Only 39% of the consumers included in a 20-country survey sample say they trust the insurance industry.

The IBM Institute for Business Value, an affiliate of International Business Machines Corp., Armonk, N.Y., has published that finding in a summary of results from a recent online survey of 21,740 consumers from 20 countries. In most cases, the IBM Institute and an institute that helped it with the research gathered 800 responses per country.

The percentage of survey participants is the same as in 2008 and 2009 but down from 42% in 2007, the institute says.

Customers with low trust in the insurance industry are about 20% more likely than others to switch providers, the institute says.

The institute found that 49% of the participants said they shop for insurance by using the insurer’s web site, and 48% said they talked to an insurer’s own career agents.

About 46% said they talk to people they know personally, and 46% said they talk to independent agents brokers.

When consumers receive information from a person, even if the person is just one of several “interaction points,” 80% of the consumers try to stick with that person for the actual purchase.

- Warren S. Hersch