Are insurance sellers failing in building trust with their customers?

In a recent survey of 400 nationally represented insurance buyers, a clear message has been given that despite all the advertising and hype, there remains a serious lack of trust in insurance providers.

  • Just under 73% believe that insurance providers make the terms and conditions in their policies deliberately complicated.
  • Half believe claims are never paid out fairly.
  • A third believe that insurance providers expect them to lie about a claim.

The survey was originally carried out on behalf of the CII, commissioned Lamb Creative Marketing & Consultancy Limited in partnership with research specialists, Illuminas. It attempts to understand the buying motivations of insurance buyers and overlay them alongside the perceptions they have of the industry.

Mark Huxley, Director of Lamb, himself a veteran of the insurance industry said "The results of this survey may seem shocking, but in reality, should we be surprised? Probably not, buying insurance is for many, perceived as a distressed purchase."

What is perhaps sad is that at a time when there has never been more insurance advertising, much of it drives price first and foremost, with features and sometimes service then coming in a distant second. Looking at the survey it cannot be disputed that price is a real determinant of converting an insurance sale, with 72% of the respondents attesting to this fact.

However we need to look a bit more deeply. We questioned further about what factors are the most important when taking out or renewing a policy, their replies were clear and unambiguous. 89% stated that they look to their provider to be trustworthy and 79% said that it is important for insurance advisors to have professional qualifications related to insurance.

This whole survey has thrown up some interesting matters to debate here at Lamb. Hundreds of millions of pounds are being spent by the industry on advertising their products. Apart from the choice of celebrity endorsement or comedy character it is hard to differentiate one from another. Do these adverts work? To themselves, undoubtedly they raise brand awareness, in some cases to unprecedented levels. But when aligned to the brand experience that an insurer actually wants to portray, I fear they do not. Clearly the buyers out there are looking for someone to trust and that message is just not getting through. Dare we say that perhaps it is time for the focus to shift.