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New PIA Research Shows Insurance Customers Want What Independent Agents Offer

Source: PIA

Posted on 13 Dec 2011

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For the past 18 months, The PIA Partnership has been conducting research with insurance customers of all types from across the country, to find outmore about what they are looking for and what they expect from personal lines insurance providers.

The results are in, and they are great news for PIA members – customers want what agents have to offer.

The research for “Touch Points – The Voice of the Customer” clearly shows that professional insurance agents have what insurance customers are looking for: expert advice and counseling, personalized attention and interaction, the ability to offer comprehensive protection to meet individual needs and excellent “relationship based” customer service.

The project began as research into customer attitudes and preferences aimed at identifying the specific advantages PIA members have in competing on the basis of “more than just the lowest price.”

Key findings show that:

1.    After good value, customers want to be able to trust someone who will take care of them when it comes to their insurance. “Value in the rates they find me,” “That they are taking care of my insurance needs” and “Trust in the person or company” are ranked 28% higher than other factors surveyed.

2.    The fact that agents are able to offer them a choice of companies (and coverages) is not the most important thing. What’s important is what agents are able to do for them. From the customer’s point of view, what’s important to them is agents deliver value.

3.    If the price of two policies is nearly the same, they would most likely choose one over the other based on better coverage or a lower deductible. The survey results show that customers care about coverage and rank “better coverage” as the top reason to choose between two policies which cost about the same.

4.    69% of customers want to be contacted when their insurance agent or company has a suggestion for them to add coverage they may be missing or increase coverage when they may be underinsured.

5.    79% of customers want to be contacted by their insurance agent or company when their policy renewal date is approaching.

6.    81% of customers want to be contacted when their insurance agent or company has a suggestion for how they could save money on their insurance.

7.    67% of customers would like to receive contact from their insurance company, agent or agency every 6 months or less to inquire if there are any changes in their life or circumstances which could create the need for change or adjustment in their insurance.

8.    63% of customers would like to receive contact from their insurance company, agent or agency every 6 months or less to conduct a general review of their insurance coverages and costs to find out if they are paying too much or lacking coverage they may need.

9.    73% of customers want to hear from their current insurance provider more often than just at renewal.

10.    85% of customers say it is either important or very important that they are contacted by their preferred method.

A brief six question quiz on the new website: takes agents through highlights of the survey. The new PIA Partnership website also helps agents identify their own areas of opportunity based on the survey results and offers tools to help improve customer retention and attract and secure new customers.

Methodology: Two online surveys collecting 1,819 surveys were conducted utilizing the “General Marketing Survey Panel” provided by SSI (Survey Sampling International, LLC). The demographic distribution of survey respondents tracks well with the general demographics of the U.S. population.

The size of the sample and its geographic and demographic distribution yield a maximum margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points, the same level of accuracy typically cited by Gallup for its surveys. In addition, it is representative of the total national universe of personal auto policyholders set at 187 million+.

The PIA Partnership, originally established as the Company Council of Executive Officers (CCEO) in 1996, is a group of insurance companies that work collaboratively with PIA National to conduct research and develop tools and resources designed to benefit professional independent insurance agents.
Current PIA Partnership companies include: Encompass; Erie Insurance; Harleysville Insurance; Liberty Mutual Agency Corporation; MetLife Auto & Home; Motorists Insurance Group; Progressive Casualty Insurance Company; Selective Insurance Group; State Auto Group; The Central Insurance Companies; The Hartford; and Travelers.

Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America SM. PIA’s web address is