U.S. Auto and Home Insurance Customers Turn to Digital Sources to Obtain Information and Quotes, but Prefer Using Agents to Buy

  U.S. Auto and Home Insurance Customers Turn to Digital Sources to Obtain
  Information and Quotes, but Prefer Using Agents to Buy Products

Business Wire

NEW YORK -- April 23, 2013

U.S. consumers are turning to digital sources for insurance quotes and other
information, but still prefer personal contact with agents when purchasing
insurance products, according to an Accenture survey of more than 4,000 U.S.
automobile and home insurance customers.

Major findings include:

  *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.
  *When asked where they prefer to obtain quotes, 43 percent of respondents
    choose websites, while 26 percent choose over the phone and 26 percent in
    person. A much smaller percentage (four percent) chooses mobile
    applications.
  *Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents also express a
    preference for getting information about products and prices from an
    insurer’s website. Exclusive insurance agents rank third with 56 percent
    of respondents, behind friends and family, cited by 61 percent of
    respondents. Search engines and aggregators rank fourth and fifth at 55
    and 54 percent with respondents, 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 J. 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.”

Age is not a consistent predictor of channel preference

Also according to the survey:

  *Only 37 percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 say they prefer to obtain a
    quote via a website, compared to 53 percent aged 25 to 44 and 41 percent
    aged 45 to 64. 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.
  *Nearly one-third (32 percent) of respondents aged 18 to 24 say they 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).
  *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.

“Much has been written about young consumers – with their strong propensity
for Internet, social media and mobile – fundamentally changing insurance
distribution,” said Sandquist. “Our survey reveals that many young consumers
desire personalized advice and are willing to pay more for it – and a
significant percentage prefers to obtain their quotes face-to-face. There are
many demographic, psychographic, lifestyle and other factors which can account
for differences in how customers would like to be treated. Some customers make
decisions almost exclusively on price while others seek the best advice
available, and this is not consistent by age groups. More sophisticated
digital marketing, customer segmentation and analytics are needed to attract
customers and deliver more personalized and relevant products and
experiences.”

Insurers have opportunity to build customer loyalty and establish
differentiation

Among the survey’s other findings:

  *One-quarter (26 percent) of respondents either do not plan to renew their
    auto or home insurance policy with their current insurers or plan to look
    at other insurers’ offerings.
  *Nearly half (46 percent) of insurance customers think that the products
    and services offered by different insurers are essentially “all the same”.
  *More than one-third (38 percent) of consumers are willing to pay for
    personalized advice about the insurance that is best for them – and, of
    that group, more than half (56 percent) are willing to pay at least 10
    percent more.

“Our survey research reveals a significant opportunity for insurers to grow
market share as many customers plan to shop around when renewing their
policies. Price remains the most important buying factor which will continue
to put pressure on insurers to improve their cost structures.At the same
time, our research reveals that a carrier’s distribution model can be a strong
differentiator, given the relative importance of factors such as interaction
channel, advice and speed,” said Sandquist.

Methodology

Accenture conducted a quantitative online consumer survey of 4,067 individuals
in the United States, with 2031 answering the questionnaire regarding auto
insurance and 2036 answering regarding home insurance. Samples were
representative of gender, age, and income as well as regions. Interviews were
conducted in August, 2012.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and
outsourcing company, with approximately 261,000 people serving clients in more
than 120 countries.Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive
capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive
research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with
clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments.The
company generated net revenues of US$27.9 billion for the fiscal year ended
Aug. 31, 2012.Its home page is www.accenture.com.

Accenture Property and Casualty Insurance Services is a business service
within Accenture’s Financial Services operating group that provides management
consulting, technology and outsourcing services to property and casualty
insurers. Its services are designed to help insurers achieve profitable growth
though product innovation, enhanced customer interactions and reduced
operating costs.

Contact:

Accenture
Francois Luu, + 33 6 60 53 84 28
francois.luu@accenture.com
or
Sean Conway, + 917-452-6444
sean.k.conway@accenture.com
 
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