This is what the modern insurance consumer wants… according to science!
Would it be useful for your agency if you better understood the modern insurance consumer? Of course! In this podcast, Michael Jans interviews the man with the answer.
Tom Super leads the Property & Casualty Insurance Intelligence Group at J.D. Power and is responsible for leading the continued expansion of the insurance practice. In this jam-packed interview, Tom shares the results of J.D. Power’s 13 Annual U.S. Insurance Shopping Study.
- Is the modern consumer unhappy? The number of existing customers shopping for new policies has increased by 4%… and the number of consumers moving policies to a new source has increased by the same amount!
- Independent agencies and direct carriers continue to show improvements in customer satisfaction, while exclusive agencies are falling behind. Tom and Michael discuss what separates the top-performing insurers from the rest.
- The survey breaks insurance consumers down to three segments – and Tom reveals who is best suited for independent agents seeking maximum lifetime value from their customers.
If you have time to listen to this one conversation, you’ll get a clear picture of who the modern insurance consumer is, and what you can do to make them your raving fans!
What are other agents & brokers doing to thrive? What are the biggest trends affecting the retail insurance agent & broker? What are the most important strategies and tactics you need to grow faster? Find out here in the Connected Insurance Podcast, where our hosts discuss the biggest issues affecting the independent insurance agent and broker with the industry’s leading figures.
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Michael: Tom Super. Thank you so much for joining us today. How are you?
Tom Super: I’m doing well, Michael, how are you doing?
Michael: Well, I’m doing great. Thank you. A very brief story. I was reading the insurance journal, I saw your article, I shared it with some of my clients. I got feedback and I thought and questions and I thought, “Well, let’s just call Tom.” One thing led to another. Yes, we have had some robust discussions about your research and analysis, which I think is really insightful.
Tom: That’s great. We’re focusing on the right stuff.
Michael: Focusing on stuff that matters a lot to my clients. Therefore, it’s really important. Let’s start. First thumbnail sketch about Tom. How did you get to be who you are, where you are right now?
Tom: Yes, so I am the vice president of our insurance practice at JD Power. For those unfamiliar, JD Power works with every single top 20 carrier in the US. It’s been around forever. Really the last 20 years. It’s really when JD Power made their Mark within the insurance space. They’re most known for producing a series of studies every year looking at–
Michael: Is it right to say it, I don’t know if this is the tagline or its part of the brand, but JD Power positions itself as the voice of the consumer?
Tom: That’s right.
Michael: Right. While it does research and analysis, it does have a particular angle to that. What are customers saying today?
Tom: That’s right. JD Power really hangs its hat on independence. We are the voice of the customer. What’s interesting is the foundation of the company started with JD Power, with a gentleman based out of California that was sitting in his kitchen and sent out surveys to customers about their auto experience and that really sparked– That was in the, I think about 50 years ago or so. We have evolved to where we’re at today. Now within the insurance practice, we touch over 1.8 million insurance consumers every year, mainly through surveying, to get their experience–
Michael: That’s a remarkable amount of data you’re collecting.
Tom: It is, it is. Yes, 1.8 million and then you think about all the different questions. It’s really robust.
Michael: Okay. What I like about this conversation is you’ve got data, clearly, you’re going to have some opinions and conclusions, but they’re based on really sound data. We’re not just making things up because we heard a story or an anecdote somewhere in the marketplace.
Tom: That’s right. It’s also based on what we call longitudinal analysis, which is looking at consumer feedback over a number of years and what those trends are, not just in one snapshot. It’s really rooted in very robust data analytics.
Michael: All right. There were a couple of studies which you have done recently. We’re going to focus on one of them today and one of them in part two when we do that later. Part one, I think you call it the insurance shopping survey?
Tom: Yes, that’s right.
Michael: Okay. Give us kind of big picture. How often does JD Power conduct this survey?
