Google Trends analysis shows lower online interest levels in life insurance than at start of pandemic
When the coronavirus outbreak took hold of the UK towards the end of March, life insurance as an online search term was hitting around 90% of its interest over time popularity, however at the beginning of May it was below 75%, Google Trends data has suggested.
iPipeline, who conducted the research, said that while searches are currently higher than at pre-COVID levels, which stood closer to 60% towards the end of 2019, the decline could be attributed to fewer adviser interactions.
Searches for critical illness cover (CIC), meanwhile, have declined to levels lower than those seen prior to the pandemic. During the middle of April they were almost as low as 30%, compared to above 80% just before coronavirus. iPipeline believes this is because CIC is not well known or as understood by the public and advisers are perhaps not talking to clients about it as much as usual. It added that CIC may not be as well-promoted via direct-to-consumer channels or non-advised call centres.
Following an initial spike in income protection (IP) searches (to 100%) at the start of COVID-19, the levels flat-lined around 10-15% during April and into May. iPipeline said a lack of direct sales and marketing for IP could be a major contributing factor.
The Google Trends analysis also found unemployment cover to be growing as a related search alongside increasing interest in direct channels, with Compare The Market topping the chart for related enquires above 'LV= income protection' and Legal & General. Alarmingly, the search term ‘does life insurance cover suicide' was also on the rise, according to the research.
Brokers and IFAs
Paul Yates, product strategy director at iPipeline, said: "Searches for protection have fallen from the sharp peaks we saw at the outset of COVID-19 in the UK - in some cases to below previous years. This is initially surprising given the mortality risks and increased concerns the public has. However, I believe that the reduced number of meetings and subsequent protection conversations (often linked to home purchases) being undertaken by brokers and IFAs is the primary reason for this drop in searches.
"Our industry should be driving more conversations, especially with existing clients, at a time when people need to understand how to protect themselves. I am particularly worried that related searches show a significant growth in the question ‘does life insurance cover suicide death'. It's crucial that we make clients aware of the additional support services offered by providers, particularly those that help improve mental and physical health."
14% increase by 2022
In light of COVID-19
‘Large gaps’ in coverage