In May, the CII conducted a survey that asked 1,000 consumers and 1,000 small businesses from across the UK to rate their insurers across nine key themes in order of importance.
Consumers and small businesses were asked to rate what is vital for insurers to deliver on a scale from one to seven (with seven being ‘this was an essential thing to deliver’ and one being ‘it wasn’t essential’), and whether their insurer was delivering in these areas on a scale from one to seven (with seven indicating that they strongly agreed insurers were delivering and one indicating that they strongly disagreed). The figures were then contrasted to find the gap between expectation and delivery, and the wider the gap between the expectation and delivery, the less trusted insurers are to deliver the service required by individuals and businesses; the narrower the gap, the closer insurers are to winning consumer trust.
The survey found that, across all categories, the gap has closed between 2018 and 2019. The results for the ‘speed of claims processing’ reduced from 7.12 to 5.43 between 2018 and 2019; the result for the ‘respect for the customer’ gap decreased from 6.39 to 4.84; and for ‘control over the process’, the gap decreased from 6.06 to 3.43.
If you’re not entirely sure what any of those numbers really mean, essentially, the decreasing number indicates a decreasing gap between expectation and delivery; consumers’ experiences of making a claim are significantly more in line with their expectations than they were a year ago.
But there’s still work to be done: regarding the ways in which insurers reward customer loyalty, the gap has increased from 7.64 in 2018 to 9.1 this year.
Dr Matthew Connell, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, noted that, last year, CII highlighted the impact that renewal pricing was having on consumer trust. “Since then,” he said, “the insurance sector has implemented the ABI / BIBA Guiding Principles and Action Points for General Insurance Pricing, and there has been an encouraging amount of high-profile marketing activity promising existing customers that they will be treated fairly.”
However, customers have yet to alter their perceptions around the issue of rewarding, and as Dr Connell pointed out: “Once trust falls, it takes a long time to rebuild it.”
Ultimately, the results of the findings are positive, and good things take time – it seems likely that customer satisfaction over how insurers treat loyalty will improve, and with a little extra promotion from the insurance industry, it should be achievable in the near future. Once customer trust has been regained, insurers should be very mindful to maintain a positive customer journey – after all, trust takes a long time to build and a mere second to break.