Tom: It’s a 2019 insurance shopping study. We produce it once a year. It comes out in April. It’s really the flagship of our study that we produce. The main purpose of it is to understand consumer behavior when it comes to what influences them to shop, why they are switching amongst the various brands, what causes them to switch, what are they looking for within an insurance company? It’s really meaningful insights. We work with many carriers in terms of reporting out what we’re finding in terms of market behaviors and there’s a high level of interest when this study comes out every year.
Michael: Right. Okay. Yes, let me share, the first thing that caught my attention was the lead in your article in the insurance journal, competition is tightening across the PNC insurance market with just 2% of new consumers entering the personal lines auto insurance market last year and with retention rates, and I’m assuming these carrier retention rates, right?
Tom: That’s right, yes.
Michael: Not agency retention rates hovering around 88%. Most insurers face a zero-sum proposition in which growth of their company requires taking share from competitors. That kind of sets the framework for some of your conclusions in this study. Where do you want to start? There’s so much that you never covered in this study. I’m clearly going to be focusing and definitely want to drill down on what the implications are for the independent insurance agent in that system, but let’s start big picture, what were some of kind of the big conclusions or ahas from this survey?
Tom: Yes, I think what you laid out Michael around just the state of the market. Competition is tightening. You don’t have a lot new net growth in the market so for a carrier or an independent agent, mainly if this is a carrier perspective, for them to grow, it really is they’re taking share from someone else. They’re basically– It’s becoming less expensive to someone else. The message that we see here where the debt is coming out is that it really becomes with this environment where you have minimal growth, being able to attract and retain your best customers, your most attractive customers, what we call these high-value customers has become an increasingly important part of any carrier’s ability to sustain and grow in the market.
The way that you think about the high-value customers is almost like high margin products in any other industry. Those that have very large margins, they tend to– When we talk about high-value customers, we’re not talking about affluent or–
Michael: All right? We don’t want to confuse this with the high-net-worth customer.
Tom: That’s right. That’s not what we’re talking about.
Michael: Okay. Define the high-value customer and then let’s talk about why they’re of particular interest to the independent agent.
Tom: Yes. High-value customer, think about it from risk tiers versus the high net worth. This is really your preferred risk tier customer segment. When we think about them, these are consumers that independent agents have done very well with traditionally and probably won’t come as a surprise. They tend to be people with better credit scores, fewer traffic violations, they don’t drive as much. They don’t have a lot of tickets. They have a lot more products so they bundle it [crosstalk]
Michael: Right. They also own more, right? They own more?
Tom: They do. They do. What we have found relative to an independent agent is that they’ve done a very good job of attracting this consumer to their book and being able to close these consumers as well. That caught the attention of a lot of carriers that we spoke with. In some of the data that we have around this is independent agents when compared against other channels. When we look at high-value customers, 26%, so one in four, is close to an independent agent which is really good. If you compare that against some of the other segments they’re much lower on the low teams. Independent agents are doing very well in being able to not only attract but also close these segments that carriers have become very focused on.
Michael: All right. Let me ask you a question. I want to drill down on that one. This high-value customer. As I recall, I think your study indicated that they represent 22% of the population.
Tom: That’s right, yes.
Michael: Okay. You’re saying that the independent agency channel is closing one out of four?
Tom: That’s right. Yes.
Michael: All right. Number one, it seems to me it should be significantly higher than that so we might circle back on that one. Number two, would you say that that demographic is the demographic which is best suited for the independent agency channel and vice versa? That our channel best serves that demographic?
Tom: Yes. Where they really stand out, based on the research that we find that this type of consumer appreciates choice and flexibility and independent agents do extremely well around that. They also value expertise and advice.
Michael: Okay. That’s critical. Now, I don’t know if the survey rated them, what’s the most important choice or advice and expertise, do you know?
Tom: Yes, we’re seeing a trend around choice. Choice has become a major factor. What’s influencing that is very interesting, is that consumer expectations are being shaped by experiences outside of insurance. If you go and interact with Amazon or you interact at a retail shop or whatever it is, you get choice, you get convenience, you get ease, you get choice, and consumers are bringing those expectations to their insurance relationships and independent agents to do very well in that regard.
