By Jaimie Pickles
Our job as insurance professionals is to meet consumers when and how they need us to meet them. This is especially important in the current crisis as the behavior of both consumers and insurance providers is changing.
Consumers are spending more time streaming and researching online. They’re in “money-reduction mode,” saving for unexpected expenses or trying to survive financially. And they have more time to think about their finances and research the best options.
As a result, consumers are turning to digital to access the outside world, including shopping for insurance, and it’s highly likely that this behavior will be a lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Better Understand Consumer Behavior
Actionable data about insurance shopping journeys will help you find and appropriately engage with consumers. We’ve conducted research around this and we believe it is important to keep in mind that there really is no typical auto, home, life or health insurance customer journey — even during a pandemic. Staying competitive and relevant during this time requires a better understanding of the consumer to send the right message at the right time.
Overall, we see the current state of insurance online shopping activity remains strong and has trended higher than normal (for this time of year) across every line of business. Providers have reacted quickly and are still aiming to achieve or surpass their 2020 growth plans and, in most cases, leaning into the performance marketing ecosystem to capture more mid-funnel prospects to fill excess capacity.
We’ve seen the following trends:
- Auto insurance activity has increased substantially: more than 2 million additional consumers from Q4. This growth is driven largely by the preferred and standard risk segments while the non-standard auto consumer has largely been sitting this one out.
- With mortgage rates at historic lows and a sharp increase in demand from carriers and agents, home insurance activity surged in March and the pace continued into Q2.
- Life insurance shopping activity is not only strong, but it’s also high-intent activity according to our life insurance clients.
- Health insurance shopping activity in late Q1 and early Q2 has risen substantially. Typically, we do not see health insurance shopping activity higher this time of year compared to the open enrollment period, but we are.
- With an increased reliance on digital tools to work remotely and stay connected, brands have a renewed focus on privacy and compliance.
Adjustments Carriers And Agents Can Make
Timing is especially important now. In the current COVID-19 environment, consumer journeys continue to be unpredictable. It’s important to understand where consumers are in their buying journey. The most efficient and effective way to do that is to leverage behavioral data at the individual consumer level to meet actively shopping consumers in the market, on their terms.
Insurers now have the opportunity to build trust and improve the customer experience with thoughtful, well-timed, engaging conversations. Providers can lead with data to better understand how behavior drives decisions so they know where to focus their time and dollars. It’s critical to be thoughtful but not shy in exceeding consumer expectations when consumers are in the market for an insurance product.
It’s important to understand where consumers are in their buying journey to send the right message at the right time while mitigating compliance risk all along the way. You will be rewarded with faster growth of higher customer lifetime value business.
Jaimie Pickles is the general manager of insurance at Jornaya. Jaimie currently sits on the board of directors of the Society of Insurance Research. He may be contacted at [email protected].
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