Confusion about the basic tenets of life insurance persists among customers, a new study finds.

Chicago-based Mintel Comperemedia conducted an online survey of 1,000 Canadian adults and found 34% of survey respondents unfamiliar with term life products, 31% unfamiliar with whole life products and 60% unaware of universal life insurance products.

Daniel Hayes, VP of insurance services at Mintel Comperemedia, says the results indicate that Canadian insurance providers could benefit from educating the public more about the products they offer.

“This unfamiliarity could be due in part to consumers passively receiving life insurance through their employer,” Hayes says. “But, the percentages are large, so this represents a considerable number of people that just don't know the advantages of different life insurance products.”

The survey also queried respondents about distribution channel preferences. Additionally, Mintel found that 38% of respondents would go to an insurance broker or agent first for life insurance information, while 34% would seek out advice from friends and family first and 24% would first turn to the Internet to research life insurance.

“While much attention is focused on selling through the Internet, insurance is still largely a product researched through word of mouth,” Hayes adds. “Insurance brokers and agents are the most preferred source for consumers to learn about insurance products, so they have a clear opportunity to reach out to the public and build a long-lasting personal relationship that could expand to family and friends.”

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