The comparative rater debate has occurred pretty much since raters debuted in the industry more than 30 years ago. As recently as this summer I've seen discussions on the value of comparative raters for independent agencies. There are compelling arguments on both sides. The truth is comparative raters have value for every prospect, client, carrier and independent agent, and here's why.
- The Prospect - Consumers want a quote, a competitive one with multiple carriers. Thanks to commercials and billboards that advertise how a consumer can save in 15 minutes or less, they also want that quote fast. By using a rater, you can analyze multiple insurance companies and find a policy to fit the coverage need and price within a few seconds of a prospect's request.
- The Client - People want great service. Some agents don't want to shop their clients' policies because it hurts their renewal books. Actually, your clients are shopping every day. They see Mayhem, get discount double checked, and have a lizard beg for 15 minutes of their time. When it is renewal time, a comparative rater makes it easy to shop a policy again so you can tell the client whether it is the best policy for the best value. This reminds your client of your most valuable service and how he doesn't need to shop for a policy himself.
- The Carrier - Carriers want to be quoted every time a consumer requests one. This gives them opportunity. Without comparative raters the likelihood of a carrier getting quoted every time is less as it is time consumer to manually quote a policy. Comparative raters give carriers that opportunity with every policy that is quoted. If you have a special relationship with a specific carrier, you can make sure that carrier is seen with every quote.
- You - Time is money. Using a rater improves the overall efficiency of your agency. Some agents may feel they are more efficient without a comparative rater because a rater takes too long to give a quote, or the quote is inaccurate. I agree; this is a problem. However, the problem is not with all comparative raters; the problem is with your comparative rater. There are good comparative raters on the market that don't take too long to return an accurate quote. Also, besides rating a reputable comparative rater will provide you with reports on producer performance, marketing and sales so you can track your successes and failures to make necessary business decisions.
Comparative raters are not an enemy to the industry but rather an asset. What value do you see in your comparative rater? Share it in the comments.