New LIMRA research finds that more U.S. and Canadian consumers are using online resources to learn about life insurance and other financial products.
According to the findings, 71 percent of American consumers sought information for life insurance and annuities online – up from 61 percent in 2012. Likewise, a growing number of Canadian consumers looked online for information: 65 percent in 2015 – up from 61 percent in 2012.
It should not be inferred that the Internet is disintermediating financial advisors*. In fact, LIMRA research found in both the U.S. and Canada, 8 in 10 consumers turned to financial professionals for information on life insurance and other financial products. And nearly half of U.S. and Canadian consumers sought information from both an advisor and the Internet (U.S. – 51%; Canada – 47%)
For both countries, consumers identified advisors as the single most valuable source of information in 2015. Yet American consumers’ perceptions of online resources have improved since 2012 with 30 percent of people saying the Internet is their most valuable source of information (it was 25 percent in 2012). In Canada, perceptions of the value of Internet resources have slipped slightly – 25 percent claim the Internet is their most valuable resource, down 2 percentage points from 2012.
Logically, one would assume that Millennials – who are digitally native – would be more comfortable researching online than other generations. However, the study found younger consumers in both countries were at least as likely to turn to a financial advisor for information as their older counterparts. (See chart)
The results from this research support the notion that for most consumers, life insurance shopping and ultimately the buying process usually involves both online and offline activity.
*The term “advisor” refers to a paid financial professional (e.g. insurance agent, lawyer, CPA, broker, financial planner or advisor) used to make at least some of a household’s investment decisions.