Insurers must improve customer service to meet expectations says survey

British consumers believe that insurance providers are trailing other industries in customer service and loyalty rewards according a recent study.

Conducted by Ernst and Young, the study suggests that 84% of life and pensions customers and 88% of non-life customers agreed that insurance providers offer less in the way of rewarding customer loyalty than other service providers.

In addition, over a third of UK consumers would welcome more transparent products, and worldwide over a quarter said they would change providers if they could guarantee better communication and transparency.

Shaun Crawford of Ernst & Young said:

"consumers are taking a much more proactive approach to educating themselves about their products and their needs and there is frustration with the industry's apparent lack of transparency."

However, in spite of the global financial crisis the majority of consumers across the world still have trust in insurance providers with overall satisfaction levels at a global average of 70%.

Figures also suggest that insurance companies are not working hard enough to retain existing policy holders, with 75% of consumers across the globe reporting a lack of contact from their insurance provider when their existing policy was due for renewal. 55% of UK life and pensions customers were not contacted by their provider when their policy renewal date came up says the study.

The study included 24,000 insurance customers in 23 countries, including 2,000 in the UK.

Crawford commented:

"While of course there are variations in customer attitudes and behaviors around the globe, there are some remarkably consistent underlying themes about what consumers want and where they expect more from insurers."

"Insurers that align themselves to a truly customer centric model will find the transition to the new regulatory environment less painful, and will gain competitive advantage."