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Report into the state of customer communications for UK insurance brokers in 2019

According to experts around the world. 2019 is the year of “being human”. We moving back to a time where the emphasis is on providing each and every customer with not only memorable experiences, but also personalised ones, within a much shorter time-frame than ever before.

In this report we are going to explore how this trend is affecting an area of the financial services market; insurance brokers. The following report and included data was created from the analysis of over 70 UK insurance broker websites, where policies were able to be purchased from.

Some of the headline statistics to come out from this report include:

  • 19% are using live web chat as part of their customer comms mix
  • 29% displayed independent online reviews either on the home page or a product page
  • 77% of companies sell policies where you must contact the company directly, and of those companies, only 25% displayed names of and pictures of agents
  • Only 17% offered 3 or more ways the customers could contact them for insurance policies

The data extracted for this report, from the insurance broker websites looks at the following areas; website security, customer communication channels, online reviews and personalisation. Together, these can have a powerful impact on the customer experience, and help a broker to stand out from their competitors.

Customer Communication Channels

The way in which customers want to communicate with businesses is changing, and businesses must adapt to meet these demands. Businesses must not only offer traditional communication methods, but also embrace the new and the technology driven.

Our research found that in 2019, phone calls and emails are by far the most popular communication mediums presented by companies:

98% of UK insurer websites display direct call numbers for customers to make sales and service enquiries. In addition, 98% of UK insurance brokers displayed either an email address or an email form option on their website.

This statistic shows that these more traditional methods of communication are still highly regarded by companies, as they should be. This also shows that even with the introduction of new communication technologies, companies have not been adopting them at the expense of other already used mediums.

What was potentially surprising though was the fact the only 30% on websites offered a direct call back service. This is a service where website visitors input their details, and the company gives them a call back when possible, instead of the customer waiting in a queueing system waiting for an agent to answer.

The reason that this is a surprise is because it not only gives customers choice, it also has numerous call centre benefits.

The first of which is that the customers would not enter into the queueing system, therefore, this would be an effective way for companies to reduce their call waiting times. In addition, it would allow contact centres the demand on their agents. By offering a call back service, call centres can reduce demand a peak times, and increase call volume at low times. The third major benefit this would offer insurance brokers is the ability to collect data about the customers prior to the call and to help reduce the customer drop-off rate.

Alongside the maintenance of more traditional communication channels, our analysis revealed that 19% of UK insurance brokers use live web chat as part of their customer communication mix, and 3% are using chatbots.

These newer technologies are slowly becoming more prominent in the industry. What is quite clear is the favouring of live web chat over chatbots as the key emerging communication technology. There could be a number of reasons for this trend

Firstly, customers who are looking for insurance want a very personalised approach to obtaining quotes. In addition, because of the sensitive nature and the risk of getting the wrong coverage. This is something that many businesses with high value, or highly personalised products, their customers want a more personalised service not a less.

Secondly, insurance quotes can be complex. There are lots of details, and intricacies. This level of detail isn’t usually able to be fulfilled by a chatbot. That’s not to say that in time, it could be possible though.

Possibly the most intriguing statistic to come from this section is that only 17% of UK insurance brokers offered more than 3 ways for a customer to contact them regarding obtaining a quote (note that this excludes letters).

This means that customers only have a limited set of channels in which to communicate with the companies. This could be down to either the need for companies to keep clear controls on the channels they offer due to FCA regulations, lack of contact centre agents, or even knowledge of emerging technologies in the industry.

These are all legitimate concerns, however there are software options like Talkative’s which allow you to offer your customers a number of different communication channels without stretching resources, and remaining compliant with FCA regulations

The final two statistics of note in this section are quite stark, yet require more time to examine what they mean. These are; not a single website offered 4 different channels of communication. Also, no websites offered social messaging (eg.Facebook Messenger & Whatsapp) embedded to encourage messages and conversations.

Online Reviews

Online reviews have been heralded as an integral element in the lead conversion process. There are an abundance of statistics and evidence that prove the value that your potential customers put on reviews, and the benefits they can bring.

It’s curious then how our research showed that only 29% of UK insurers brokers are displaying independent online reviews (from the likes of Feefo, Trustpilot or Reviews.co.uk) on either their home page or product pages.

From a customers perspective, the inclusion of online reviews is a massive trust signal. This is especially true if the customer is new the broker.

One of the big issues facing insurance brokers is that there are a limited number of differentiating factors. Therefore, brokers need to embrace anything that helps them to stand out, including service quality, user experience and ease or purchase.

