Independent Agents Hold Tight to Market Share

Independent agents continue to dominate commercial lines while rivaling direct response writers and captive carriers in personal lines business, according to the 21st Market Share Report from the Big “I.”

Every year, the Big “I” obtains direct written premiums data from A.M. Best for select property-casualty lines of coverage to gauge the market share held by the various distribution channels. The 2017 report reviews the premium numbers from 2015.

This year’s report does not contain any shocking revelations. The property-casualty market continued its five-year growth spurt, with combined personal and commercial lines growing just over $21 billion in direct written premium. Independent agent companies wrote 35.5% of personal lines premiums and 83% of commercial lines premiums, retaining much of the same shares they have held for the past several studies.

In personal auto, which accounts for nearly $200 billion in direct written premium, both independent agent carriers and direct writers enjoyed a 10% premium growth. The independent agent channel maintained 31% of the market and the captive channel shed 1% of its share.

A 20-year look at all personal lines premiums reveals that national and regional independent agent companies have maintained a constant share of the market, while the direct channel has been slowing taking shares from the captive channel. Access the full report to learn more.

A.M. Best’s data gives the Big “I” an accurate look at changes in p-c insurance distribution because it separates captive agency and direct response carriers. Because A.M. Best does not have a “direct response” specific reporting category, the Big “I” recommends which companies should be placed in that category.

In addition, as requested by and defined by the Big “I,” the affiliates of selected groups leveraging various distribution systems are separated and placed in the appropriate distribution category—wherever the company group uses separate affiliates for this purpose. Note that in some cases, premiums written in some company affiliates may not be reported independently and therefore may not be reflected in the correct distribution channel. Also, for regular readers of the report, the numbers from previous reports may include changes, as carriers report adjustments which may change percentages for prior years.

The Big “I” completes all analysis in the report. Questions? Email Madelyn Flannagan.

Madelyn Flannagan is Big “I” vice president of agent development, research and education.