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Survey: Personal contact important to insurance buyers

The Internet is capturing more buyers every day, but three-quarters of consumers who buy insurance products prefer toinsurance buy them from agents and other trusted sources, according to a survey by Accenture. Younger and higher-income consumers, however, are more inclined to purchase products via the Web than through an agent, and are more inclined to switch insurers, according to the survey, which tapped into the opinions of 1,000 U.S. consumers.

The possible message to insurance agents: Have a Web presence as well as office hours.

Key findings of the survey include:

·         Consumers prefer to buy insurance products through an agent rather than online. Nearly three quarters (73%) said they prefer to buy auto and home insurance products from an agent, and three-quarters (75%) prefer to buy life products from an agent or another trusted source, such as an employer or financial advisor.

·         Younger and more affluent customers were more inclined to purchase products via the Web versus purchasing products through an agent. The survey showed that 39% of consumers aged 18 to 24 and 28% of consumers in the higher-income bracket with incomes above $60,000, said they would prefer to buy insurance products online instead of from an agent. Even more were inclined to purchase auto and home products online; 43% of consumers aged 18 to 24 and 39% of consumers aged 25 to 34 said they are more likely to buy auto and home products online.

·         One in six (17%) respondents are “in play,” meaning they are considering purchasing an auto or home insurance policy with a new insurer over the next twelve months with the primary goal of cost savings (46%). Younger and more affluent customers were more inclined to switch insurers. Consumers aged 18 to 24 (29%) and 25 to 34 (27%) were more likely to switch when compared with elder groups. Additionally, consumers with incomes above $60,000 (22%) were more likely to switch compared with consumers who had incomes below $60,000 (13%).

·         Consumer confidence in auto and home insurance carriers was found to vary by age with younger consumers questioning their insurance companies’ ability to provide sufficient coverage for them during the current economic times. Of individuals aged 18 to 24, 43% either had some concerns or didn’t have confidence in their carriers’ ability to provide coverage, compared with just one quarter of those (26%) in the 45+ age groups.

Accenture, a global management consulting company, commissioned a survey of 1,005 U.S. citizens at least 18 years of age who own at least one insurance product. The online survey was designed by Accenture and conducted by Lightspeed Research in April 2009. Respondents were representative of the U.S. population in gender, age, income and region.

Source: Accenture, www.accenture.com.


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