As personal finances continue to take a beating for most amid the global coronavirus crisis, new research from MetLife Australia has found that Australian consumers are taking a more active interest in insurance and superannuation.
According to the life insurer’s online survey conducted in May, 28% of the more than 1,000 respondents have undertaken some form of activity with regards to life insurance since the COVID-19 outbreak. For the 18-34 age group, the figure stands at 40%.
As for superannuation, 66% of those polled say they want to hear from their fund about their investments and what they can do to protect their pot. In addition, 52% are keen to receive information regarding life insurance inside their super.
“Our research found that half of Australians claim COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their personal finances,” noted MetLife Australia group insurance head James Carey. “Although the number of people reporting a ‘very negative’ impact has eased since March, there is still a lot of uncertainty when it comes to job security and financial wellbeing, particularly among younger Australians.
“Financial providers, including superfunds and advisers, have a key role to play in helping consumers navigate this uncertainty. Consumers are continuing to look to their financial providers to guide them, particularly on topics like super investment performance and early access to their super balance.”
Carey, at the same time, pointed to the need for consumer education.
“While it’s encouraging to see so many Australians, particularly those in the younger age bracket, take active steps to understand their financial situation, the increase in and types of enquiries we’ve experienced over the past few months suggests many consumers don’t fully understand what is and isn’t covered by different insurance products,” he said.
“For example, income protection will cover you if you’re unable to work due to illness or injury but doesn’t protect against redundancy – which is what many consumers have been worried about since the COVID-19 lockdown began.”
The MetLife official highlighted the current “important opportunity” for financial providers to enlighten clients to ensure they have the appropriate coverage.