Personalisation

Personalisation through websites is a difficult task. One that all businesses struggle with. None more so than insurance brokers. The reason is that only 41% of UK insurance brokers allow their customers to get direct quotes online, without the need to speak to an agent.

In addition, 77% of UK insurance brokers sell policies where you must contact an agent in order to obtain a quote.

This means that a large percentage of customers will have to speak to a person in the business in order to buy a policy. This requires a personal service. Despite the need for personalisation, only 25% of the 77% of brokers which require some policies to be bought online, displayed names and pictures of agents.

On the surface this may not seem that important, however, in terms of making positive impressions and creating the closest possible connection between your customers and your business then it makes sense. It’s also fairly easy for businesses to implement.

When operating in a digital age, with a highly personalised product/offering then you should really consider making your website more personal.

Something that we saw no UK insurance brokers using was web calling or video calling. Either method would help customers to feel closer to the business, which in turn will help to increase loyalty as well as efficiency, whilst staying compliant with industry regulations.

A win-win approach?

Security

Overall the vast majority of UK insurance broker websites were secure. 87% of broker websites were HTTPS. This means that the data between their websites and the browser is secure.

For customers, it is extremely important that they are safe in the knowledge that their data is secure. This provides trust. Trust is a key cornerstone in the decision making process for people looking to buy insurance, because if their insurance fails, it could have severe repercussions going forward.

What next?

This report is going to be the first annual report of it’s kind brought to you by Talkative on the UK insurance broker industry. In these reports we are going to explore the changes and developments that occur over time. In particular how those changes will affect the way in which customers and insurance brokers interact and degree to which technology plays a role in the facilitation of communication.

We welcome your thoughts and ideas. Did this report highlight what you wanted it to? Did you want the report to go into more detail, or provide more data? Is it perfect the way it is? Please let us know!

The webites included in this report include:

https://www.thecleargroup.com/
https://www.sagarinsurances.co.uk/
https://www.acorninsure.co.uk/
https://www.kingsbridge.co.uk/
https://www.bollington.com/
https://www.alanboswell.com/
https://www.erskine-murray.co.uk/
https://www.abbeyinsurance.co.uk/
https://www.circlegroup.co.uk/
https://www.adrianflux.co.uk/
https://www.jelf.com/
https://www.astonlark.com/
https://www.clarkthomson.co.uk/
https://www.berkeleyinsurancegroup.co.uk/
https://kgjgroup.co.uk/
https://insurance.aon.co.uk/
https://www.hertsinsurance.com/
https://www.towergateinsurance.co.uk/
https://www.tempcover.com/
https://www.brightsideinsurance.co.uk/
https://www.bewiser.co.uk/
https://www.brucestevenson.co.uk/
https://www.constructaquote.com/
https://goskippy.com/
http://www.saffroninsurance.co.uk/
https://www.carrotinsurance.com/
https://www.completecovergroup.com/
https://www.endsleigh.co.uk/
https://www.thomascarroll.co.uk/
https://www.ajg.com
https://www.lycetts.co.uk/
https://www.bhibinsurance.co.uk/
https://www.suttonwinson.com/
https://www.onebroker.co.uk/
http://priceforbes.com/
https://www.bishopsgateinsurance.co.uk/
https://www.aplan.co.uk/
https://www.hiscox.co.uk/
https://www.swinton.co.uk/
https://www.swinton.co.uk/
https://www.loricainsurance.com/
https://www.seib.co.uk/
https://www.hibl.co.uk/
https://integrogroup.com/
https://www.pib-insurance.com/
https://stackhouse.co.uk/
https://www.bridgeinsurance.co.uk/
https://www.icbgroupuk.com/
https://www.jameshallam.co.uk/
https://www.romeroinsurance.co.uk/
https://www.tysers.com/
https://msis.milessmith.co.uk/
https://www.brunelpi.co.uk/
https://www.cobrainsurance.co.uk/
https://www.finchgroup.net/
https://www.lockton.com
https://www.tradedirectinsurance.co.uk/
https://www.hastingsdirect.com/
https://www.autonetinsurance.co.uk/
https://www.countyins.com
https://www.simplybusiness.com/
http://www.reichinsurance.co.uk/
http://www.alan-thomas.co.uk/
http://www.tldallas.com/
http://www.wdenis.co.uk/
http://www.wrightsure.com/
http://www.cc-insure.com/
https://www.drpinsurance.com/
http://butterworthspengler.co.uk/
http://www.graniteunderwriting.co.uk/

Ben M Roberts

Ben M Roberts

Ben M Roberts is the Head of Marketing at Talkative. He is a digital marketing strategist, podcaster (The Marketing Buzzword Podcast), and regular conference speaker. He is also writing a book!

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