What do consumers really think?

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Recent research into consumer attitudes still shows an amount of self-deception, finds Kirsteen Grant.

The Syndicate initiative has evolved since its launch in 2011 and now incorporates a Spring research wave ‘Protection Matters’ among 3,000 adults to discover more about the mind of the consumer.

The insights from the Syndicate, a research partnership between Hannover Re UK Life Branch and the Protection Review, with members including Ageas, Beagle Street, PruProtect and Zurich, help the industry understand how it can better support the customer journey, investigating what motivates consumers to buy protection, their perceptions, lifestyle choices, preferred language and the changing environment in which they wish to interact.

Earlier research provided indicators of the need to communicate the benefits of protection more effectively, help make products easier to understand and purchase, and get to know consumers’ purchasing preferences.

For the current research, this has been extended to monitor consumer attitudes to protection. In particular, concerns relating to their day-to-day lives and how they wish to engage, so that the industry can investigate how protection could support their lifestyles.

The results reflect ways that the industry could establish solutions to integrate and embed new thinking into protection marketing so that they can produce and deliver solutions that will dovetail into consumers’ everyday lives.

Protection Illusion

Many believe life is a gamble, never being certain of the consequences of choices made. When people buy a house, it is often the largest financial outlay they will make. However, they will not know what value they will receive from it if they sold it at a later date. The emotional driver is buying a home.

Most people see their savings as a way to provide financial security; it is money put aside for future use. Savings are highly regarded as they play a dual role of funding the fun and providing security, which could be the reason why protection insurance is so often overlooked.  

With conventional wisdom suggesting people cut back in times of recession, the research looked at how savings, which traditionally defy this trend, were adversely affected. When asked to estimate their personal savings, the average held across all ages was £5,500, one-quarter held less than £2,000, while 16% held none.

More than half believe they have made adequate provision to protect themselves. However, how do you plan for life’s uncertainties? Consumers’ willingness to rely on savings in the event of hardship and the actual savings pot they hold will not always provide security for any significant length of time. 54% stated they would rely on savings in the event of being off work for a long period of time through illness or accident.

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