If it means reduced premiums, consumers are willing to share their personal information with insurers but they question whether insurers can protect their data.
The number of consumers willing to share significant data on their health and lifestyle habits with their insurer to reduce premiums has grown over the past two years, but their trust in insurers to look after that data has fallen, according to a report from professional services firm Accenture.
Based on a survey of more than 47,000 consumers globally, Accenture’s Global Insurance Consumer Study looks at consumer preferences and trends in insurance, building on similar reports from 2019 and 2017.
At a time when insurers are launching tech-driven partnerships to improve customer wellness, approximately seven out of 10 consumers (69%) say they would share significant data on their health, exercise and driving habits in exchange for lower prices from their insurers, compared with 58% two years ago.
In addition, two-thirds (66%) of consumers say they would also share significant data for personalized services to prevent injury and loss — up from 54% in the 2019 report.
But while consumers are more willing to share personal data, their concerns about intrusiveness and its impact on premiums have grown. Also, their confidence in their insurers’ ability to look after their data has diminished. For instance, just under a third (32%) of consumers say they significantly trust insurers to look after their data, down from 40% in the 2019 report.
“Consumers are embracing the data-for-personalized-pricing trend and want insurers to reward their efforts to improve their well-being, but it comes with a warning that trust is waning, and they want to feel in control of their data,” said Kenneth Saldanha, who leads Accenture’s Insurance industry group globally.
He said that insurers that are creating personalized insurance offerings based on behavior will need to be transparent and responsible with their customers’ data for these partnerships to succeed. “To earn consumers’ trust, insurers will need to show that their customers’ well-being is at the core of their business,” Saldaha said.
The report also finds that insurers may need to re-evaluate the role of human workers, particularly as COVID-19 has accelerated the industry’s adoption of digital insurance services. For instance, the number of respondents over the age of 55 who said they would like the internet chat and video insurance claim process to replace the traditional in-office claim process increased by three percentage points to 71%.
The study suggest that consumers overall still trust human advisors more than digital touchpoints for certain services. One example: Half (49%) of consumers trust a human advisor in a branch when making an insurance claim, while only 12% trust an automated digital service and just 7% trust a chatbot.
“Insurers still have much to do to fully address new customer behavior caused by the pandemic, including permanently raised expectations regarding digital experiences,” said Todd Staehle, who leads the Insurance industry group for Accenture Interactive.
He suggests that Insurers need to balance self-service digital options for simple issues with the human touch for more complex concerns that require empathy or nuanced advice.
Accenture surveyed 47,810 respondents across 28 markets: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. Respondents were required to have an insurance policy and represented multiple demographical generations and income levels. The survey was conducted online during July and August 2020.
*This story ran previously in our sister publication Insurance Journal.