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Pensions industry slow to respond to online demands

A report has shown that the UK life insurance and pensions industry is not doing enough with its online marketing strategies.

The study, by the  professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), showed that the industry risks not only losing out on new sales, but could also jeopardise its existing client base.

Discussing the findings, PwC’s Graham Jackson warned:

“If today’s incumbents don’t get it right then their consumers won’t hang around. Whether it’s price and product information, experience or brand, an insurer’s offering also needs to translate into the digital world.”

Asking 1,500 insurance customers for their opinions on the industry and how it is accessed, 30% said that they would use online portals if available. With online tools becoming more readily available to help people make better use of their time, many also said they would buy their covers from other providers, such as banks and healthcare providers.

The results of the research should not be surprising, according to industry advisor Bruno Geiringer of law firm Pinsent Masons. He explained:

“For these companies, they have historically collected policyholder data by using paper-based application forms and the policy admin systems have generally not kept up with technological developments.”

The report also showed that the number of customers expecting to use online services to engage with a brand now exceeds those that do not. In little over three years, this number will dwarf so called ‘traditional consumers’.

Clients will not just expect online tools to manage their accounts either. Socially savvy, they will expect instant online engagement and query resolution, with immediate access to all their account data.

Raising brand awareness and creating relevant online content will also to help target the untapped young adult and lower income markets. Results also found that most respondents under the age of 34 will first of all head to social media streams to learn about their options for insurance and pension products.

Steven Morris

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