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New Big ‘I’ Survey Reveals COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impact on Independent Agencies

ALEXANDRIA, VA, August 17, 2020— A national survey of Big “I” leadership agencies by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) shows that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the day-to-day operations of independent insurance agencies as the crisis lingers. 

Top findings from the survey include:

  • Almost half of agencies transitioned all or most of their staff to remote work.
  • Nearly half of agencies report decreased revenue for 2020.
  • 46% of agencies have experienced a loss of commercial lines clients.
The survey also found that about 70% of agencies have received a PPP loan (grant) or other grants or financial assistance during the pandemic. In more than 41% of responding agencies, the majority of staff is still working remotely, while 43% of respondents said most their staff is currently working in their offices.
“This research shows that, like the many small business clients they serve, independent insurance agents and brokers around the country have been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the difficult economic environment it has created,” says Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “Our members have had to show resilience in adapting and adjusting to a changed business landscape that may be our reality in the foreseeable future. The Big ‘I’ continues to help them in their time of need with financial assistance and an array of other resources to support them through the pandemic.”
Survey respondents identified areas they would find most beneficial during and after the pandemic in order to continue agency operations. Top responses were assistance with building or enhancing an online presence for marketing, guidance and talking points about the crisis and coverages for their clients, assistance with home-based technology for remote workers and assistance with online business tools.

“The Big ‘I’ has resources and expertise to help our members in these areas where their businesses need it most,” says Madelyn Flannagan, Big “I” vice president for agent development, education and research. “Despite their challenges, independent insurance agents are proving they’re strong and nimble during troubled times, working hard to sustain their own businesses while at the same time assisting many of their clients who are in crisis.”

In April, The Big “I” established the Trusted Choice® COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fund through generous donations of more than $2 million from carrier partners. To date, it has processed more than 2,000 applications from independent agency members needing assistance for operations during and following the pandemic. Through the Big “I” coronavirus resource page, members also have access to tools and other materials which provide guidance in navigating the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

The survey of Big “I” state and national agent leaders was conducted electronically August 4-12, 2020.  It received 356 agent/broker responses from all Big “I” state associations.  A detailed summary of survey results is available upon request by contacting Sue Nester, Big “I” vice president, communications.

 Founded in 1896, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing more than 25,000 agency locations united under the Trusted Choice brand. Trusted Choice independent agents offer consumers all types of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products—from a variety of insurance companies. 

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