Six in ten consumers look online for life insurance and annuities

By Maryalene LaPonsie on February 20th, 2013

When researching life insurance quotes and products, most consumers spend at least a little time looking online. That's according to a recent study conducted by industry group LIMRA.

The group found 61 percent of consumers looked for life insurance and annuity information online in 2012. That compares to only 38 percent of consumers who reported conducting online research in 2006.

Consumers across generations and income levels going online

Not surprisingly, younger consumers were most likely to go online to research life insurance companies and products. Of Gen Y consumers, 73 percent went online for this information in 2012. However, even among older Baby Boomers, 56 percent of consumers conducted life insurance research online.

Regardless of their income or age, survey respondents identified the same three top reasons as to why they went online for information:

  • To research life insurance companies and product offerings
  • To seek general product information
  • To compare life insurance quotes and prices

While individuals of all ages use internet resources to research life insurance and annuities, men go online in greater numbers than women. The LIMRA study found 65 percent of men went online to do their research compared to 58 percent of women.

In addition, those without children were more likely to look up life insurance companies and do other research on the internet. Although 67 percent of those without children reported online research, only 58 percent of those with children said the same.

Life insurance agents still a valuable resource

Although the internet makes it easy to find life insurance quotes and compare whole life and term life products, many consumers still consider offline professionals to be their most valuable resource when it comes to selecting the right policy.

LIMRA reports 69 percent of consumers seek information from life insurance agents, brokers or advisors when preparing to make a purchase.

"Companies should understand that the internet's influence is likely to grow stronger over time yet the need for personal interaction with an insurance professional will always be important," said Mary Art, research director for LIMRA technology research, in a written statement.

In addition, life insurance professionals are the source most likely to trigger consumers to seek out more information. Of those who have considered buying an individual life insurance policy, 25 percent say they were prompted by a life insurance professional to consider the purchase. Meanwhile, only five percent of consumers say online sources were the catalyst for further research.

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