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Engagement lacking among insurance customers

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Fewer than 40 percent of customers are “strongly engaged” with insurance companies, new research reveals.

KBM Group published this finding in the study “Engagement in Insurance: An Imperative for Achieving Organic Growth.” Conducted in collaboration with 1to1 Media, the study polled 1,000 U.S. customers of life and property & casualty (P&C) insurers to ascertain the levels of customer engagement in the insurance industry, and the priorities and plans by which insurers can enhance engagement.

The study reveals only 38 percent of customers are “strongly engaged” with insurers. An almost equal proportion (36 percent) are “moderately engaged.” The level of engagement is weak fo more than one-quarter of respondent (27 percent).

“These distinctions are significant because it is those strongly engaged customers who are most likely to be brand enthusiasts,” the report said. “Those customers are qualitatively different from moderately engaged customers, who are satisfied but unenthusiastic; and from weakly engaged customers, with whom the strength of the relationship with insurers is low.

“Engagement does not meaningfully or consistently vary by customers’ gender, age or household income, suggesting that it is not demographically determined,” the report added.

The study found differences in the level of customer engagement when comparing life against P&C insurers. Fewer life (29 percent) than P&C insurance (46 percent) customers are highly engaged, due in part to fewer interactions per year (1.7 versus 2.0) with their insurer; and to the use of fewer communication channels (e.g., email, direct mail or phone; 1.3 versus 1.5).

The report added that as customers agree more strongly that an insurer exhibits a constructive behavior, engagement increases, both for life and P&C insurance customers. The extent of that increase varies from modest — a 32 percent change for “asks for my feedback on its products and services” for P&C insurance customers, for example — to momentous — a 93 percent change for “stands behind its promises” for life insurance customers.

Across both life and P&C insurance customers, advertising and marketing behaviors of insurer yield the highest average change in engagement (73 percent).