Consumers Prefer Buying Insurance In-Person

A new survey found three-quarters (75%) of consumers who own an insurance product prefer to buy life products from an agent or another trusted source, such as an employer or financial adviser.

Overall, nearly three-quarters (73%) of U.S. consumers prefer buying insurance products through agents and other trusted sources. However, younger and higher-income consumers are more inclined to purchase products via the Web than through an agent and are more inclined to switch insurers, according to a release of the findings of a survey by Accenture, a consulting and outsourcing company.

The survey found that 39% of consumers aged 18 to 24 and 28% of consumers in the higher-income bracket with incomes above $60,000 would prefer to buy insurance products online versus with an agent.

“The promise of the Internet is strong, yet insurers have lagged behind other industries in harnessing it to improve customer acquisition and retention,” said Michael Costonis, director of Accenture’s Insurance practice in North America, in the release. “Insurers have an opportunity to attract younger and higher-income consumers to more straightforward products via the Web. Distribution needs to match customer’s needs and insurers need to take a targeted approach for younger and higher-income consumers.”

About one-quarter of consumers said they do not feel they have adequate information about the impact that the economy will have on their life policies, and the same number said they are interested in receiving more information regarding their life insurance, according to the results. Of the more than three-quarters of respondents (79%) who said they are not considering purchasing a new life insurance product in the next 12 months, 80% said they see the benefit of purchasing a new product but don’t plan to purchase.

Accenture 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.