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01:24 PM
Nathan Golia
Nathan Golia
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One in 4 Want to Close Life Insurance Sales Online: LIMRA

LIMRA's and the LIFE Foundation's latest Insurance Barometer Study provides a window into what prospects want from life insurance companies.

LIMRA and the LIFE Foundation are out with their latest Insurance Barometer Study, which new for this year "looked at perceptions about new distribution models for buying life insurance," the groups said.

More than 2,000 people responded to the study, and of those, 23% said said they wanted to research and buy a life policy online. That's about half the amount that said they would want to research online, but buy from an agent -- meaning only about a quarter of prospective life insurance buyers would forgo the internet at all during the purchase process.

"Life insurance has never been as inexpensive or easy to buy – especially with the anticipated growth of online and nontraditional purchasing channels – yet, millions of consumers continue to put off the decision," said Marvin H. Feldman, president and CEO of the LIFE Foundation, in a statement. "Insurance professionals and our industry play a critical role in helping to educate the public on the wide range of options available and should continue to work together to help people get the life insurance coverage they know they need."

Perhaps most interesting was the 7% of consumers who said they would be willing to purchase life insurance at a superstore, like Walmart or Target. Those consumers seemed to expect a better price, simpler process, and convenience. The 93% of respondents who said they wouldn't do so, however, cited complexity as a barrier to such a purchase.

The study said:

Consumers in the study evaluated the concept of purchasing life insurance at a retail store, which may mean they made assumptions about what it means to "buy life insurance" at a superstore. This is evidenced by the fact that while one third of consumers willing to buy at a superstore find the idea of being able to speak to someone about the product to be a benefit of the in-store purchase, 28% of consumers uninterested in buying at a superstore cite the inability to speak to someone a reason to not purchase at a superstore. Clearly these two groups have different thoughts on what buying life insurance at a superstore might look like.

But life insurers have seen an opportunity in retail. Notably, MetLife piloted sales of an insurance product at Walmart last year.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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