Michael: Of course. All right, so again, on that critical question, it seemed that any insurance provider would want this customer demographic but it would seem that our channel is best suited to serve them. Is that a fair statement? Look, I’m not arguing against other channels, I’m simply saying that certain channels are designed, engineered in such a way that they’re best suited for different demographics. Fair enough?
Tom: That’s right. I think that’s a fair statement. If you think about, what makes up these consumers? They have more assets. They tend to skew a little bit older. What they’re looking for, they’re not looking for a transactional relationship. They’re looking for something where there is choice that we talked about, flexibility to be able to fit their needs. They over-index in having things like multiple products, they have toys, they have those motorcycles, those types of things.
These are things that they have built over their lives and they want to make sure that they’re fully protected. They see value in making sure that they are covered for the right thing, versus a lower-end consumer that might be a model one customer that just– They see it more as a commodity, whatever is the lowest price and they take it.
Michael: Okay. Talk to us for a moment about the other two groups, as I recall, you’ve got a low value, medium value, and high value in this particular analysis, right?
Michael: Okay. Talk to us about the other two groups, what they are, what they represent, and also who’s taking care of them? Who are they attracted to?
Tom: Yes, so we did both systems, so basically three tiers and we did this for the reason of allotting it with risk tier segments and as I mentioned, the high-value segment. It’s aligned very closely to what underwriters consider preferred risk. When we look at the other two segments, the low, which is similar than non-standard, it’s not exactly non-standard.
There’s some people that fall out of that, but they have a lot of similar characteristics and traits. They have two close accidents or tickets within the last 24 months, they drive over on average 25,000 miles annually, so they’re driving a lot more. They tend to be a little bit younger, they over-indexing at a lapsing policy, and they have a little bit less paired up for credit scores.
Michael: That represents 27% of the automobile driving population, right?
Tom: That’s right. Yes, 27%. Then the rest of the market falls into the standard pocket kind of mid-level, what we call medium level. That represents 51% of the market. That’s really your bulk of consumers in the market today. It’s good to excellent credit scores. They are your average consumer in terms of miles driven. They do fairly well with not having as many accidents and tickets, but then they have one or two marks on the record. They are really your average underwriting demographic.
Michael: Got it. Are they a good fit with the independent agency channel, but not as profitable as the high-value? Where do they tend to go for their insurance?
Tom: Yes, so that’s a couple of questions in there. There’s one that is alignment with independent agents. There’s a lot of similarities that you have between higher-end standard and then your top-tier preferred standard. Really, what differentiates them is some things around behavioral dimensions, around miles driven every year, and factors such as that that puts them in the medium tier versus what you consider the preferred signature segment. Getting into the carriers, this is where we found a lot of interesting insights. Let’s talk about Progressive and GEICO.
They are always the top two horses in the race that focus on when you think about what’s happening in the insurance market. We find very different, almost polar opposite performance when it comes to high-valued consumer segments and it makes sense. At one end, you have Progressive, which is doing very well. They’ve been investing heavily in terms of a number of different capabilities to better serve this segment and specifically investing into independent agent relationships. A lot of Progressive’s growth, this isn’t recorded a lot, comes through their independent agent channel.
Michael: Do you know? Can you drill down on that, one side versus the other, which one is outstripping the other?
Tom: Yes, I mean, it’s still proactive, the majority of the revenues. The growth that has come over the last 36 months or so, it’s seen, I think it’s year over year, growth within their independent agent on a monthly basis for something like 72 consecutive months or some impressive number. Don’t hold me exactly to that statistic. I know that’s something that they’ve really highlighted as part of being able to not only grow as a business but also move upmarket and which is being able to better align their services against the higher-end consumer market that we’re talking about.
Michael: Well, I think in retrospect, if you look back historically at that brand, they were in almost every independent insurance agency, and they were there as an outlet for substandard or non-standard. Now, we’ve seen clearly some upmarket trends, right?
Tom: That’s right. That’s the category, yes.
Michael: We’ve seen a fairly powerful strategic shift.
Tom: That has been.
Michael: Okay, all right. Fair enough.
