Carriers looking to attract millennial consumers need to make it easy to research and shop online, according to a new report, which found that 75 percent of respondents prefer shopping online rather than through traditional channels.

Millennials look for websites with customer reviews and side-by-side comparisons and would rather do their shopping without interacting with a customer service representative, the report from Novarica found.

“Millennials have defined ‘good’ consumer expectations based on experience in other industries, and they are sure to bring these expectations with them in interactions with the insurance industry,” said Rob McIsaac, senior vice president of Research and Consulting at Novarica and lead author of the report. “Millennial customers are not going to be satisfied with paper-based processes or sales that require office visits and in-person meetings. As we have said previously, legacy processes are for legacy consumers. If carriers are going to appeal to prospective millennial policyholders, they need to make strategic investments to understand and attract this demographic.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • Millennials Google everything. Every respondent reported using Google as a research tool for purchases. They also generally consult one or more industry-relevant, consumer-focused website for information such as customer reviews and feature specifications. They read reviews in detail, looking for both negative and positive reviews, and get frustrated if there aren’t many available. They also prefer looking at feature details for multiple products side by side so they can choose the one that best meets their needs.
  • Millennials don’t want to be “sold to.” The vast majority of respondents prefer self-service shopping (85 percent), with only 5 percent preferring to be guided by a person. They want to guide their own purchasing process and voiced deep skepticism of professional advisors and salespeople. Agents and brokers will need to demonstrate that their expertise can guide millennials to optimal coverage options while saving them money, time and effort.
  • Millennials hate traditional channels: getting mail, talking on the phone to customer service representatives, dealing with automated phone trees, or meeting in person with agents. Carriers should provide for an end-to-end shopping and servicing experience that does not require a phone call, Novarica said. However, carriers should maintain appropriately staffed call centers that can handle more complex inquiries as needed.
  • Millennials are comfortable sharing data on traditional risk factors like driving history and credit score in exchange for discounts on their premiums, but many respondents are wary about sharing more personal data, like social media posts, purchasing behavior and information about their family members. Carriers should strive to demonstrate transparency around the relevance of the data they request, as well as the limits of what they will or will not collect.

Novarica conducted a total of 20 detailed interviews with millennials aged 23-32, asking questions about their demographic information, purchasing preferences and experience with insurance as well as other financial products and services. Respondents live in 10 different states and 12 different metropolitan areas. Half were male and half were female.

For more information, see the full report from Novarica: “Millennials and Insurance: Understanding Tomorrow’s Mass Affluent Today.”