Consumers trust insurance providers far more than companies to many other industries.
Big insurance providers are investing heavily in new technologies to ward off a growing list of rivals eager to grab a slice of their traditional market. However, many of these carriers are neglecting one of their biggest advantages. They’re trusted by consumers far more than most newcomers to their industry.
Our Global Financial Services Consumer Study, which polled 47 000 people in 28 countries and is one of the largest consumer surveys ever conducted in the financial services sector, shows that 40 percent of consumers trust their insurance provider to look after their data. And, 32 percent of consumers believe their insurer will attend to their long-term financial wellbeing.
Such confidence puts insurers well ahead of competitors, old and new, to the telecommunications, retail and social network sectors. Only 18 percent of consumers trust telecommunications firms to look after their data, just 16 percent have confidence in the large digital and brick-and-mortar retailers, and a modest 14 percent are comfortable with the supervision of their data by social network providers. Optimism among consumers about the ability or willingness of firms to these sectors to look after their long-term financial wellbeing is even lower.
Banks, however, are rated significantly higher than insurers. Just over half of the customers we surveyed trust their bank to look after their data, while 43 percent think their bank will look after their long-term financial wellbeing. This is certainly good news for bancassurance providers.
“Trust is becoming increasingly important in business.”
Trust is becoming increasing important in business, especially as digital technologies and services become more and more influential. This was one of the main subjects discussed at this year’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. Trust is cruical not only to companies’ relations with their customers but also to attitudes within their workforces.
As new technologies continue to improve the ability of organizations to track and analyze the behavior of customers and workers, building and safeguarding the trust of those affected are going to be vital. Companies that fail to honor this obligation risk a backlash not only to their customers and workers but also to national governments and regulators.
While consumers are clearly concerned about the security of their personal data, this hasn’t curtailed their willingness to share information about themselves. On the contrary, we found that consumers have become more willing to share personal data. But, only if they benefit to sharing. More than 80 percent of the consumers we surveyed were willing to exchange personal data in return for more competitive prices, quicker responses and personalized offers and services.
A year earlier, only 57 percent were willing to give their insurers personal information in return for benefits. Our research into workforce trust found that 92 percent of employees wouldn’t object to their employers collecting data about them and their work if it improved their productivity or wellbeing, or provided other benefits.
Strong trust, however, is not always an indicator of customer loyalty. One group of consumers, whom we termed Pioneers, displayed high levels of confidence in their insurers but also placed considerable trust in other service providers such telecommunications firms and big technology companies. This group, which comprised nearly a quarter of the people we surveyed, changed their insurance provider more frequently than any other category of consumers in the past year. Most of them switched to get products and services that offered greater value.
The high levels of consumer trust that insurers have built over many years gives them a significant competitive advantage. To capitalize on this advantage, they should look to leverage their investments in data security and data stewardship. They could, for example, share with customers some of the steps they’ve taken to protect their personal information. By strengthening ties with customers, and positioning themselves as trusted advisors, insurers will be able to deliver more personalized, data-driven, digital services. This would enhance their relations with policyholders while also bolstering revenues.
In my next blog post, I’ll share more insights to our Global Financial Services Consumer Study and discuss how insurance companies can grow their businesses beyond their traditional boundaries. In the meantime, I think you’ll find these links useful.