July 28, 2021 | Ujjval Patel, Director of Solutions and Consulting, Hi Marley

Do Policyholders Want to Text with Their Insurance Providers?

Hi Marley has witnessed the power of texting in insurance – the way it improves employee and policyholder communication and how it saves carriers time and money. But our obsession over the policyholder experience had us wanting to know more and to further validate our experience, so we conducted a survey of 1,000 policyholders to better understand their feelings around texting.

The respondents’ demographics.
Survey respondents were distributed across age, income, education and ethnicity groups, approximately in line with US and Canadian census data. Individuals were over the age of 18 and the respondents skewed slightly toward females.

Do policyholders want to text?
The survey began by asking policyholders if they had texted with a business in the past and if they would text with their insurance company. A significant majority responded ‘yes’ to both questions, with 81.9% of survey participants responding ‘yes’ to texting with a business in the past and 80.3% responding that they would text with their insurance carrier.

Does age influence willingness to text?
We often get asked if age is a determining factor in the propensity to text. When we cut the data by age, we saw that 74.3% those 45 or older replied ‘yes’ to wanting to text with their insurer vs. 81.6% in the under 35 age group. There is a slight drop in willingness to text as age increases above 45, but a solid majority would prefer to text regardless of age. Interestingly, the 35 to 44 age group had the highest willingness to text with a carrier at 84.3% responding ‘yes’. The next highest was the 25 to 34 age group at 82.6%. Our hypothesis, and one we will continue to explore, is that these two age groups are likely the busiest with work and family obligations and would prefer to text because of the ability to multitask and go “at their own pace.” This 25 to 44 population is highly attractive for cross-selling and retention.

Will policyholders save an insurance text number to their contacts?
When asked if they would save an insurance text number to their contacts, 83.6% responded ‘yes’. The act of saving a contact to the address book is significant. It signals a desire to have a continuing relationship with the carrier.

Do policyholders prefer texting over email and phone calls?
To explore further, policyholders were asked to rank their preferences for receiving texts, emails and phone calls. 70.5% said they prefer receiving texts over emails and phone calls for insurers they have a relationship with. If there is no relationship, they prefer email over texts and phone calls. Phone calls were ranked last in both scenarios. Unnecessary phone calls and phone tag can add cost and frustration for both policyholders and carriers. Carriers that can align conversation types to the right channel will reduce friction points and improve policyholder experiences.

During which activities do policyholders prefer texting?
When policyholders ranked whether they would text during various activities from the initial quote through claims and renewal, the key takeaway was that carriers should use texting for claims, service and post-quote interactions. Carriers should be cautious with texting for pure prospecting as it might alienate the policyholder.

Why do policyholders prefer texting?
When asked which texting attributes they liked best, most responded that speed of response, 24/7 availability and ease of response were most important. Additionally, 61.3% of policyholders indicated that they would readily participate in group texts with other parties including agents/brokers, auto/home repair, towing companies and auto rental companies.

Would policyholders make buying decisions based on a text offering?
The last question asked whether they would prefer to get an insurance policy from a company that offers texting over an insurance company that does not offer texting, given everything else is the same. 71% of respondents said ‘yes’. Texting is essential to providing superior policyholder experiences, and carriers that make it a part of their omni-channel transformation will inevitable grow faster than their competitors.

To learn more about this study and the best practices around how insurance carriers can integrate texting into core processes to delight policyholders, contact us at [email protected].

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