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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : March 22, 2017

Consumers prefer human touch for insurance buying, claims

While much has been made of insurtech of late, new research suggests that most consumers prefer to purchase insurance, and make claims, via a human agent.

by Helen Leggatt

Recent research warned insurance firms that, by failing to invest in the user experience, incumbent insurers risk losing out to insurtech startups that are better placed to offer users the experience they demand.

"Those that rank highly have broken the traditional inertia in the industry by adopting modern user-centered design processes, including rapid prototyping and user testing," says Mark Lusted, managing director at Dock9. "Incumbent insurers that do this can reap the benefits - after all, they already have the capital, know-how, regulatory approval and a sizeable number of customers."

However, a new survey among 1,200 consumers conducted by insurance technology firm Vertafore, reveals they are not yet ready for technology to completely replace humans in the insurance process, including many insurtech solutions. Only one-quarter (23%) said they would be comfortable sharing personal data with an insurtech startup, even if it resulted in a cheaper rate. Instead, the majority (78%) said they would prefer to work with a real person when reporting an insurance claim, rather that submit one digitally.

According to Bruce Winterburn, VP of Industry Relations at Vertafore, while investment in technology is "absolutely crucial to the success of the insurance industry... it's important to remember the vital role agents play in the process. When consumers are making decisions around protecting their most valuable assets, like their home, they want to know they have a trusted advisor for support and guidance when needed".

Other findings of the survey include:

- 60% of consumers are wary of artificial technologies that might deny them cover than a human agent might offer;

- 72% said they would be uncomfortable buying insurance through a chatbot;

- Nearly half (49%) of Millennials indicated a preference for purchasing insurance through a "human like experience".

Tags: artificial intelligence, human, insurance industry, insurtech

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