Ninety-five percent of life insurance beneficiaries are “satisfied” overall with their claims experience, yet there is greater opportunity when they are “extremely satisfied,” according to “The Moment of Truth: Individual Life Insurance Claimant Satisfaction,” a new survey from LIMRA.

“In our study we learned the distinction between a ‘satisfied’ and an ‘extremely satisfied’ beneficiary is profound. It could be the difference between receiving and not receiving additional business,” said Jennifer Douglas, associate research director, LIMRA Developmental Research.

LIMRA found that, compared to a “satisfied” claimant, an “extremely satisfied” claimant is nearly four times as likely to be very interested in doing business with the insuring company. They also are more than three times as likely to recommend the carrier and more than twice as likely to feel strongly about the critical role life insurance plays following the death of a loved one.

To achieve this higher level of satisfaction, insurers may need to focus their efforts on more than just quick responses.

The median turnaround time for top performers was 19 days, which is the average for all carriers combined; LIMRA said this indicates acceptable turnaround times for life insurance claims are often based on the beneficiaries’ perceptions.

The report noted companies and agents can make a difference by making additional support services available, such as grief counseling, coordination of coverages, legal services, etc.

Top-performing companies were also noted for their ease of the claims experience. Beneficiaries gave notably higher ratings to the top performers for “care and compassion,” as well as “knowledge and competence” exhibited by the professional they worked most closely with.

While just over a quarter of beneficiaries work with an agent, a disproportionately high percentage expressed gratitude and admiration for their agent.

LIMRA surveyed 4,242 life insurance beneficiaries who had received a death benefit from one of 11 participating carriers during the second quarter of 2012. Favorable outcomes measured were: overall satisfaction, likelihood to do business with and recommend the company, and the degree to which they now value the role of life insurance.

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