Insurance is a hot-button issue. It’s a necessity for some of the most important aspects in our daily lives, yet it can also be frustrating. Think about it: there are policies for just about everything (it seems). Healthcare, dental, home ownership, home renters, life insurance, vehicle ownership, pet insurance … the list goes on.
In late 2021, we surveyed over 5,000 U.S. mobile subscribers about their insurance calling experiences, followed by a subsequent survey in early 2022 to another 1,000 U.S. mobile subscribers. We sought to understand calling behavior and the impact of branded calling (or lack thereof). These combined findings represent customer sentiment as it relates to health, auto, and home insurance customers.
Respondents were asked to select all companies with which they had a home, health, or auto policy. Policyholders replied with brands of all sizes. These companies we found to be identified over 500 times by respondents:
- Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield
- Farmers® Insurance
- Liberty Mutual
- State Farm®
When talking with their insurance provider(s), we found that:
- Almost half (49%) of people prefer a phone call to talk with a live person over emails, messaging apps and text message.
- Over 3 in 4 people reported they missed a call from their provider because of an unrecognizable number.
- Nearly 60% of people stated that even when they selected a callback option, the return call was declined/ignored because they didn’t recognize the incoming call.
A Relationship of Love and Hate
Insurance policies are designed to help soften the financial blow of the upfront, out-of-pocket costs for services, which are often too substantial for most people to cover – lest they risk personal bankruptcy. And in many instances, insurance is required to get a bank loan, to drive a car, or to get medical assistance.
With the financial ramifications in mind and the often time-sensitive decisions to be made by policyholders, it’s important for insurance providers to understand what modes of communication their clients prefer. The customer experience depends on it.
Can’t Put a Premium on a Phone Call
People have a lot of communication options at hand. Our digital world offers a variety of options – such as phone calls, text messaging, mobile apps, email, and even social media.
With so many choices, what do people actually prefer?
When communicating with their insurance provider, most still want a phone call to speak with a live agent over any other method.
And vice versa, when policyholders are waiting for the providers to communicate, the phone call reigns supreme.
- Want to speak with someone over the phone 49% 49%
- Prefer messaging via email/messaging app 29% 29%
- Like messaging via SMS/text messaging 22% 22%
- Want a phone call from their provider 42% 42%
- Would like to be contacted via email or app 35% 35%
- Prefer a text message/SMS 23% 23%
Coverage beyond claims
So people have made it clear; they want a phone call when contacting their insurance providers. But what happens when the provider makes a call using an unknown number? More than likely, over 3 in 4 people won’t answer.
How about when someone requests a callback instead of waiting on hold? Believe it or not, roughly 60% of people will still miss the call because they don’t know who’s calling.
Lost Time is Lost Money
Shocking right? Been there, seen that.
A missed call costs time and creates frustration. For most people, the entire call process will have to start over again and again – reaching back out to the insurance provider, hoping to make a connection.
Since policy and payment decisions are deadline-oriented, making a connection is top priority for policyholders. A policy lapse could have a significant impact on a customer’s ability to get coverage or service.
Nearly 3 in 5 people said missing calls had a “moderate to big impact” while almost 20% reported a missed call “cost valuable time or had a direct financial impact.”
The Customer Experience – In Their Words
We asked the surveyors to detail their communication experiences and frustrations. Here’s what they had to say:
“I thought it was a call from a telemarketer, so I ignored it. It was a payment reminder from the insurance agency, and I had forgotten to pay the bill, which resulted in a late fee.”
“I had been trying to change my car insurance options, and their website was nearly impossible to navigate… they tried to call me on the last day of my insurance coverage, but it was an unknown number, so I did not answer. They only left the main number to return a call, which I tried, and I was going to be a 30-minute wait. So, I let my insurance expire and went with another company. It was a hassle.”
“I was shopping for new car insurance and didn’t answer a call because I didn’t recognize the number and they failed to leave a message. I went with another carrier.”
A direct-to-consumer insurance company offers insurance packages – with options ranging from auto, home, life, mortgage, and healthcare – through an online platform. While people were filling out online applications, many of them failed to complete the process. And when agents would reach out, their calls were dodged left and right.
With First Orion’s Branded Text Call Display, INFORM®, the company saw a(n):
- 36% lift in long call durations
- 18% increase in conversion rates
- 9% rise in engagement rates
From approvals, updates to payment methods, and renewing policies, customers depend on clear communication. You can deliver the coverage clients need in every call with a branded communication solution from First Orion. Discover more than just a premium connection at FIRSTORION.com/insurance