What today’s consumers look for in their cover

Shift in expectations driving industry transformation

What today’s consumers look for in their cover


By Katrina Shanks

What do today’s consumers expect from their insurance? Purpose, not just coverage for losses. Risk prevention, not just risk management. 

This is the core message of a recent global report from management consulting firm Bain & Company, which set out to explore the shift in consumer expectations and how that’s driving a broader transformation in the insurance industry.

It was a compelling read, so I thought I’d share some takeaways – good food for thought, as we enter the new regime and build the future of financial advice together.

From risk management to risk prevention

Global reports consistently find that the insurance industry is going through a transformative period. In other words, as the world changes and risks become more complex, traditional insurance models no longer seem to meet consumers’ needs. 

Rather than just a payout in the event of a claim, Bain & Company found that consumers now would like insurers to also help them reduce and prevent risks – including those that threaten their health and financial wellbeing. For example, the report shows that 59% of respondents want life insurers to reward them for healthy living. 

Why this and why now? There are many factors in play: alongside demographic shifts, with the pandemic putting both our physical and financial health under the spotlight, the whole risk landscape has changed. And as a result, insurers all around the world are progressively redefining their role in society, looking to adapt and meet their customers’ changing expectations. 

New data-driven technologies have a key role to play in this, as they enable insurers to new ways to deliver value to specific customer segments – for example, by connecting health apps and enlisted partners, like doctors and nutritionists. And for their part, insurance advisers can help consumers navigate this evolution, by providing guidance on the new services and solutions available and how they can benefit from them. 

Key elements of value

Another interesting finding from the report is that more and more consumers are expecting insurers to incorporate key elements of value in their offerings. These include investing in wellbeing, providing a sense of affiliation and belonging, reducing anxiety, reducing costs, reducing risks, and avoiding hassles. 

In other words, consumers are increasingly looking at insurance as a broad solution, rather than a transactional product. This is a gap that insurance advisers already help bridge, by offering personalised advice that goes well beyond just ‘selling a product’, with a client-centric approach to delivering value. 

The bottom line here is that, as consumers become more and more discerning and demand more personalised solutions, the importance of quality advice really comes to the fore. What’s more, rather than replacing human advice, digital technologies may see advisers spend less time on admin, and more time on building relationships that have been primed by data-informed analysis. 

Embedding purpose

Last but not the least, consumers are also seeking a higher purpose from insurers. A clear example is that about 80% of respondents want insurers to embed environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives into their proposition. 

What this tells us, once again, is that consumers are no longer content with companies simply delivering products and services – no matter how high the quality. They also want to see them actively contributing to society and making a positive impact. They’re looking for value alignment. At the end of the day, for any company in today’s market, embedding genuine ESG initiatives (without “greenwashing”, of course!) means improving customer loyalty. 

Expert guidance in a changing world

Now more than ever, people look for personalised guidance and tailored solutions, and that’s where quality financial advice plays a vital role. Equipped with expert knowledge, a “human touch”, and a sense of belonging that digital channels can only try to replicate, advisers are well-positioned to meet these rapidly evolving consumer trends and more. 

Reports like this are a reminder that, as long as people have financial goals and challenges, the need for quality financial advice will continue to exist. We just need to help more and more Kiwis discover the benefits first-hand. 

In your corner

Financial Advice NZ was founded with a single-minded purpose: to help New Zealanders, and New Zealand as a whole, be financially better off. If you’d like to learn more about our initiatives, we welcome you to visit financialadvice.nz.


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