Keys to Retaining Customers

A perennial issue for insurers is how to retain customers. A new study from J.D. Power and Associates says that identifying at-risk customers is critical for insurers in minimizing defection rates and increasing loyalty. The 2008 Insurance Retention/Defection Study found that although 85 percent of auto insurance customers indicate they are loyal to their carrier, more than one-third shopped for a new insurance provider. According to the study, some 15 percent of policyholders defected to another insurance carrier in 2008 and an additional 20 percent were at risk of leaving their current carrier. Among the 15 percent of customers who defected, only one-third intended to switch carriers when they first started to shop, suggesting that carriers have an opportunity to retain up to two-thirds of all defectors. However, only 30 percent of defectors report that their previous insurer made any attempt to keep their business. Not surprisingly, the study also found that price is a key driver among both defecting and loyal customers. But while offering competitive pricing and discounts is one way to persuade customers at risk of defecting, J.D. Power and Associates  says that educating them about their policies and providing thorough policy reviews on a regular basis are also key tactics in persuading them to stay on board.

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