Tom: The reason why is that there’s a level of consolidation that they’ve done. Since that they’ve exhausted their growth potential with that down market that model one consumer. In order to continue at the rate that they’ve been growing, they’re expanding their market base and they’re building capabilities to deliver against that market. Their ability to do things like online bundling, they’re the first mover on that. If you think about online bundling, who’s going to want to be able to do that? It’s going to be someone with a lot of stuff. Very similar to what we’re talking about in terms of this segment.
They’ve deployed a new agency platform over the last 24 months. They can do where agents can now see consumers at a portfolio level. Again, those are all capabilities designed towards meeting someone with a lot of assets. They’ve made investments there. GEICO is a different story.
Michael: Okay. Tell us about that story. I’m looking at you’ve got two by two chart, which I’m assuming tells a little bit of the story of which carriers are serving which segments of the market?
Michael: I think this is from the insurance journal article, and you’ve got Progressive over on the right, and you got GEICO over on the left. What is the story that this is telling?
Tom: Well, what we see here, and this is a year over year analysis, so it’s not a entire snapshot of the entire book. It really provides a good insight on trending. When we look at the trends, their ability to replace a higher-end, higher-valued customer, when they grow the book. Who are they essentially growing with? Look at the percentage of growth GEICO and Progressive are similar, but what we find is that GEICO performance is actually growing with the lower end consumer market.
A lot of this comes out of–They’ve also made similar efforts as Progressive in terms of their messaging around insuring motorcycles and our things and run those policies and the like, but they have not invested in the capabilities that Progressive has. For instance, Progressive writes some of their home policies on their own paper now. They have their partnerships with Homesite and other brands. GEICO doesn’t do any of that and obviously GEICO has no independent agent channel.
They’ve tried to market themselves in the market about having agents available, which is over the phone 24/7. They have some operational headwinds that Progressive is better positioned to be able to serve these higher-end markets. We’re seeing the results.
Michael: Got it. This is a survey that is executed year after year probably for some years. Can you talk to us a little bit about trends in consumer or industry behavior?
Tom: Yes, so one of the things that we alluded to earlier, which is a really interesting dynamic around rising consumer expectations. It’s been steady for the last five years and really has accelerated over the last three. What we mean by that is that consumers are having expectations around what a insurance carrier is able to provide for them and those expectations are not being met.
In a large part especially for certain segments of the market. If you’ve got– For the majority of the case right now, if you want to be able, if you’ve got an account and you’ve got a relationship with an independent agent and then you want to be able to go in and unless there’s new your policy online with the carrier that you’ve decided to subscribe with your ability to navigate and move across that is very clunky.
It’s not as smooth if you’ve got more complex things the coverage is like life insurance or umbrella. That’s not a very easy relationship to navigate through. If you ever talked with a carrier, you get the wrong left and right. You don’t need to tell your audience, your agents about this space. They know firsthand. As other industries figure that out, Amazon now delivers things to your door right within like 24 hours.
They continue to improve their customer experience to meet consumer expectations. The insurance industry is still trying to figure out some of the basics blocking and tackling capabilities of interactions with consumers. They’ve made things difficult. That is one of the really interesting trends is that we see consumers feeling frustrated by that.
Michael: I don’t know the consumer’s ever had a love affair with the insurance industry, but you’re discovering that the level of satisfaction, is it going down? Is that something we can measure with a customer satisfaction index? How do we get that?
Tom: Yes, so exactly. We look at a couple of different ways. It just really the first is that what you rightly pointed out, overall DSAT or CSAT numbers have been declining. While their marks around capabilities have actually been increasing. As carriers are making the big investments right in the mobile apps and in different things, consumer expectations continue to slowly to dwindle down and down and down. When we pull that back a little bit further, we’re finding that the core elements that they’re looking for an insurance relationship are not being met.
Those are things like ease of experience, transparency, being able to flexibly do what they want to do, have choice. We talked about earlier. The other interesting dimension about this emerged around expectations is that insurance consumer or the carriers have done a pretty poor job around differentiating consumer experiences when they interact with a brand. What we mean by that is that every commercial– Some people are saying, we have really good agents, we have really good claims process, we have really good products.
