December 18, 2020

Most Consumers Want Insurers to Handle Personal Cyber Threats as Pandemic Drives Digital Consumption, Accenture Report Finds

NEW YORK and LONDON; Dec. 18, 2020 – Three out of four consumers (76%) would welcome assistance from their insurer in dealing with cybersecurity threats as the pandemic drives more consumers online, according to a new report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

The new report, titled “Three ways COVID-19 is changing insurance” and based on a survey of more than 47,000 consumers globally, aims to understand how consumers’ experience with, and expectations of, insurance products and services during the pandemic may drive permanent changes in the industry.

With consumers spending significantly more time online, the pandemic has increased the risk of cyberattacks and fraud. This is driving consumers to go beyond traditional identity theft solutions and turn to their insurers for personal cybersecurity needs, even though cyber insurance has traditionally been offered primarily as a commercial product. At the same time, however, the report found that consumers are concerned about identity and personal data protection issues, with one in five (20%) saying they worry their data will be stolen if they share it with insurance providers.

“We’re at the beginning of a new movement in personal cyber insurance,” said Kenneth Saldanha, who leads Accenture’s Insurance industry group globally. “The pandemic had a profound impact on customers’ lives, which will likely realign their expectations of insurers to help them in a more vulnerable and digital world. Insurers are reimagining their role in their customers’ lives by helping them deal with cyber incidents and build on their long-standing trust with customers to ensure them that they feel their identity and personal data are protected.”

The report also finds that as COVID-19 has significantly disrupted work under stay-at-home restrictions, consumers expect long-term changes to their lives that make new demands of their insurer. More than half (56%) of respondents who can work from home said they expect to do so more frequently in the future. And as homes are now the epicenter of their working life, more than half (53%) of respondents said they would be interested in home cybersecurity insurance where premiums are tied to using the latest virus protection software.

“With more people now working remotely, insurers must protect their customers’ homes not just as physical assets, but as digital assets as well,” Saldanha said. “Insurers should play an active role in helping prevent cyber threats in the first place. Consumers tell us they want to be rewarded for good behavior and have their premiums more accurately reflect how they live their lives and stay safe.”

The pandemic and resulting financial fallout have shifted consumers’ priorities when deciding whether to stay with their insurer. Two years ago, consumers’ top priorities regarding their insurance provider focused on customer service, including fast and efficient issue resolution. However, consumers now cite “value for money” as the main reason to stay with an insurer.

“Consumers want to be in more control of their cashflow and feel that their insurer understands their new world,” Saldanha said. “While financial relief, like the rebates offered by U.S. auto insurers during the pandemic, had a positive influence on consumer perception of insurers’ performance during the crisis, insurers shouldn’t get caught in a race to the bottom war on price. The battle for the consumer still remains in offering trusted, personalized customer experiences, adapting to new risks, and really being there for them to protect their best interests.”

More insights from the consumer survey will be released early next year in Accenture’s Insurance Consumer Study 2021 report, which will cover longer-term consumer trends for the industry.

Accenture surveyed 47,810 respondents across 27 countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. Respondents were required to have an insurance policy. The survey was conducted online during July and August 2020.

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Natalie de Freitas
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