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Agents Need to Stay Abreast of Consumer Trends

Insurance agents have busy schedules no doubt…but staying on top of consumer trends and how they go about purchasing insurance is important.

For those agents who do not stay on top of these kinds of trends there is the danger of missing out on potential clients.

According to a recent survey from AIS Media Inc., American consumers turn more often to the web and interactive promotions when making purchasing choices for insurance.

The survey — 2010 Insurance Customer Interactive Media Usage Survey — questioned the public on where they receive information regarding insurance services and how open they are to interactive promotions for insurance.

The survey points out that nearly 60 percent of the respondents claimed that after receiving an insurance offer in the mail they are more apt to visit the insurer's Web site rather than call the company.

Data from the survey also indicates that more Americans now use the web to engage with insurers instead of telephone — a trend that is expected to grow.

According to AIS, traditional advertising could be losing its appeal.

Around 32 percent of consumers researching insurance options go to search engines to start their research as opposed to only 3 percent choosing the Yellow Pages.

In addition, a third of all survey respondents would think about buying their insurance online, which points to the fact that the insurance industry, like numbers of other industries, is seeing the web now being the first stop for a growing number of Americans. According to the survey authors, over time the web will become the one-stop shop for all insurance requirements.

"An overwhelming number of insurance customers prefer to visit a Web site after receiving direct mail insurance offers and a significant number of insurance customers are influenced by interactive media," according to Thomas Harpointner, CEO of AIS Media. "Integrating an effective interactive marketing strategy to existing direct mail campaigns can provide insurance companies the potential for immediate increases in marketing ROI and measurability."

The survey demonstrated that insurer Web sites will be key not only for adding on new customers, but retaining customers over time.

For a larger percentage of consumers, the Web site is the initial point of contact with an insurer; one that leads them dissatisfied could lead to the company losing sales.

Thirty-one percent of the respondents reported they were dissatisfied with insurance company existing Web site usability; 49.5 percent were somewhat satisfied; and only 19.5 percent were very satisfied or extremely satisfied with present Web sites.

While there may be a lot of number crunching to do in surveys, they can be useful tools for agents in knowing how best to reach out to consumers.