A Canadian insurer outperformed most peers…
Caliber, a stakeholder tracking provider, released its 2023 Financial Services Reputation Report, which saw MetLife rank top among insurers for customer trust and satisfaction, with Sun Life coming in second.
The survey collates and analyzes responses from the general public about their views and opinions on financial institutions. Its methodology is based on understanding people’s perception in terms of reputation, and in terms of brand and support.
“When reviewing how far up MetLife placed in the rankings, it got us to thinking about why consumers are more receptive towards this company,” said Søren Holm, Caliber’s senior advisor.
“They are really showcasing the more human elements of their business, and we think that is a great way to appeal to customers, especially during these hard economic times.”
In an interview with Insurance Business, Holm spoke about what types of qualities consumers look for in insurers, why companies may have a bad reputation and the balancing act of being technologically savvy while also upholding great customer service.
Resonating with a broad audience
When reviewing the rankings of financial services institutions and seeing MetLife and Sun Life among the top insurers, Holm pointed to both companies’ strong public image and reputation.
“When you click on the home pages of either MetLife or Sun Life, a consumer is immediately greeted by a website that places precedence on real people and their life situations,” he said.
When visiting MetLife’s digital domain, visitors are able to access an expansive list of options to gain best practices for acquiring and using insurance, as well as information about different lines of coverage that explains it in a user-friendly way.
Similarly, Sun Life has an entire section dedicated to managing finances better and appealing to common concerns of insureds, such as budget calculation and reducing food waste.
“It is important that these companies steer clear from a strictly business presence and appealing to investors with financial results,” Holm said.
This creates an image that has a broader appeal and sidesteps the assumptions that financial services institutions, especially insurance companies, are stuffy and focused on premiums and growth.
“Putting themselves in the shoes of the customers and showing some human side of the company seems to be a successful business move,” Holm said.
“A necessary evil”
Within the report, Holm and his colleagues at Caliber witnessed a general trend that showcased waning support for insurance overall.
When ruminating on why this may be the case, Holm said that “Historically, a majority of insurance companies are not really that good at explaining their value explaining their relevance for people.”
While insurance is relevant both professionally and personally, there can be a disconnect between how consumers view its usefulness.
“It’s seen more as a necessary evil than something that is largely value-driven,” Holm said.
Additionally, there is a fine line that many financial institutions, especially insurers, between being successful and being seen as exploitative.
“Consumers may recognize that these businesses are doing good but then are turning an enormous profit for shareholders,” Holm said.
This is why respondents to the survey placed the ethical and transparent selling and marketing of its services first among the ways in which financial service institutions are showcasing societal responsibility.
“People don’t want to feel like they’re being exploited, and the more successful companies are doing a better job at avoiding this reputation,” Holm said.
Adapting to conflicting consumer expectations
27% of respondents want their insurers to prioritize easy, digital access to their own account or payment solution (e.g. access through a smartphone), while 25% expect good customer service and communication from a provider.
“This is one of the most interesting conundrums that insurers are facing,” Holm said. “Being able to successfully create a more autonomous user experience for insureds but also upholding the human element of interaction when needed.”
There is an expectation now that acquiring insurance and filing a claim should be a more simplified process that makes use of technological advancements, such as AI-generated chatbots.
However, since insurance language can get complicated, consumers are also expecting more meaningful communication from carriers to understand the fine print on any policy, especially in the wake of a loss.
“What it boils down to is two sides of the same coin,” Holm said.
“A simplified digital experience that users can easily access from their smartphones, but then also have a human available to explain more complex details and help them through a claims process.”
Surveys such as Caliber’s shed light on the needs and expectations of modern-day businesses and how to effectively operate within a more scrutinous court of public opinion.
Keep up with the latest news and events
Join our mailing list, it’s free!