The latest P&C policyholder survey from Corporate Insight (CI) revealed increased online activity and interest in P&C insurance digital channels, especially among younger generations. Our recent report reviews the findings in depth. Conducted in the fall of 2019, the survey aimed to determine the online tools and features consumers deem most important. We assessed policyholders’ attitudes toward existing web and mobile app capabilities and emerging technologies as well as their overall platform usage and satisfaction. Notably, we conducted a similar survey in early 2017, allowing us to record changing policyholder inclinations and identify emerging trends.

Although overall satisfaction with online resources is generally high, insurers should be aware of shifting generational preferences, as younger consumers tend to show less satisfaction with their insurers than older generations. The importance of seamless and excellent digital experiences continues to rise as consumers come to the table with increasingly high expectations set by leading digital brands outside the insurance industry. Insurers must focus on improving their digital offerings to meet these high standards.

Other factors—like pricing and claims processing—remain primary reasons that consumers switch insurers. With the rise of insurtechs, who pride themselves on both innovative digital experiences and quick quoting and claims processes, incumbent insurers must make structural changes. That means either updating their processes or adopting new technologies, practices and partnerships.

Policyholders are increasingly turning to P&C insurance digital channels

General satisfaction with insurers’ websites is high across all generations, as 88% of respondents reported being “satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with these platforms. Yet more than half (53%) were just “satisfied.” This demonstrates a clear opportunity for insurers to turn satisfied customers into very satisfied customers. Very satisfied customers are less likely to shop around for other providers with more fulfilling online experiences.

Traditional methods like calling customer service or an agent are far less popular.

Notably, customer interactions with insurers have increasingly turned to digital channels. Traditional methods like calling customer service or an agent are far less popular. Compared to this year, our 2017 survey showed less website and mobile interaction and more usage of traditional phone calls. In the short two-year window, we have seen a four-percentage-point increase from 61% to 65% in website usage. And we’ve seen an 11-percentage-point decline, from 58% to 47%, in the number of respondents who contacted their insurers via phone in the same period. Mobile app usage remains rather low at 16% but has still risen five percentage points since 2017. We expect this upward trend to persist in the future.
More policyholders are interacting with insurers online through P&C insurance digital channels

Emerging technologies are shifting the P&C landscape

Certain emerging technologies—such as telematics programs, autonomous vehicles and smart home devices—are changing the industry landscape for consumers and insurers alike. Unsurprisingly, Millennials demonstrated the highest interest in these new technologies, with 35% reporting that they are “interested” or “very interested” in telematics and 32% in autonomous vehicles. Millennials also reported above-average ownership of connected home devices. This hints at future growth in the market as this cohort ages and becomes more financially stable. Moreover, a vast majority (91%) of smart home device owners would recommend these products to others.

Smart technology is projected to grow by 26.9% by the end of 2019.

Insurers are increasingly offering discounts to customers who make use of emerging technologies like smart devices and telematics programs. Respondents answered favorably when asked about receiving discounts for installing smart devices. Over half reported being “interested” or “very interested” in installing devices such as over-the-door cameras (57%) and water shutoff valves (51%).

Many insurers continue to partner with technology providers to offer discounted products to customers. Yet only three firms in our coverage group promote smart devices on their product pages. Smart technology appears to be an area of opportunity for insurers. The industry’s projected to grow by 26.9% by the end of 2019, with an estimated sustained growth rate of 16.9% until 2023.

Policyholders preferences for smart devices and P&C insurance digital channels

CI’s audit benchmarks the experience of carriers’ P&C insurance digital channels

The survey coincides with our Property & Casualty Digital Audit, which benchmarks insurers’ websites and mobile apps against those of key competitors. The audit identifies strengths, weaknesses and areas of opportunity in creating a best-in-class experience. Using our proprietary software, we grade P&C sites and apps across over 200 individual attributes covering:

  • Account Information
  • Payments & Claims
  • Account Servicing
  • Prospect Experience
  • Help Resources & Tools
  • Design & Usability
  • Mobile Apps

We then weight scores based on the preferences of users, collected through our 2019 P&C consumer survey. We generate data and analyses to determine recommendations for how to improve digital offerings.

Subscribers can access the full survey report on increased online activity and interest in P&C insurance digital channels by visiting our client portal. Or, learn more about CI’s P&C Insurance Monitor research services and our digital audit.