COVID-19 forced companies to develop new methods for interacting with consumers, while consumers continue to appreciate personal service despite having a more significant number of options to choose from.
These were crucial takeaways in a recent Covid Study by Acxiom Market Pulse Insurance. The study results were analyzed at a conference organized by the Society of Insurance Research.
Researchers studied consumer attitudes about insurance in the second quarter of 2020 and the third quarter of 2021. As a result of the survey, the economic impact of the pandemic affected consumers' ownership of and interest in purchasing insurance products.
Among the key findings of the report are:
Consumers are shopping for insurance and trying to save money. Agents and carriers should formulate a retention strategy to keep their current clients.
Online insurance shopping is here forever, but many consumers still value the service from an agent. The consumer values choice, and they would like to interact online but still desire to communicate with a real person. Agents continue to be valuable resources.
The opportunity for insurers to get their value proposition before consumers have never been more significant. People are concerned about saving money and protecting themselves.
People of different generations have different needs and purchasing preferences. Agents and insurers need to understand the generational differences and differentiate to meet those needs.
Insurance ownership decreases for autos and homes:
The survey showed a significant decrease in auto and homeowners/renter insurance ownership over the past year, and most of this is attributable to the economic effects of the pandemic.
During the pandemic, many consumers altered their driving habits, and some families with multiple cars may have decided to sell at least one of them.
Additionally, many young adults renting moved in with their families during the pandemic, eliminating the need for renters insurance—the elderly consolidated households with younger family members.
COVID-19 has changed attitudes toward owning life insurance
According to the survey, adults 18-24 who own life insurance has increased. The researchers state that this age group traditionally viewed themselves as invincible before COVID-19. However, the pandemic may have changed the way they view mortality.
The future of online shopping is bright:
Most consumers report buying insurance through an agent, but 44% said they purchased coverage online. Among those ages 18 to 44, online remains the most common method of purchasing insurance, while those ages 45 to 74 prefer to buy insurance privately.
The survey, however, showed a tendency for consumers to purchase insurance coverage online in the future. Only 31% of those surveyed stated that they prefer to meet with an agent directly rather than buy online in the future.
Researchers indicate that carriers without an online purchasing experience will be left behind.
Agents are still vital
According to the survey, the importance of interacting with an agent increased between Q2 2020 and Q3 2021. In Q2 2020, 41% of respondents reported that interacting with an agent was "essential" or "very important," which increased to 49% in Q3 2021.
A significant portion of this increase is attributed to consumers' changing expectations of insurers and the need for agents to assist consumers in saving money.
Would you consider switching if you were given the opportunity?
In the survey, consumers reported an increase in the likelihood of shopping for auto, home, or life insurance in the next year. The researchers noted that carriers need to develop strategies to retain their current customers and acquire business from competitors.
Savings are the primary motivation for switching carriers, according to the survey. How much would they change? 22% said they would switch if they saved 20% or more on premiums. 29% of life insurance customers are happy with their current provider, but 22% would change if they could find a provider with 20% or more savings.