Websites that American consumers use to compare and shop for life insurance are mostly limited to inexpensive term products. And sales originating from these aggregator sites — AccuQuotek, SelectacQuote, PolicyGenius, among others — are not a “meaningful source of new business” for U.S. life insurers.
So reports Accenture Research in a new study, “Coming to terms with insurance aggregators: Global lessons for carriers.” Accenture Research surveyed 414 senior insurance executives across Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific to determine how they are transforming their distribution models to increase customer engagement and meet customer expectations.
The study finds significant differences — particularly between the U.K. and the U.S. — in market penetration by aggregators. For example, more than three-quarters (83 percent) of insurers in the U.K. are considering setting up their own aggregator sites. This compares to fewer than 6 in 10 (58 percent) of U.S. insurers.
One reason for the lower market penetration by U.S. aggregators: a still greater preference among American consumers to interface with an insurance agent to learn about products. More than 4 in 10 (or 45 percent) of U.S. respondents said they would go first to independent agents to obtain information. That compares to just over a third (34 percent) that named aggregators as their first choice.
The report flags other constraints facing U.S. aggregators. Among them: state-based regulation and competition from well-established carriers that boast big advertising budgets. This will have to change, the report suggests, so as to better align insurers with growing consumer demand — particularly among millennials — for technology that makes comparing and buying products easier.
“The aggregator business model is more aligned with how customers compare and purchase products today than traditional sales channels for insurance,” said Roy Jubraj, a managing director in Accenture’s Insurance industry practice in the UK and Ireland. “Insurance customers expect a sophisticated online experience that provides real-time, accurate quotes, price transparency and competitiveness.”
The report notes also consumers shopping aggregator sites for term life products may be amenable to buying other financial solutions as well. These include basic financial products like consumer loans and credit cards, as well as online financial planning and wealth management advice.