Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents prefer getting information about insurance products and prices from an insurer’s website, followed by friends and family (61 percent) and insurance agents (56 percent), according to an Accenture survey of more than 4,000 U.S. automobile and home insurance customers.
Close behind agents are engines and aggregators—both online tools—rank fourth and fifth, with 55 and 54 percent of respondents indicating those options, respectively.
“In defining their distribution strategies, insurers must recognize that consumers are becoming more diversified in their channel preferences at different stages of the buying process,” said Erik Sandquist, a managing director in Accenture Property and Casualty Insurance Services. “Direct insurers continue to gain share as consumers grow increasingly comfortable buying policies online. This means that insurers with an agency distribution model must adapt to customers’ changing preferences and integrate their agent networks with digital, mobile, and social media capabilities.”
According to the survey, nearly half (46 percent) of insurance customers think the products and services offered by different insurers are essentially “all the same.” Further, 26 percent of respondents said they do not plan to renew their auto or home insurance policy with their current insurers, or they plan to look at other insurers’ offerings before renewing.
Interestingly, Accenture found that age is not a consistent predictor of channel preference, especially when it comes to obtaining quotes.
Only 37 percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 say they prefer to obtain a quote on an insurer’s website, compared to 53 percent aged 25 to 44 and 41 percent aged 45 to 64. Nearly one-third (32 percent) of survey respondents aged 18 to 24 indicated that they would prefer to obtain a quote in person; only the oldest respondents (aged 65 to 74) are more likely to prefer obtaining a quote in person (39 percent).
However, 10 percent of the respondents aged 18 to 24 say they prefer to obtain a quote via mobile applications, compared to five percent aged 25 to 44 and one percent aged 45 to 64.
Once the decision is made, however, nearly three-quarters (76 percent) of consumers express a preference for setting up and paying for their auto and home insurance policies in person with an agent, and more than half (58 percent) indicate a preference for doing so via the Web.
Also, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents aged 18 to 24 say they would be willing to pay more for personalized advice when purchasing auto or home insurance policy, compared to 27 percent of those aged 45 to 64 and just 16 percent of those aged 65 to 74.
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