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

Independent Insurance Agency Natick, MAU.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.

The 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
   — 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.
Also according to the survey:
   -- 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:
    -- 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.
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.

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