Survey: Agents Used to Buy, Digital Used to Shop Insurance

While consumers would rather shop for insurance and obtain quotes through digital sources, they choose actual agents over electronic channels when they buy coverage, according to a new survey.

The consumer survey, from consulting firm Accenture, found that more than 3 out of every 4 respondents prefer “setting up and paying for” their auto and home insurance policies in person with an agent. Using the web is still the dominant method for getting quotes, though, with 43 percent of respondents saying they prefer to get quotes through a website.

Nearly three-fourths of the respondents cited an insurer’s website as a preferred method for finding information about products and prices.

Respondents’ next-most-cited preference for product and price information was friends and family (61 percent), followed by an exclusive agent (56 percent), search engines (55 percent) and insurance quote aggregator websites (54 percent).

The findings parallel those published by J.D. Power and Associates in 2011, when a survey found that consumers went most often to online sources for quotes though still relied on agents for purchases.

Erik J. Sandquist, the managing director of Accenture Property and Casualty Insurance Services, said the survey results show that agency-reliant insurers need to diversify the channels through which they offer their products.

“More sophisticated digital marketing, customer segmentation and analytics are needed to attract customers and deliver more personalized and relevant products and experiences,” he said in a statement.

Insurers’ websites will be the “battleground” for the auto coverage industry as more consumers lean toward self-service, according to a webinar hosted last year by Customer Respect Group.

Parts of the Accenture survey identified that same desire for self-service and personalized shopping, especially among consumers between ages of 18 and 24 years old. Ten percent of respondents in that age group said that they would get quotes from a mobile application, compared with 5 percent of respondents between 25 years old and 44 years old.

Nearly 7 out of every 10 respondents in the youngest age group said that they would be “willing to pay more for personalized advice” when buying policies, the highest rate out of any age group.

Out of all respondents, 38 percent said they would pay more for personalized advice about their purchase, with more than half of those respondents saying they would pay at least 10 percent more.

Also, almost half of those surveyed said they thought all products and services offered by different insurers are “all the same.”

Accenture surveyed 2,031 respondents who answered questions about auto coverage.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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