More Than One-Half of Customers Compare Companies When Purchasing Life Insurance

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The Prudential Life Insurance Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction in the Life Support Insurance Segment; Sony Life Insurance Ranks Highest in the Medical Benefit Insurance and Asset Building Insurance Segments

TOKYO: 13 March 2013 — An increasing number of customers in Japan are comparing policies and prices from multiple insurers when shopping for life insurance, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2013 Japan Life Insurance Contract Customer Satisfaction (Pre-Purchase and Post-Purchase) StudiesSM released today.

The study finds that more than one-half of customers who recently purchased life insurance compared their policies with those of other companies during the purchase process. More than 60 percent of customers who purchased through insurance agencies (agencies that exclusively handle insurance) and more than 40 percent of those who purchased directly from insurance companies (from insurance company sales representatives) say they considered multiple insurance companies. In addition, the percentage of customers who obtained price quotes from multiple insurance companies has increased to 40 percent in 2013 from 36 percent in 2012.

Nearly one-third (30%) of customers indicate that they selected their life insurance policy because the “product or plan suited to me.” The second-most-frequently cited reason is “low premiums.”

The study finds that 73 percent of customers who purchased insurance for reasons pertaining to product suitability received explanations from their insurance company or agency regarding the comparative advantages of their policies or the method or amount of premium payments. Overall satisfaction averages 640 on a 1,000-point scale when customers receive such explanations, compared with the industry average of 622. Additionally, policy renewal intent among customers who receive these explanations is more than 10 percent higher than the industry average.

“As customers increasingly compare insurance products from multiple insurers before buying, providing them with clear and useful information about the advantages of their products may play an important role in increasing satisfaction and establishing long-term relationships with customers,” said Chie Numanami, senior manager at J.D. Power Asia Pacific. “When sales representatives help deepen customer knowledge not only of their own products, but also competitor products, while also proposing and explaining products suited to customer needs, there may be a positive impact on the number of policy sales and customer satisfaction.”

The study also examines the state of the post-purchase service of insurance companies and agencies and satisfaction among customers who have had their policies for more than two years. Overall satisfaction among these customers averages 580, substantially lower than satisfaction among those surveyed at the time of purchase, which is622 points.  Approximately 30 percent of customers indicate that they have reconsidered their current policies by examining products from other insurers. Furthermore, on average, satisfaction decreases the longer customers have their policy.

“The fact that the percentage of customers who have reconsidered their policies is increasing, as well as the fact that the risk of cancellation grows the longer customers have their policy, highlights a key challenge facing the life insurance industry,” said Numanami. “Insurance companies need to continue to focus on ways to connect with their long-time policyholders if they want to reap the benefits of customer loyalty.”

Communication from the insurance company is critical to customer satisfaction. The study finds that satisfaction increases, as does policy renewal intent, when the insurance company contacts customers during the policy period. An average of 78 percent of customers indicate that they received some kind of follow-up from their insurer during the past 12 months. While less than 10 percent of customers are contacted to discuss payments or benefits, satisfaction and loyalty rates are higher among these customers, compared with among those who are not contacted by their insurer.

“There is substantial room for improvement in the nature of contact between customers and their sales representatives or agencies,” said Numanami. “To reduce the risk of cancellation as life insurance policies extend over many years, it is important for sales representatives and agencies to maintain contact with customers, resolve questions or doubts and engage in activities to provide useful information regarding such topics as the claims process.”

The 2013 Japan Life Insurance Contract Customer Satisfaction (Pre-Purchase) Study, now in its second year, measures customer satisfaction with the customer service provided by insurance companies and agencies, as well as satisfaction with insurance companies during the purchase process. The study, based on online responses from 10,193 policyholders who purchased new life insurance policies or renewed policies during the past 12 months, was fielded in December 2012.

Overall customer satisfaction with life insurance contracts is based on four factors (in order of importance): customer service (35%); procedures and documentation (28%); premiums paid (20%); and products offered (18%).

Among the 19 insurance companies included in the life support insurance segment, The Prudential Life Insurance ranks highest in customer satisfaction for a third consecutive year, with a score of 698. The Prudential Life Insurance performs particularly well across all four factors that comprise overall satisfaction.

Sony Life Insurance ranks highest among the 16 companies included in the medical benefit insurance segment with a score of 668. Sony achieves high scores in customer service, products offered, and procedures and documentation.

Sony Life Insurance also ranks highest among the seven companies in the asset building insurance segment for a second consecutive year, with a score of 685. Sony performs particularly well across all factors.

The 2013 Japan Life Insurance Contract Customer Satisfaction (Post-Purchase) Study measures customer satisfaction with the customer service provided by insurance companies and agencies, as well as satisfaction with insurance companies after purchase. The study is based on online responses from 6,016 policyholders who purchased life insurance at least 24 months before the survey  and who had not purchased new policies or renewed policies during the past 12 months. The study was fielded in December 2012.

In both studies, life insurance products are classified under three main policy types according to customer awareness and needs, and satisfaction is measured for each policy type. The details of the insurance segments are as follows:

  • Life Support Insurance: Policies cover death insurance, income guarantee insurance and long-term care insurance
  • Medical Benefit Insurance: Policies cover cancer insurance and medical insurance
  • Asset Building Insurance: Policies cover individual annuity insurance, variable life insurance, education endowment insurance and juvenile insurance

About J.D. Power Asia Pacific

J.D. Power Asia Pacific has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai and Bangkok that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries. Together, the five offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. Information regarding J.D. Power Asia Pacific and its products can be accessed through the Internet at www.jdpower.com. Media e-mail contact: shizue_hidaka@jdpower.co.jp

About J.D. Power & Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power & Associates is a global marketing information services company providing performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions.  The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information and ratings for cars, retail banking, credit cards, health insurance, cell phones, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power & Associates is a business unit of McGraw Hill Financial.

About McGraw Hill Financial:

McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE:MHP), a financial intelligence company, is a leader in credit ratings, benchmarks and analytics for the global capital and commodity markets. Iconic brands include: Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, CRISIL, J.D. Power & Associates, McGraw Hill Construction and Aviation Week. The Company has approximately 17,000 employees in 27 countries. Additional information is available at www.mhfi.com.

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