According to the Employers Small Business Opinion Poll, younger insurance customers are increasingly expecting to obtain insurance coverage through online channels and to interact with insurance professionals via the same means.
Members of the so-called “Generation Y,” who are 18 to 25 years of age, represent an unusually entrepreneurial demographic, with approximately 46 percent expecting to start their own business within 5 years. Having been essentially raised online, they assume the tools will be present to manage services and resources for themselves and their future employees online.
Seventy percent of this same population voiced the expectation that their insurance provider will be tech savvy, with 86 percent wanting access to online insurance quotes. Eighty-three percent want online customer service; 81 percent online policy management; and 79 percent prefer online payment options.
Generation X, consumers that fall in the 26 to 45 age range, are more mixed in their attitude toward online resources, with utilization dwindling at the higher end of the age bracket. Many Baby Boomers, ages 46 to 65, have only limited experience with the Internet and largely prefer more traditional means of interaction including face-to-face meetings.
Many major insurers have lagged behind with their Internet-based tools, using websites primarily as a means to gather customer contact information to generate a telephone conversation. Driven by the needs of this emerging young business class, however, companies will be compelled over the next five years to offer more full-featured web-based interfaces. This should have benefits in terms of efficiency and ease of access and could effect prices if fewer personnel are needed to handle customers and claims.
The Small Business Opinion Poll sampled the input of 1,258 consumers through telephone interviews conducted in June 2010.