Back in the 1700s English theologian Isaac Watts said "Learning to trust is one of life's most difficult tasks."
Watts did not take part in LIMRA's study of the middle market but his sentiment is strongly represented. In the study nearly 70% of consumers said it was hard to know which online sources of financial advice they could trust.
How essential is trust? Nearly two thirds of middle-market consumers said trust is more important than price when buying life insurance online or direct (by mail or phone.) By contrast, when buying face-to-face 55% said price is more important.
While 6 in 10 middle-market consumers prefer to meet face-to-face with an advisor, more than half acknowledged the difficulty in finding an advisor they could trust.
What middle-market consumers want most is someone who will listen to their needs and make appropriate suggestions, educate them on what they are buying, and take time to establish a rapport. All these preferences offer opportunities to build trust.
First impressions, however are lasting ones. Earlier LIMRA research showed that 7 in 10 consumers decide on whether they can trust an advisor based on their first meeting. Thirty percent make their decision on trust within the first few minutes of that initial meeting.
How a company represents itself also affects trust. Nearly three quarters of the middle market said good reputations for service and for claims payment were the most important factors in choosing a life insurance company. Forty-eight percent said the company brand was of high importance to their choice in companies.
The study found that less than half of the middle market (46%) has individual life insurance. Opportunities are there for advisors and companies once trust is established both online and in-person. The middle market wants to learn what's best for their financial needs. They just need to overcome the difficult task of trust.
LIMRA members can learn more about middle market preferences by visiting: U.S. Consumers Today: The Middle Market
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared as an Industry Trends blog post on the LIMRA website.
Mark Morris is Senior Public Relations Consultant for LIMRA, a worldwide research, learning and development organization, helping more than 850 insurance and financial services companies in 64 countries increase their marketing and distribution effectiveness. Visit LIMRA at www.limra.com.
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