You can customize your products any way that you want.
Then customers interact with these brands and they find that they’re really pretty much the face. You’re not creating a high white glove type of service from one. There’s not a lot of differentiation and they’re getting a generic experience. What we found which was really interesting is that their satisfaction scores among your best customers were among the lowest-rated across the board.
Michael: This is something that’s driving me a little crazy here, Tom. Let’s take a look at this one. Here’s something that to me it’s a great irony that I think as I recall from your study, the high-value customers have the highest retention. I’m I right or wrong?
Tom: Yes, they do.
Michael: They do. They have the lowest net promoter score of the three groups?
Tom: They do.
Michael: Now, I can guess as to why is, so let me guess. I don’t know how much the analysis reveals the truth, but I can guess that number one, they’ve got three or whatever four policies with one agency it’s hard to move. It’s a bigger inconvenience, right?
Tom: That’s right.
Michael: Maybe that’s it. I think in general, we know, first of all, they tend not to be price shoppers. They tend to be value shoppers. They’re actually looking for the peace of mind and protection that insurance can deliver. The lower value customer is going to lean more towards price shopping and we know that they tend to be not loyal in general.
Tom: That’s right. [crosstalk]
Michael: This does drive me slightly crazy that the very best demographic is the least satisfied with our industry. Now, you’re saying the three out of four of them are insured by a different channel. Right?
Tom: That’s right.
Michael: Okay. Maybe it’s their fault.
I don’t know. My guess is you didn’t slice and dice down to that level.
Tom: Now, we didn’t get into too much of that. Your analysis is right, which is that they have more assets and that makes them less likely to switch. Everyone knows bundle costumers have higher retention numbers and because of the complexity there. Also, they don’t have– I’ll throw in a couple of other factors. They don’t have a lot of alternatives. If they’re not meeting their needs, there really aren’t a lot of other carriers that are able to meet their expectations today. There’s no carriers that have positioned themselves to really knock it out of the park with this market.
There’s that factor. The other which we talked about kind of the generic experience that they’re getting at and you overlay that against all the rate action that’s been taken right by carriers over the last several years. That’s how that disproportionately impacts those that have multiple policies in that. We are starting to see an uptick in their shopping behavior in what was one an immovable market segment. They were pretty stocked.
They were with a few of the mutual and you can really displace them now because these factors that we just talked about. They’re out there more active in the market and that’s why we kind of raised the flag for carriers to say, and for agents to say, “Hey, you really need to keep an eye on this because the market’s starting to shift here.”
Michael: That’s important. I think you’re saying that we can anticipate that our best demographic is more restless than before?
Tom: That’s right.
Michael: The factors are what? What’s driving that?
Tom: Well, I think that they’ve been hit with rate action at a disproportionate amount over the last several years. They’ve both in terms of frequency and what was put in claims terms frequency and severity that they’ve been loyal customers, so we hear this, very loyal to our brands, to our agents and all we keep on getting is rate increases. In other industries the more loyal you are, the more [crosstalk]
Michael: The more discounts you get.
Tom: That’s right. Airline industry you get status. I understand there’s regulatory safeguards in place that weigh pre-consumer feelings, but at the same time, there are opportunities for carriers and agents to find ways to delight this. [crosstalk]
Michael: Okay. All right. Talk to us about delighting the high-value customer.
Tom: One of the things that we found is that they have much higher satisfaction if they have a policy review done or offered. You can either offer or have a policy review and we find that their satisfaction scores go up.
Michael: No kidding. No kidding. Okay. That’s pretty significant. Do you know how much or how do you measure that?
Tom: Yes, we did it by CSAT score, so we looked at those customers within this segment that were offered a policy review within the last 12 months versus those that did not, and then looked at their CSAT numbers against that. Those that had been offered a policy review had about a 30% higher satisfaction for them than those that did not
Michael: 30% higher?
Michael: In those analyses, that’s a lot, right?
Tom: It’s significant. Pretty significant.
