From the Insurance Newscast Thursday April 14, 2010
LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--More than half (53 percent) of consumers are considering switching to a new insurance provider over the next 12 months and a rapidly growing number plan to buy insurance online, according to findings of an Accenture survey. Survey participants included more than 3,500 consumers in Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Consumers are actively seeking better deals, have more options to choose from and are empowered by new Web-driven tools to be more selective
.Consumers are actively seeking better deals, have more options to choose from and are empowered by new Web-driven tools to be more selective, said Serge Callet, global managing director of Accenture's Insurance practice. For insurance companies willing to take a bolder approach to pricing and distribution and to tailor and target their sales channels more precisely to customer needs, current customer loyalty weakness is a strategic growth opportunity.
According to the survey, insurance customers are highly inclined to shop around. Asked whether they plan to renew or purchase insurance products with their current providers, 53 percent of respondents said that they did not or that they were unsure and plan to look around.
Insurance websites and aggregators are gaining ground in all the countries surveyed
The survey also indicates that the Internet is gaining significant ground on banks and insurance agents as the preferred channel for buying insurance. While most respondents said they had purchased at least one of their current policies through an agent or bank (59 percent and 33 percent, respectively), a much lower percentage of buyers are planning to do so over the next 12 months (49 percent and 27 percent, respectively). Meanwhile, a substantial minority (34 percent) of consumers has purchased at least one policy online -- via insurers websites or price-comparison sites -- and an even greater percentage (43 percent) plan to do so over the next 12 months.
Seventy-percent of the UK consumers surveyed plan to purchase their policies online over the next twelve months, Callet said. This confirms the dominance of insurance websites and aggregators in the UK. But our survey also revealed surprisingly strong online growth in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Brazil, where the number of consumers planning to buy policies online in the next 12 months is 10 percentage points, on average, greater than those who had done so previously.
Lowest price is not the most important selection criterion for consumers
According to the survey, the most important criteria consumers use when choosing an insurance provider are speed of problem-resolution, transparent pricing and the availability of products that match their needs (cited by 75 percent, 70 percent and 64 percent of respondents, respectively). Insurance agents are perceived as the best at solving problems in a timely manner and at offering products and services that fit their customers needs. Insurers websites and aggregators are seen as the channels that have the most transparent pricing, offer the lowest price, are the most accessible when needed and provide the best level of information on the insurance products sold.
The submission of a claim is the moment of truth in the relationship between insurers and policyholders, and this is validated by our research, added Callet. For consumers, finding the lowest priced coverage is simply not enough. Quality of service at the first notice of loss and the ability of the insurer to provide prompt claims settlements are pivotal to customer loyalty and satisfaction.