Roadblock Ahead! MGAs’ Digital Plans Encounter Technology and Cultural Hurdles

Positioned at the intersection of retail agents/brokers and insurers, Managing General Agents (MGAs) and Managing General Underwriters (MGUs) have unique vantage points in the distribution ecosystem. As the MGA/MGU channel grows, these companies are investing in technology solutions to support the customer experience for agents/brokers and policyholders, as well as improve efficiencies and grow market share. However, their plans are not without challenges.

New research from ReSource Pro Consulting indicates that MGAs face several roadblocks when investing and deploying new technology capabilities. With the current pace of change across the industry, MGAs are tackling various technology initiatives spanning distribution, internal operations, and insurer relations, which are fueling priority conflicts and stretching IT teams thin. Funding limitations, integration challenges, and limited business resources also further complicate MGAs’ technology plans.

But the challenges don’t end after the investment stage—MGAs are seeing agency partners struggle to implement new digital solutions. What’s more is that MGAs and agencies diverge on the technology investments that should take precedence. The survey of MGA executives found significant misalignment with agencies’ priorities across several digital sales capabilities, including AMS real-time quote upload, rate/price indicator, automated appetite matching, and automated class code identification. Almost half of surveyed agencies indicated AMS real-time quote upload and rate/price indicator should be a top investment priority compared to less than a quarter of MGAs. Furthermore, appetite matching, and class code identification were selected by over a third of agencies compared to only 12% of MGAs.

An evaluation of digital servicing capabilities revealed that agencies and MGAs are aligned with pay-a-bill, e-Documents, agent portal, and e-Signature, but do not agree over a policyholder self-service portal, policy download, file a claim, and claims download. This indicates that MGAs are underemphasizing the importance of their digital capabilities to agent partners, who want capabilities that help increase automation and streamline processes.

Despite these challenges and disagreements, MGAs are well-positioned to develop technology strategies that increase business, enhance digital solutions, and strengthen relationships with new and existing distribution partners. And as agencies’ expectations evolve, MGAs must remain nimble and deliver impactful solutions while balancing partners’ needs with their own.

For more information on the distribution technology strategies of MGAs and MGUs, read our recent research report, “Distribution Technologies for MGAs and MGUs: Plans for 2023 and Beyond.” This report is part of ReSource Pro Consulting’s research series based on surveys and interviews of insurers, agencies, MGAs, and others in the distribution channel. Contact the author for more information on this new research and advisory services offerings for distribution.