Web and phone combine for insurance-buying trends

Research into British families’ attitudes to insurance from Media Planning Group’s Fabric division shows that just 14% of families buy their insurance online, while 32% conduct the process solely on the phone. However, the most popular strategy is to search for providers online before phoning to progress the transaction 48%.

Research into British families’ attitudes to insurance from Media Planning Group’s Fabric division shows that just 14% of families buy their insurance online, while 32% conduct the process solely on the phone. However, the most popular strategy is to search for providers online before phoning to progress the transaction 48%.

The study shows that some of the attraction of the Web is price-comparison sites: 55% of families have visited a quote-searching site to look for insurance. Those that hadn’t used such a site, when asked why not, gave a number of responses. These were typically: “I like dealing with a person”; “the level of cover can vary, so it’s better to talk it through”; or “it takes too long to fill in the forms online – it’s easier on the phone.”

The study also looks at how families choose insurance provider. The market is clearly driven by price, with 68% of families believing it’s the most important factor. The majority (78%) believe that extras offered by insurers are a nice-to-have, but not at the expense of the cost of the cover.

Furthermore, the selection process is often a shared experience. In each household, asked if they or their partner research insurance, 46% say they did it together. Moreover, when it comes to actually making the final decision, 67% do that together. And 86% say there’s no argument over it.

Looking at switching providers, families change motor insurance more often than home insurance. The principal driving force behind changing car insurance is because “the price went up more than expected for a renewal” (58%). A price hike of £50 or more appears to be the trigger point. Meanwhile, 64% are likely or very likely to recommend their car insurance.

More generally, when it comes to relationships with financial institutions, families relate better to banks than insurers. Respondents say they have a more long-term relationship with their bank, are happy with their service and like the advertising and range of products offered. The brands they most relate to are: Lloyds (21%), HSBC (14%) and Barclays and NatWest (both 10%).

But while they might not relate to insurance companies so well, families do recognise their advertising: 83% can remember a recent insurance ad. Those remembered most are for Sheila’s Wheels (14%), followed by Churchill (11%), then Esure, Direct Line and Elephant (each 9%).

* Fabric is a research programme conducted by media agency MPG, offering insight into British family life. Using social media, webcams and two-way dialogue, it seeks opinion and feedback from a nationwide panel of 50 families.

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