Michael: Okay. Presumably then with a higher score, their loyalty will be higher, their retention will be higher, their proclivity to buy more policies will be higher and their tendency to generate referrals for the agency will be higher?
Tom: That’s right.
Michael: All right [crosstalk]
Tom: [crosstalk] One of the things that come out is that, I think one of the reasons why you said you have such a disparity in performance is that still when we survey customers, 37% of customers overall, this is across the market, have reported that they’ve never interacted with their agent.
Michael: An agent, not an insurer provider. In general agent?
Tom: An agent. One in 10 customers said that they’ve never interacted with their carrier at all beyond making payments. When you think about that disparity, when you think about those that offering the policy review, the better agents. The ones that are seeing engaged. Not the 30% that have never heard from the agents. There’s an opportunity to really step up to the performance and differentiate between those that are not engaged and those that are.
Michael: I want to make sure I get this right. Did you say 37% reported that they never heard from their agent? No. Interaction with their agent?
Tom: That’s right.
Michael: Okay. All right. I’ll get the tissues out when I’m done with the podcast. Clearly that represents a huge opportunity.
Tom: Also, in all fairness, like I said, this is across the entire market, meaning that their definition of having an agent, some of these may not have a “Physical agent” so this included GEICO customers, this included all the consumers. That’s why the numbers were probably a little bit harder than what you would expect.
Michael: All right. I want to get back to the trends. Do you feel like you have sufficient data to be able to give us a glimpse of what the next two or three years might look like in terms of consumer behavior and consumer satisfaction?
Tom: Yes. Well, that’s a really good question.
Michael: I didn’t say this was going to be easy, Tom. I want you to predict the future and tell us all exactly what to do.
Tom: Well, I think there’s going to be a race towards being able to better set aside this segment that we’ve have talked about, this high-value [crosstalk]
Michael: In fact, I think as I recall the headline in your article, and I don’t know if you write the headliner of the Journal wrote it, but it was like, “The next insurance battleground is the high-value customer.” Right?
Tom: Yes. The reason why [crosstalk]
Michael: That’s something the agents want to listen to. Tell us about that battle ground. Tell us about that.
Tom: A little bit more, a little bit dramatic to catch audience attention a little bit. What we found there is that, so if you think about over the last 15 years the emergence of direct have focused on providing and delivering an expectation that’s tailored really towards the model line price-sensitive consumer, you described earlier. If you think about a lot of those consumers were embedded in mutuals, other agencies, other carriers across the nation. GEICO and progressive and others that you think about have done a very good job of growth by consolidating these price-driven consumers, just policing them– [crosstalk]
Michael: Do you know much market share they have earned in that 10 to 15 year period or stolen, so to speak from other channels?
Tom: Let me just throw out a couple of numbers that will really shock you. One is that just last year alone the overall industry grew by $14 billion. A little over $14 billion. Half of that, $7.7 billion went to just two carriers, went to GEICO and Progressive. They are taking share at a considerable rate and they have been. Just to throw out some numbers, over a 10 year period GEICO’s direct written premium growth has been in 163%. Progressive is 132%, USAA comes in a third at 131%, but you also have some independent agents carriers that have done well as well. Auto-Owners has grown by 126%. Query has grown by 76% and Travelers has done well around 40%.
Michael: I want to make sure I’m measuring the right thing. Did you say that’s 10-year growth?
Tom: 10-year growth and personalized Auto-
Michael: Got it.
Tom: – related to premiums.
Michael: GEICO, Progressive. GEICO 163%, Progressive 132%, right? Do I have that right? USAA 131%?
Tom: That’s right.
Michael: Okay. On the independent side, Auto Owners and Erie have seen significant growth. What about the channel in general?
Michael: The channel in general, we have– Let me see here if I have that data in front of me. We’ve seen a lot of growth coming from direct. There’s no doubt about that, but it is where we look at the across channels exclusive agents are the ones that have struggled within this environment. One of the major factors for that, what we’re hearing is the limited amount of choice.
