While an increasing number of consumers are approaching insurers directly to get coverage, advisers can use this digital engagement as a trigger point to demonstrate the value of advice, according to Lewers Research.
Lewers Research client engagement director Suela Qemal said consumers using online comparison websites or going directly to life insurance websites are usually part of a previously inaccessible and disengaged segment of the population who may not be aware of the importance of financial advice (refer to chart 1).
"Advisers can use these opportunities resulting from digital engagement as trigger points for tailored marketing communications, aimed at educating and advising. This can include assistance with understanding cost comparisons, guidance on super policy through to an insurance audit amongst clients that already have a life insurance."
According to Lewers Research, over 30 per cent of Australian life insurance policy holders are approaching insurers directly, with almost 50 per cent using comparison websites to make their coverage decision.
Further, Ms Qemal said that insurers must provide advisers with digital tools to improve client engagement if they are to stave off consumers going direct for their coverage (refer to chart 2).
"In a digitalised world, consumers are taking clues from other industries like telecommunications, banking, retail and entertainment. They are expecting the same interactivity in all other aspects of their lives including life insurance. Increasing client engagement should be seen as a key focus across life insurance providers and financial advisers," she said.
"For life insurance, while the direct channels are complementary to the adviser business model, the rapid growth of this channel requires strategic focus from life insurance providers and financial advisers."