Would customers really purchase insurance online?
Short answer: Yes. Undeniably.
Data-backed answer: Everybody in the industry agrees that life insurance may be more difficult to distribute online, since these products can be more complex and customers require more guidance during the selection and purchase process.
But according to a 2012 study by one of the largest reinsurers, half the European population up to 50 years old would feel comfortable purchasing life insurance coverage online directly on the website of the insurer, if such an option existed. And if these are the numbers for life insurance in 2012, imagine them for all other insurance lines and life now.
Longer answer: You don’t need to ask your customers if they would buy insurance online. Just listen to what they tell you they desire most from their insurance providers: an easy, fast, transparent process.
A 100% online insurance process encompasses all these aspects.
By asking customers if they would purchase insurance online, you don’t gather information about their inclination to take advantage of a 100% online insurance process. You actually ask customers to try to imagine how such a process would look like and whether they believe insurers are capable of delivering it.
It’s a situation similar to that in the famous Henry Ford quote: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Because his customers wanted to pass distances faster. So, he did listen to them carefully, understood what they were actually saying and then made that possible. Oh and delivered incomparable comfort as an addition.
Of course, in the case of online insurance, customers can actually use their experience with other industries to visualize how an online insurance process would look like. Still, they can’t imagine how all steps can be implemented, how the long paper forms can be completely transfigured into user-friendly, wizard-like guiding process, how they won’t have to download forms, fill in countless fields, because these will be filled in automatically by a smart, sophisticated system. Customers can’t imagine all these things, because currently they are not available. And it’s not the customers’ job to imagine an easy and transparent process. They should simply be able to enjoy it.
So don’t ask your customers whether they would purchase insurance online. They would and they will. The right question is: How? How can I reward my customers with a 100% online insurance process. Luckily, now that’s an equally easy to answer question.