UK consumers would switch to buying their life insurance on the internet if providers were able to offer professional online advice, a survey conducted for PwC has found.
Some 30% said online advice from a professional provider would be an important persuasive factor in moving their business online.
Graham Jackson, digital insurance partner at PwC, said: "Digital life insurance transactions have started. However, advice is what matters and it's clear that consumers want the comfort and flexibility of being able to communicate with their life insurance providers as well as viewing and comparing offers on and offline."
Consumers that have already purchased life insurance online highlighted cost effectiveness (66%), ease of access (62%) and ability to compare online (61%) as the top three reasons for doing so.
The poll also highlighted increased competition for traditional life insurers, with consumers open to purchasing policies from alternative providers such banks (34%), internet brands such as Amazon and Google (17%), healthcare providers (12%), retail brands (10%).
Additionally, 35% say they would consider downloading and use an App from their insurance provider.
The research also found that men are more likely to shop around for their life insurance, with 62% saying they have had three or more providers in the last 10 years compared with only 47% of women.
The report also indicated in comparison to other sectors - including non-life insurance - life and pensions businesses have been slowest to capitalise on the commercial potential of the digital age.
Jackson said "Insurers need to be aware that consumers are also happy to engage with participants outside the insurance industry, and 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."
He also added: "Traditional approaches are potentially too slow. The industry needs quicker and more economical ways to meet changing market demands. This will include ‘greenfield' operations, where start-ups run alongside existing capabilities. Businesses remaining on top will constantly be on the move, with the insight to identify new opportunities and agility to mobilise quickly to capitalise on them.
"Young people do not currently see life insurance or pensions as relevant to them or affordable. Likewise for lower income customers. The digital age allows insurers to learn more about and engage with these untapped groups, thus expanding their ‘addressable' market."
The consumer poll was published as PwC released its latest insurance report - Forcing the pace: The fast way to becoming a digital front-runner.
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