Life Insurers are Showing Signs of Innovation – on their Websites that is


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Life Insurance – “It does n’t have to be complicated”

We have reviewed the websites of Life Insurance companies for seven or eight years and, if pushed for a summary, I would say conservative, even dull but with a lot of complicated content. But there is a real sense of change in the air. No longer are websites simply brochureware assuming the consumer will end up calling the local agent anyway.
There is growing realization and acceptance that consumers want to be in control, at least for the research stage. Online consumers have become accustomed to comparison shop, to seek out multiple options, to ignore brand loyalty. The message is being heard, at least in some insurers and websites are responding in kind.

Some of the key trends are:

  • Many insurers are attempting to demystify life insurance describing it as fun, uncomplicated even simple
  • More insurers are providing clearly labelled steps though the research process by addressing “what type of insurance do I need?”, “How much do I need” and “What will it cost me”
  • Cost estimation tools are more common, simpler to use and even allow various options to make coverage fit the need or the available budget.
  • More insurers are offering instant access to licensed agents through chat or an immediate telephone call backs
  • Some insurers are even reaching out to potential customers using social media, interactive social games and engaging micro-sites
  • Insurers are starting to understand the power of paid search, long a domain of aggregators, to reach consumers looking for a solution rather than a company
  • While still in its infancy, some insurers are already using user ratings and reviews, made popular when buying a camera or TV, but now for Life insurance
  • While it is still not the norm yet to be able to buy Life Insurance online, there are more options even though they tend to be at a higher cost

I never thought I would say it but insurers are getting innovative, using techniques that work in other industries and getting the point that while they might judge themselves against each other, the consumer judges them against the wide web world that includes Amazon, Expedia, Progressive and Fandango.

So who is the best? Based upon our common set of objective criteria, numbering over 200 measurements, 26 insurer sites were reviewed; The criteria covered Navigation, Usability, Customer Content and Self Service and availability of options to engage in a dialog.
The top five insurers, in no order, each who have made substantial site changes in the recent months are:

  • MetLife,
  • Mutual of Omaha,
  • Thrivent Financial,
  • Western & Southern Life and
  • Nationwide Life

Overall, the average score for the industry has risen but only by a relatively small amount. This is partial because of a widening gap between insurers that focus increasingly on the need of the consumers and others that view the website as a necessary tool to support the job of the local agent. The sites that more support the agent model typically provide limited information, less or no interactive tools and certainly no immediate dialog options. They prefer not to pre-empt the agent to consumer conversation. The question for those companies might be whether that conversation will take place.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Terry Golesworthy
As the president of The Customer Respect Group for 7 years, I focus on the online experience of consumers. Online experience has always been bigger than the company website, from the response to email to integration to other offline channels. It has now grown to include social media.


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