Auto insurer websites, apps now driver of new customers

TROY–With auto insurance rates higher than ever and more consumers in the market shopping for policies than ever before, digital channels have become a critical component to the overall auto insurance shopping and service experience, according to the just-released J.D. Power 2024 U.S. Insurance Digital Experience Study.

According to the study, a strong majority of auto insurance websites and apps are doing a good job delivering on foundational functional capabilities, but far fewer are delivering the type of value-added services that set them apart from the pack.

“When you consider the sharp declines in customer satisfaction we’ve been seeing across all aspects of the auto insurance industry during the past year, digital channels have been remarkably resilient when it comes to delivering a good user experience and helping to get customers and prospects the information they need,” said Stephen Crewdson, senior director, insurance business intelligence at J.D. Power. “However, many insurers still have work to do when it comes to keeping customers on their websites and apps to answer all questions and provide critical information. Customer satisfaction plummets when users of digital channels need to pick up the phone and contact the call center if they can’t find what they need online.”

The U.S. Insurance Digital Experience Study evaluates the digital consumer experiences of both property and casualty insurance shoppers seeking quotes and existing customers conducting typical policy-servicing activities. It examines the functional aspects of desktop, mobile web and mobile apps based on four factors: navigation; speed; visual appeal; and information/content. The study was conducted in collaboration with Corporate Insight, the leading provider of competitive intelligence and user experience research to the financial services and healthcare industries.

Following are some key findings of the 2024 study:

* Overall digital satisfaction holds strong despite industry headwinds: Overall customer satisfaction with the P&C insurer digital shopping experience is 516 (on a 1,000-point scale), down 5 points from a year ago. Overall customer satisfaction with the P&C service experience is 698, down 4 points from a year ago. Relative to overall customer satisfaction scores with auto insurers in general—which fell 12 points in 2023 from 2022—the digital channel is performing admirably, despite soaring rates.

* Digital channels bring in more customers than agents and call centers: More than half (53%) of first-time buyers start their relationships with auto insurance providers through digital channels, compared with 29% who come in through agents and 18% who come in through call centers. Similarly, digital is the first choice for 42% of switchers and 46% of retained customers. All of these have grown significantly during the past four years.

* Satisfaction highest when customers have digital-only interaction with insurers: Overall customer satisfaction scores are considerably higher when customers use their insurer’s website or assisted digital contact methods as a first line of interaction than when they use another contact method first.

* Moving beyond the basics: While most insurer digital channels are delivering foundational tools and navigation capabilities, fewer are making it easy for customers to perform more advanced tasks. In the service category, 83% of customers said digital channels delivered foundational experiences, but only 30% said they found the channels were foundational, findable and valuable. In the shopping category, 72% of customers said digital channels are delivering foundational experiences, but just 4% said they found the channels were foundational, findable and valuable.

Study Rankings

Progressive ranks highest in the service segment with a score of 737. American Family (717) ranks second and Nationwide (716) ranks third.

Auto Club Group (AAA) ranks highest in the shopping segment with a score of 546. Auto Club of Southern California (AAA) (536) ranks second and Erie Insurance (533) ranks third.

See the rank chart for each segment at http://www.jdpower.com/pr-id/2024045.

The 2024 U.S. Insurance Digital Experience Study is based on 11,086 evaluations and was fielded in January-March 2024.

For more information about the U.S. Insurance Digital Experience Study, visit https://www.jdpower.com/business/insurance/us-insurance-digital-experience-study.

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