WINDSOR, Conn., June 10, 2013 — A new LIMRA study shows that 95 percent of life insurance beneficiaries are “satisfied” overall with their claims experience, yet there is greater opportunity when they are “extremely satisfied.”
“Life insurance companies are doing a very good job when it comes to paying claims,” said Jennifer Douglas, associate research director, LIMRA Developmental Research. “In our study we learned the distinction between a ‘satisfied’ and an ‘extremely satisfied’ beneficiary is profound. It could be the difference between receiving and not receiving additional business.” (See Chart)
LIMRA’s study, “The Moment of Truth: Individual Life Insurance Claimant Satisfaction,” revealed that compared to a “satisfied” claimant, an “extremely satisfied” claimant is:
- Nearly four times as likely to be very interested in doing business with the insuring company
- More than three times as likely to recommend the carrier
- More than twice as likely to feel strongly about the critical role life insurance plays following the death of a loved one
Top-performing companies outshone the others in important areas such as responsiveness and ease of the claims experience. Nearly 3 in 4 beneficiaries said the life insurance claims process was easier and less stressful than their other administrative tasks. They also gave notably higher ratings to the top performers for the “care and compassion,” as well as the “knowledge and competence” exhibited by the professional they worked most closely with.
The survey allowed for open-ended responses revealing how much people appreciate their insurance agent. While just over a quarter of beneficiaries work with an agent, a disproportionately high percentage expressed gratitude and admiration for their agent. Often referring to their agent and office staff by name, beneficiaries commented on how beautifully everything was handled following their loved one’s death.
In terms of turnaround time for claims, many beneficiaries commented on how quickly their claims were paid and gave the top-performing companies a better rating. Yet, the median turnaround time for top performers is 19 days, which is exactly the same turnaround time for all carriers combined, suggesting that acceptable turnaround times for life insurance claims are often based on the beneficiaries’ perceptions.
While many aspects of the claims process are transactional, companies and agents can really make a difference in the area of service. Beneficiaries are often overwhelmed. Insurers can help by making additional support services available, such as grief counseling, coordination of coverages, legal services, etc. Companies can train their distribution force to play a more personal and visible role before, during and after the claim.
The study underscores the fact that processing a life insurance claim is the single greatest opportunity for companies to make a lasting impression on an insured’s immediate family and broader circles of family and friends. Douglas’s advise to agents and companies: “Take the extra time and effort to move the claims process from a favorable transaction to a memorable experience.”
LIMRA surveyed 4,242 life insurance beneficiaries who had received a death benefit from one of 11 participating carriers during the second quarter of 2012. Favorable outcomes measured were: overall satisfaction, likelihood to do business with and recommend the company, and degree to which they now value the role of life insurance. As part of its analysis, LIMRA incorporated the Net Promoter Score or NPS®, which measures consumer responses based on how likely they are to recommend a company to a friend or colleague.
LIMRA, a worldwide research, consulting and professional development organization, is the trusted source of industry knowledge, helping more than 850 insurance and financial services companies in 73 countries increase their marketing and distribution effectiveness. Visit LIMRA at www.limra.com