Despite a new rise in alternative insurance distribution channels, customers worldwide continue to prefer dealing with independent agents.
Those are the findings of a new survey from Cap Gemini SA and Efma, two Paris-based non-profits. Researchers interviewed 15,500 customers regarding their “general satisfaction” with their insurers in the past year to create the report.
Positive customer experience decreased nearly 4 per cent globally in 2014, with an even more dramatic 8.3 percent decrease among North American consumers—a phenomenon researchers ascribe to the entrance of Generation Y (adults aged 18 to 24) into adulthood.
“Having never experienced adult life without the aid of the internet or smart devices, digital technology is essential to the Gen Y lifestyle,” the report said. “With Gen Y comprising one quarter to one third of the populations in many markets, this segment is of high importance to insurance firms, especially given the high potential in their lifetime values.
“The downside is that Gen Y expectations are quite lofty.”
Yet despite these results, North American insurers continue to lead in customer satisfaction. US consumers reported the second-highest satisfaction rates at 41 percent positive, behind Austria, and Canadians reported a 37 percent satisfaction rate with the industry.
Additionally, satisfaction with agents continues to remain high—especially in comparison to consumer satisfaction with phone and internet-based services.
In North America, agents lead with a 51 percent satisfaction rate, compared to 40 percent for the internet, 38 percent for phone, 33 percent for social media and 30 percent for mobile internet channels. Indeed, these more modern channels dragged down overall customer satisfaction rates across the country.
Cap Gemini and Efma recommended that insurers find ways to replicate the “intimacy and personal service that characterize the agent” in their digital channels, as well as make available new digital tools to make agents a more convenient choice for younger consumers.
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