ReMark: A Crisis of Want versus Need – Addressing the Consumer Trust Deficit is Vital for Industry Survival

LONDON--()--A global study of 8,000 insurance customers finds that while most customers will probably never want life insurance, the industry must work harder to make them feel the need for protection. By closing the gap between the industry’s intentions and the customer experience, insurers can address the trust deficit and customers’ lack of conviction in the proposition.

This unique study commissioned by ReMark International, a SCOR group company and the leading provider of alternative and direct distribution insurance, identifies four avenues of opportunity to enhance customer value perceptions - from underwriting to wellness and wearables.

“Our research, the third in the series of ReMark’s Global Consumer Studies, identifies a clear lack of consumer conviction in the relevance of insurance propositions, “ said Stephen Collins, CEO, ReMark International. “We contend that the industry must assume greater responsibility for transparent and innovative communication with its customers - we have identified four key opportunities for repairing the eroded trust between the insurer and the customer.”

A crisis of value and a deficit of trust

Industry-generated demand creation efforts, such as the relentless emphasis on protection gaps, simply have not resonated with customers to drive desired sales. A multi-pronged effort is required to correct negative attitudes towards insurance, as evidenced by pejorative citations such as “money-making” and “scam”. Insurers must rise to the challenge of convincing customers of the relevance of a promise to protect through meaningful, more frequent engagement.

The report outlines four categories of consumer attitudes towards the life insurance purchase decision:

1. Procrastinators – 10% of customers appreciate the need for cover but have no real sense of urgency compelling them to purchase, despite an exigent proportion having young children or property debt.

2. Strugglers – 33% do not own insurance because they believe they cannot afford cover.

3. Self-reliants – 16% either felt they had enough savings to cover themselves and their families in the event of death, disability or unemployment, or were willing to accept the risks themselves.

4. Innocents – 35% of customers are unaware or ill-informed of the need for life insurance.

The research suggests that each of the above segments will be responsive to innovative, tailored messaging at the right time.

The value of experience

The research explores the transformational role the application process could have in shaping the customer experience. The findings highlight two challenges in particular where effective automation is crucial to enhance existing underwriting propositions to focus on customer efficacy, as opposed to just insurer efficiency.

The study implies an urgent need for integrated, digital journeys that explain and expose the benefits of underwriting to customers. Engaging customers about what’s “in it” for them could be as simple as providing status updates along the way, or a health report at the end.

The product paradox – needing to want; wanting to need

Disconnects between current product sales and customer demand leave room for innovation. The research indicates that customer expectations of claims and coverage often differ from reality. These discrepancies present a serious brand risk for insurers. The report asserts that the industry should respond with more specific and unambiguous cover to cultivate customer confidence.

Furthermore, the findings reveal a discrepancy between what customers want and what they buy. This conundrum is a result of the complex interplay of price issues, adviser influence and behavioural economics, amongst other factors. Solving this conundrum demands deeper insights into the cognitive biases, social influences and emotions shaping these customer perceptions.

Wearing wellness on our sleeve

The confluence of several macro trends – including prolonged life-expectancy, the reclassification of once fatal diseases to chronic conditions, and a shift from public to private coverage of healthcare costs – has created a consumer environment conducive to health-related innovation.

In conjunction with these trends, the increasing sophistication of the Internet of Things means that preventative, diagnostic and holistic health services are available on our wrists. Over 15% of customers surveyed own a wearable device, and most market research projects considerable growth over the next few years. Emerging Asia stands out in particular as having strong customer demand for health related product innovation. Packaging this novel “quantified self” experience within life propositions has obvious benefits for customer value perceptions.

The engagement gap

You can’t always get what you want challenges the industry to generate a perception of the need for life insurance by restoring customer conviction in the promise to protect. The results of ReMark’s 2016 study demonstrate that packaging products within a more personalised, enhanced customer experience – employing effective automation, cover innovation and wellness initiatives – means the opportunity for positively redefining value perceptions among all customers, not just those who claim.

To download the study visit:


About the survey:

ReMark’s 2016 Global Consumer Survey conducted in partnership with Cass Business School, City, University of London, is based on online interviews with 8,000 insurance consumers across 14 key life markets with fieldwork conducted in 2016. The sample and methodology complies with best practice for each market based on a nationally representative set of demographic and economic parameters.

About ReMark:

ReMark, a SCOR group company, is a world leader in alternative and direct distribution of insurance products with a single focus – maximum value creation for our business partners and their clients. For more than 30 years, in 40 countries and 21 languages, we have been turning that strategic expertise into customised direct distribution programmes for the world’s most innovative and ambitious financial services organisations.

Operating business models from B2B, B2B2C and D2C, we offer marketing, product and technology solutions throughout the value chain, in a diverse range of market segments including Bancassurance, traditional Life & Health, Takaful and Affinity groups.

ReMark has generated in excess of €1 billion in total business value for partners and clients and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SCOR Global Life, one of the world’s leading life and health reinsurers.

For more information about ReMark, visit


Catherine Gale

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Catherine Gale