With a newfound spending power and changing life stage needs, Millennials are boosting insurance brands, according to new research from The Harris Poll's 29th annual EquiTrend Study, which measures brand health over time.
Millennials' increased interest in insurance brands results in a brand equity rating of 60 among Millennials, compared to 55 among consumers overall. Harris Poll's study reveals the strongest brands across the media, travel, financial, automotive, entertainment, retail, restaurant, technology, household and nonprofit industries based on consumer response.
"As the first group of Millennials entered the workforce, insurance, specifically life and home, was often thought of as a luxury," said Joan Sinopoli, vice president of brand solutions at The Harris Poll. "Now, a bit older and entering new life stages, Millennials have more to protect and realize that employer-supplied insurance may not be enough. Leading insurance companies have taken note; several companies have adapted their marketing campaigns to cater to this important Millennial customer."
According to the Harris Poll study, Millennials have a stronger affinity for life and property/casualty insurance companies compared to baby boomers and Generation X consumers. Millennials report a stronger emotional connection, shared values and fit to life insurance and property and casualty insurance companies and are more likely to trust, consider and recommend these insurance companies compared to other generations.
The EquiTrend Brand Equity Index is comprised of three factors—Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration—that result in a brand equity rating for each brand. Brands ranking highest in equity receive the Harris Poll EquiTrend "Brand of the Year" award for their respective categories. This year, more than 100,000 U.S. consumers assessed more than 4,000 brands across more than 450 categories. The full Harris Poll EquiTrend Brands of the Year list can be found at http://www.theharrispoll.com/equitrend-rankings/2017.
Guardian makes its Brand of the Year debut
According to Harris Poll's analysis of life insurance brands, six brands—Guardian (+9.5), USAA (+7.0), New York Life (+4.6), MetLife (+3.8), Allstate (+3.8) and AIG Direct Life (+3.3)—saw significant brand equity increases while former Life Insurance Brand of the Year State Farm experienced an equity decline, making room for a new top brand.
Since brand equity tends to resist movement, the equity gains and declines among insurance brands is notable.
"Guardian's emergence as Life Insurance Brand of the Year is mainly driven by an above-the-pack Quality score and competitive Familiarity and Consideration ratings," Sinopoli said. "Additionally, the brand is tracking favorably and at the top of the pack for positive momentum. A higher percentage of consumers also cite Guardian as irreplaceable—the only brand or one of few brands they prefer—meaning that Guardians' consumer allegiance is also strong. This is especially significant when, as a category, life insurance is not gaining brand momentum but simply maintaining the brand status quo."
“Guardian is honored to be recognized as the highest-ranked life insurance brand in the 2017 Harris Poll. Our Brand of the Year debut is a testament to our employees’ energy, enthusiasm and dedication to exceeding our clients’ needs,” said Deanna Mulligan, President and CEO at Guardian. “With a history that spans almost 160 years, we are learning and improving every day to deliver on our vision to be the trusted partner delivering financial security how, when and where clients prefer.”
Guardian said in a statement the company is using technology to provide customers the information they need and is working on making the experience simple and easy. This commitment is evidenced in customer feedback and industry recognition. Guardian’s Retirement Contact Center has been recognized by J.D. Power six years in a row for providing “An Outstanding Customer Service Experience” for the live phone channel. DALBAR has recognized teams across the Individual Disability Income business and Guardian was the only insurance provider to receive the 2016 Insurance Service Award for customer service in 2016.
Other key findings
Additional insurance findings from the 2017 Harris Poll include:
• Based on brand equity scores, health insurance brands—Blue Cross and Blue Shield (#1), Health Net (#3) and Amerigroup (#4)—take three positions among the top five insurance brands overall. AAA Home & Auto Insurance (#2) and Guardian Life Insurance (#5) complete the top five list.
• Consumers struggle to identify property and casualty companies as a good fit or as companies that they have shared values with; however, there is a solid degree of trust with AAA and USAA.
• Esurance shows strong positive momentum; however it falls near the bottom of property and casualty companies for overall equity and has lower emotional connection scores.
• New York Life has the strongest equity and connection scores among Millennials, followed by Northwestern Mutual.
• State Farm is among the most familiar brands; USAA has strong quality positioning among both life and property and casualty insurance categories.
• Blue Cross Blue Shield's equity is driven by its Familiarity and Purchase Consideration ratings; Health Net and AmeriGroup outpace Blue Cross Blue Shield on Quality.
• Overall, health insurance is on a slow incline. With the exception of a dip in equity in 2016, health insurance brands have continued to modestly improve over the last five years. Blue Cross and Blue Shield have traditionally tracked well above the rest; however Health Net and AmeriGroup are closing the gap.
Life Insurance Brand of the Year
1. Guardian Life Insurance
2. State Farm Life Insurance
3. USAA Life Insurance
4. AAA Life Insurance
5. New York Life Insurance Company
6. MetLife Life Insurance
7. Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance
Health Insurance Brand of the Year
1. Blue Cross and Blue Shield
2. Health Net
Property & Casualty Insurance Brand of the Year
1. AAA Auto & Home Insurance
2. USAA Auto & Home Insurance
3. State Farm Auto & Home Insurance
4. American Family Auto & Home Insurance
5. Farmers Auto & Home Insurance
6. The Hartford Auto & Home Insurance
Methodology : The 2017 Harris Poll EquiTrend Study is based on a sample of 102,617 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over surveyed online, in English, between Dec. 30, 2016 and Feb. 21, 2017. The survey took an average of 30 minutes to complete. The total number of brands rated was 4,052. Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 40 randomly selected brands. Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings. Data was weighted to be representative of the entire U.S. population of consumers ages 15 and over based on age by sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, income, and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
The Brand Equity Index is the keystone to the EquiTrend program, providing an understanding of a brand's overall strength. A brand's Equity is determined by a calculation of Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration. Brand of the Year is determined by a simple ranking of brands.
The Harris Poll EquiTrend methodology has been validated by academic business experts in the Journal of Marketing Research (1994) and International Journal of Research on Marketing (2012).
These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
About The Harris Poll: Over the last five decades, Harris Polls have become media staples. With comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers' motivations and behaviors, The Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition around the world. The Harris Poll offers a diverse portfolio of proprietary client solutions to transform relevant insights into actionable foresight for a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer packaged goods.
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