U.S. Consumers Prefer to Buy Insurance through Agents Despite Ability to Buy Products Online, Accenture Survey Finds

Young and more affluent consumers more inclined to purchase auto & home insurance online

ORLANDO, Fla.; May 19, 2009 – Three-quarters of U.S. consumers prefer buying insurance products through agents and other trusted sources, but younger and higher-income consumers are more inclined to purchase products via the Web than through an agent and are more inclined to switch insurers, according to findings of a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

Overall key findings include:

“Product complexity and customer service appear to be a driving force behind consumers’ preference for agents and their resistance to new insurance purchases,” said Michael Costonis, director of Accenture’s Insurance practice in North America. “The promise of the Internet is strong, yet insurers have lagged behind other industries in harnessing it to improve customer acquisition and retention. Insurers have an opportunity to attract younger and higher-income consumers to more straightforward products via the Web. Distribution needs to match customer’s needs and insurers need to take a targeted approach for younger and higher-income consumers.”

“Customers are looking for advice and guidance on how the economic crisis affects them individually, but they don’t seem to be getting the right information from their agents,” said Pierre-Louis Seguin, managing director of Accenture’s Life Insurance practice in North America. “Products are simply too complex for customers to understand. Insurers need to enhance agent training to ensure proper explanation of the coverage, benefits and value of their products. Insurers have an opportunity to capture the 18 to 34 year- old market, the next generation of insurance buyers, by simplifying products for online sales.”

Methodology Accenture commissioned a survey of 1,005 U.S. citizens at least 18 years of age who own at least one insurance product. The online survey was designed by Accenture and conducted by Lightspeed Research in April 2009. Respondents were representative of the U.S. population in gender, age, income and region.

About Accenture Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With more than 181,000 people serving clients in over 120 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$23.39 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2008. Its home page is www.accenture.com.



Mary Flynn
Accenture (New York)
+1 (310) 283-4700

François Luu
Accenture (Paris)
+33 1 53 23 68 55
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