They know going in that those agents are tied to a specific carrier and the ability to shop online it’s become easier. When they look at a single carrier, they’re interacting more and more through digital channels to do that. Independent agents have the advantage of representing multiple carriers and that positions them differently in the markets than let’s say, an exclusive agent.
Michael: Got it. All right. I do want to wind this up with a big question at the end, before we do that. The big question is what advice do you have to an independent agency principle? Is there anything else from the study that you feel jumps out and deserves attention that we haven’t covered?
Tom: I think one of the things that we have found is that would be worth highlighting for independent agents is the important role that consideration plays in a consumer’s mind when deciding to select a brand. What we found is that on average, consumers get anywhere between three to four quotes before they make a decision. If you could be in that consideration set and when you’re an independent agent bringing forward potentially brands that resonate with consumers, consumers have a much higher likelihood to close, when it’s with brands that they have a greater unaided awareness of. It’s at a much higher clip across the industry.
Now obviously, independent agents have the added value of being in the industry having advice and counsel and when it comes to brands that consumers may be less familiar with and will look at agents to provide that advice and counsel right around, for quality of those carriers, but from an independent agents perspective, the ability to close brands that consumers recognize, and that’s probably been one of the reasons why for us it has done so well is it’s sold and it’s a brand that is widely recognizable to consumers before they even walk in.
Michael: Okay. All right. Now, on that point, this again just simply may not be in the study, but do you know, of the three or four quotes I got as a consumer, what percentage of them are simply not closed because it’s the lowest price? Is that in or outside the scope of this survey?
Tom: Prices becomes more important at the point of purchase. When they get a quote, what drives them to get a quote, a price is a factor but it’s not the factor in [crosstalk]
Michael: Are we talking about all three segments low, medium, high?
Tom: Yes, overall [crosstalk]. At the point of close, it really says it’s around two things. We look at it as almost a funnel. What gets you to shop in the first place, what gets you to then be aware, consider brands then quote, and now we’re at the point of close. They’ve already probably gone through that process.
Michael: They’re down at the bottom of the funnel.
Tom: Price and good coverage. This is across the market, right across all groups. Price and making sure that they have the coverage options that meet their needs are the two biggest factors that drive them to bind the policy and close [crosstalk]
Michael: I can’t help but wonder how much of the purchasing decision is made around some unconscious values like, “I like these people, I feel safe with these people, I feel a connection. They’re in my community.” I just wonder how.
Tom: We’ve done some work and this is actually one of the things that we’re going to be chewing up in next year’s study and maybe we could revisit [unintelligible 00:43:23] which is what are those brand attributes factors about being local, being convenient, being innovative, being trustworthy, that really resonate with consumers? It’s a great question. That’s something that we’re going to be digging in next year.
Michael: Okay, good. Then we’re going to have a conversation about that next year. Tom, I have one last question for you. Based on the information in this study, what advice or counsel would you give to a principal of an independent insurance agent, what does this mean? What’s the big “so what” for my listeners and clients?
Tom: The big takeaway for independent agents would be understanding what’s happening within the market relative to this high-value consumer segment and that we are seeing broadly speaking that the recording that they’re not getting a very differentiated experience when it comes to their interaction and ability to provide better white glove treatment to them for those that are the best customers that pay the most that have the highest margins.
Are an expectation that they’re bringing to insurance companies and so the better that independent agents can do to providing that type of service that they expect for the higher premium that they’re paying, will go a long way in making sure that they’re happy and satisfied.
Michael: Got it. Okay, Tom, I know you are not in the business of taking inbound calls and random questions from independent insurance agents, but if my listeners want to know more, want to find out more, want to learn more about this analysis or JD Power, what do you recommend?
Tom: I would encourage them they connect through LinkedIn. I not only report on some of the big studies we produce but at least once or twice a week, I’m out there, I help with provide pockets of analysis. [laughs] If you want to follow me on LinkedIn it would be great. LinkedIn/tomsuper
Michael: All right, terrific. Tom, I really appreciate the conversation. I think the analysis that you guys have done definitely provides a very healthy service to the industry. Thank you so much.
Tom: Thank you, Michael. I appreciate it.
Michael: You bet.