The number of UK consumers willing to share significant data on their health and other lifestyle-related habits with their insurer to reduce premiums has grown over the past two years, but their trust in insurers to look after that data has fallen, according to a new report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).
Based on a survey of more than 3,000 UK consumers, Accenture’s latest Global Insurance Consumer Study provides a view of consumer preferences and trends in insurance, building on similar reports from 2019 and 2017.
At a time when insurers are launching tech-driven partnerships to improve customer wellness, just under two-thirds (64%) say they would share significant data on their health, exercise and driving habits in exchange for lower prices from their insurers, compared with 48% two years ago. In addition, 55% of consumers say they would also share significant data for personalised services to prevent injury and loss — up from 40% in 2019.
But while consumers are more willing to share personal data, their concerns about intrusiveness and its impact on premiums has grown and their confidence in their insurers’ ability to look after their data has diminished. For instance, a third (33%) of consumers say they significantly trust insurers to look after their data, down from 44% in 2019.
“British consumers have their full attention on preserving the health and wealth of themselves and their families during the pandemic, and their increased willingness to share wellness data spells good news for UK insurers,” said Sean Mahdi, a managing director in Accenture’s UK insurance practice. “But they must not get complacent, as trust is getting harder to build with savvy consumers in an increasingly-digital world. While insurers are creating tech-driven partnerships to provide customers with flexible and personalised offerings based on behaviour, they’ll need to be transparent and responsible with customer data for these partnerships to succeed. To earn consumers’ trust, insurers will need to demonstrate a clear purpose that places their customers’ well-being at the heart of their business.”
As insurance becomes more digitised, human advisors will help restore trust
The report also finds that insurers will need to re-evaluate the role of human workers, particularly as COVID-19 has drastically accelerated the industry’s adoption of digital insurance services. For instance, the number of respondents over the age of 55 who said they would like the internet chat and video insurance claim process to replace the traditional in-office claim process increased by sixteen percentage points to 60%.
However, consumers overall still trust human advisors more than digital touchpoints for certain services. One example: Over half (54%) of consumers trust a human advisor in a branch when making an insurance claim, while only 8% trust an automated digital service and just 5% trust a chatbot.
“The pandemic has triggered an overnight shift in how consumers are using digital to engage with their insurers, which will become a long-term trend,” added Sean Mahdi. “It’s now about striking a balance between intuitive, convenient and user-friendly digital services, whilst ensuring the human touch is at the forefront of complex issues where empathy and technical advice is necessary. In order to embrace long-term change, it’s critical for insurers to empower their people with the right insights and technologies to better serve customers and increase trust.”
Accenture surveyed 47,810 respondents across 28 markets: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. Respondents were required to have an insurance policy and represented multiple demographical generations and income levels. The survey was conducted online during July and August 2020.