For most of us, "quick and easy" is the way we like to do business. This is true when it comes to purchasing life insurance as well. Buyers certainly want the process to be easy. A recent LIMRA study suggests, however, that "quick and easy" may also backfire as a way to promote interest in life insurance among those not already interested in shopping.
In the study, consumers were given eight different messages that challenged biases about owning life insurance and compared their responses to a control statement that was a familiar marketing message on the importance of life insurance.
The "quick and easy" message touted how life insurance can be quick and easy to purchase by simply answering a few questions. The message also noted that coverage can be obtained online in about 10 minutes, with no medical exams or lab work.
Researchers used a behavioral economic approach to learn what motivates people's decisions at the subconscious level and compare them with their objective responses. The "quick and easy" message proved one of the least effective on both levels.
For one subgroup, where 79 percent agree that “life insurance is a responsible thing to do” in response to the control message, only 67 percent agreed among those receiving the "quick and easy" message.
At the end of the study, consumers were asked to indicate which messages they thought were most compelling. The "quick and easy" message performed the worst.
To be clear, researchers noted there is still great value in simplifying the life insurance sales process. However, this research suggests that when ease of purchase is emphasized too early in the sales process, before consumers understand the value of the coverage, they may perceive the quality of the life insurance offered to be less desirable.
The reference to buying life insurance in 10 minutes online may have also triggered negative responses from consumers who are unsure about buying insurance online, as well as those who doubt the 10-minute claim.
In the 2015 Insurance Barometer, 73 percent of consumers said up to two weeks was an acceptable wait time to receive a life insurance policy. Waiting longer than a few weeks was considered unacceptable by most.
These findings reinforce the idea that companies must first persuade consumers of their need for life insurance coverage. Once that communication takes place, shoppers are likely to welcome the ease of purchase.