Published on March 30th, 2019
The way consumers can research and shop for homeowners insurance is changing with the help of data and peer reviews. If you’ve shopped for insurance in the past, you know that the process of obtaining a home insurance quote is essentially archaic; customers still need up to half an hour to answer upwards of 40 questions. In an age where apps and websites are simplifying our lives, the insurance sector has traditionally lagged behind.
However, there’s been an increase in insurance aggregators that allow consumers to receive multiple quotes online. While this has helped give consumers more power over the shopping and buying process, consumers still traditionally haven’t had a reliable way to easily research how insurance companies perform in the eyes of their policyholders.
One study shows that of over 700 consumers, just 35.6% of them read reviews on the companies that they were researching. In an age where it seems every product is heavily reviewed before being purchased, why is it that insurance, arguably one of the most important purchases one can make, is not critiqued by a majority of buyers?
Luckily, there are innovators in the field that are coupling consumer reviews with rankings providing users with a new, data-driven way to shop for and compare homeowners insurance. Clearsurance gives consumers an unbiased look at how filed claims have been handled, which companies are rated highest in each state by consumers and more. This is such important knowledge customers should be taking advantage of, and proactively evaluating themselves as their reviews are just as important.
Big data will be a key player in advancing the way buyers shop for homeowners insurance, too. Major players in the industry are investing in digital tech startups, nicknamed “insurtech,” with millions of dollars being spent on innovation and research to improve the process. “Buying insurance is ridiculously retrograde, with endless questions resulting in a quote,” explains Mr. Brem, a chief digital officer at a London insurance company for an article in Financial Times.
“We’ll be moving to a world where those questions are basically unnecessary. With the use of big data, we are discovering interesting and accurate predictors of risk that do not involve asking people questions.”
A recent survey of insurers by broker Willis Towers Watson echoed this sentiment; 74% felt the industry had failed to show initiative in digital innovation.
Another type of data that can help those choosing the right home insurance plan is the stats released by the Insurance Research Council (IRC.) One particularly surprising study revealed that nearly half of American homeowners and renters would be ok with insurance companies gathering data from smart home products to lower premiums and monitor their homes. Though privacy is still a major hesitant for homeowners, many insurers are already experimenting with smart home devices to better manage risks and provide additional services.
“The findings from this survey confirm that many homeowners and renters may be eager to participate in insurer-sponsored programs involving smart home devices or systems,” said Elizabeth Sprinkel, CPCU, senior vice president of the IRC. “The survey also provides valuable insight into what insurers might do to encourage even greater participation in the future.”
The future of data and insurance is still in its infancy, but it’s showing great strides. Homeowners are now able to make more educated decisions thanks to forward-thinking companies that are providing essential peer-based reviews for shoppers. Without these types of advancements, shopping for homeowners insurance will continue to be difficult and time consuming for us all.