While the PIA is not active in Massachusetts, this issue is one that might be of interest to all Mass. agents
The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) has announced that on January 21, 2016 it will hold an industry discussion on the topic of a “buy button” option for independent insurance agency websites. The discussion, which will include agents, companies, vendors and user groups, will attempt to sketch out the concept in order to permit independent agents to offer a level of purchasing capability on their websites. While many independent agents currently have an online quoting capability on their website via their comparative rating software, an interested consumer generally cannot buy a policy unless that an agency is open for business.
“Creating an option for independent agencies to offer a ‘buy button’ on their websites could open doors to a new segment of business,” said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker. “Likewise, there is significant concern that going too far with digital operations could undermine the value proposition of having a retail operation and a personal relationship with one’s insureds. Becker said that PIA decided on a structured conversation among all stakeholders, with agents at the table. “On the carrier side, while many see the upside, some carriers are noting other hurdles, such as paying for MVR fees,” Becker added. “User groups and vendors that can create capabilities also have a role in discussing the various technical aspects, but the focus must always be on the agent.”
The meeting will be held at the ACORD (the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development) headquarters in Pear River. According to the PIA Announcement, the National Association plans to hold a meeting with all interested parties in order to have a collective conversation about the feasibility of this option for agents.
“ACORD is delighted to serve as the venue for this significant industry discussion session called by PIA,” said Greg Maciag, CEO for ACORD. “Whenever there is a need to consider how technology can affect insurance transactions, the participation of PIA agents in the conversation is central to the process.”