide, the Ease of Doing Business Index, a composite measure of carriers’ EDB performance, rose from 86.9 in 2006 to 87.8 in 2007.” The EDB Index gauges a carrier’s performance against agents’ expectations.

“There continues to be great deal of variation in EDB performance ratings among the carriers,” said Paul Croke, a DCC co-founder. “Individually, carriers’ overall EDB Index ranged from 100.7 to 71.1. On any single Factor, the highest score was 114.5 compared to the lowest of 48.6.”

“The top 10 carriers’ average rose slightly more than the industry average,” added Salz. “This shows that these carriers’ attention to EDB as a strategic issue results in measurable improvement. Even in domains where they already scored well compared to the competition—such as handling claims fairly—the best performers found room for improvement.”

Some carriers improved their ratings while others’ ratings fell. “Declines in ratings may have several causes,” noted Croke. “Agents’ ratings of EDB performance evolve over time; today’s improvements—even in other industries—breed tomorrow’s expectations. In some cases, companies may have focused on improving in one Factor and not taken steps to maintain previous gains. Even the best performing carriers need to work hard to continue to earn high EDB ratings.”

EDB is critical for carriers because independent agents select a carrier based on its performance in several EDB Factors. A carrier’s EDB performance substantially affects agency productivity and profitability as well as the quality of agents’ work lives.

Further details of 2007 survey results will be available in DCC’s Annual EDB Benchmark Report, scheduled to be released in December.

Source: Deep Customer Connections, Inc.

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