Customer Search Behavior in Insurance

Insurance search behavior

In the last few years, we’ve seen customer experience rise from the depths of creative departments to be a top, board-level priority. For most insurance companies, customer experience is their number one priority. Despite this focus, only 15% of customers are satisfied with their provider’s digital experience.

Insurance customer expectations are also rising, and they’re beginning to demand more online services (e.g. 65% of auto consumers state they now look for quotes online). Given these changes, the insurance industry will soon shift to digital — forcing it to be faster, more automated, and more intelligent than ever. This is bittersweet for traditional insurance carriers because it exposes them to new digital competitors that are just a click away.

Customer experience has quickly become the battleground separating the insurance leaders from the laggards, and there are several other macro trends that are affecting the insurance market:

  • New entrants in the market. Disruptors are quickly entering every sector of the financial services arena. Insurtech firms, like Lemonade and Oscar, are digitally advanced and adapt quickly.

  • Changing customer expectations. Factors like the consumerization of insurance, changing demographics, and adoption of mobile and voice technologies have changed the way consumers conduct research and make a purchase.

  • Rise of micro-experiences. Customers no longer need to go to your website to find out the public facts about your brand. They can get that information directly from intelligent online services — like search engines, voice assistants, chatbots, and hundreds of other third-party endpoints — where they can compare and contrast your products and services services, find your locations, and take action.

Today, insurance brands are evaluated based on the summation of a customer’s experiences. These experiences can happen in hundreds of places, beyond an organization’s website or mobile app. Is it easy to find or interact with your brand? Can information about your brand be discovered in the moments when people are actually looking for you — like when they’re having breakfast, driving to work, at the office, or walking their dog?

The customer journey is becoming increasingly non-linear. Nowadays, prospects check an average of over 11.7 online resources before making a purchase decision. Additionally, customers are reading deep attributes about agents and locations before they even speak to a live agent or call center.

To help insurance organizations make important decisions related to customer experience, we recently conducted a survey around the insurance customer journey. The results show that search is very important to prospective insurance clients, and that there is a major opportunity for agents and companies to leverage search and intelligent services to meet them during key moments of intent throughout their digital journey.

The Insurance Customer Journey

  • Search is more influential to the consumer buying process than the corporate website. In our research, we found that nearly 50% of survey respondents reported using search tools like Google and Bing as their first resource for insurance information — over a company’s website.
  • Consumers make decisions on what they want to buy and who they want to buy it from before speaking with an agent. 66% of insurance prospects stated the deep attributes (languages spoken, types of insurance offered, biographies, etc.) about the agent were a primary factor for selection. Of these factors, location and reviews were the two most important.

  • It’s time to start thinking about voice search. More than 45% of individuals surveyed use voice search at least once a day, and of these individuals, 11% said they prefer to use voice over mobile to conduct their insurance research. On top of this, 32% of respondents would book an appointment with an insurance agent via voice if they could.

What do these results mean for your insurance agents and brands?

  • Consider where you’re spending marketing dollars. Rather than spending them on traditional media, you should shift marketing dollars to focus on showing up in search, content marketing, and hyper-local digital channels.

  • The customer journey starts with micro-experiences (search, voice assistants, chatbots, social, and maps) and prospective customers are making buying decisions online, so it is critical to ensure your information is accurate to improve high quality leads.

  • Voice (ex. Siri and Google Assistant) is emerging as one of the fastest growing search channels. Managing structured answers is vital to engaging clients early in the customer journey as they perform online research and at the moment of intent when they are ready to buy.
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