As consumers and insurance companies alike embrace innovations in the market, providers are starting to earn the trust of America’s largest generation. New research from Mintel reveals that more than half (53 percent) of Millennials agree insurance companies are more trustworthy now than they were five years ago (vs 31 percent of consumers overall). What’s more, three in five Millennials trust insurance companies to do what’s right for their customers (61 percent) and agree insurers are interested in keeping customers healthy (58 percent).

Only 26% of women view insurance companies as more trustworthy now than they were five years ago

While Millennials are a bright spot for the industry, insurance providers still have work to do in order to improve their image among women: only one quarter (26 percent) of women view insurance companies as more trustworthy now than they were five years ago (vs 36 percent of men). Further, while half (49 percent) of men trust insurance companies to do what’s right for their customers, just 42 percent of women agree.

Mintel research reveals that insurance providers may be able to build trust through establishing personal connections with consumers, as 56 percent of consumers agree that insurance agents are the best source of information about insurance options.

“Millennials hold the insurance industry in relatively high regard and trust that insurers are doing right by their customers. Insurers should be taking advantage of this positive outlook and doing what they can to build and retain relationships with Millennials as their insurance needs will only grow over time,” said Robyn Kaiserman, Senior Financial Services Analyst at Mintel. “To improve their reputation among more skeptical demographics, insurers need to provide knowledgeable agents who can build trust with consumers and provide the human element a majority of consumers say they want. Insurers should recognize that interaction is not necessarily limited to telephone conversations; it’s key for insurers to have agents accessible both in-person and online to dispense information to consumers.”

Although price remains a primary deciding factor when shopping for insurance providers, Mintel research reveals that nearly three in five (57 percent) Millennials agree that the availability of innovative products is more important than premium costs when choosing a policy (vs 33 percent of consumers overall). And it appears that innovation is already resonating with this demographic as 63 percent of Millennials agree that insurance companies tend to offer innovative products compared to less than half (48 percent) of consumers overall.

Overall, Americans are more willing to adopt the latest tech innovation when incentives are part of the deal, as 65 percent of consumers would use a fitness tracker if they received an incentive. Another 52 percent of consumers are interested in using a device that tracks health-related behavior, while two in five (43 percent) are interested in using a device that allows their insurance company to monitor their driving habits.

“The insurance industry isn’t traditionally known for innovation, but competitive forces are driving brands to develop new products now more than ever. Our research shows that new, innovative products and services are welcomed by consumers who see the benefits of using technology that tracks and monitors their behavior to streamline communications with insurers and create better, more cost-effective service, as well as identifies steps to building healthy habits. Insurers should look to offer customers monitoring devices to encourage them to engage in healthy behaviors so they can earn rewards or reduced premiums,” continued Kaiserman.

The most sought after tech features from insurance providers are text alerts, including those that inform consumers that their bill will be due soon or of the status of their claim (38 percent respectively). Consumers also show interest in transactional tools including mobile apps that allow them to file claims or pay their premium (29 percent respectively).

However, the benefits of insurance apps may be largely unknown as less than one in five (18 percent) consumers with auto insurance have downloaded a mobile app linked to their insurance policy. Mintel research reveals even less have downloaded apps for health insurance (15 percent), life insurance (14 percent) and homeowners insurance (10 percent).

“In general, consumers prefer text alerts from mobile apps that allow them to react and conduct insurance transactions more quickly rather than those that allow them to proactively initiate activities. When promoting mobile offerings, it is key for insurers to highlight the convenient tandem role that text alerts and mobile apps play, supporting both reactive and proactive activities, all while on the go,” concluded Kaiserman.

Press copies of the Innovations in the Insurance Market US 2016 report and interviews with Robyn Kaiserman, Senior Financial Services Analyst, are available on request from the press office.

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