Insurers must challenge perception about demographics and buying habits

Published: August 30, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



Insurance provider should reassess assumptions about online buying habits of demographic groups, especially that young consumers buy online. Speakers at the Executive Forum said Tuesday there is a convergence of attitudes that insurance companies should challenge.

“We want to make sure we are checking our assumptions about demographics and that makes it particularly challenging with marketing,” Lorie Phair, managing director of the Canadian Broker Network, said during the Executive Forum. “We tend to look at it as, the young people want this… want that and it’s very much about individual behaviours.”

Phair was speaking as part of a panel titled Canadian Perspectives on InsurTech.

“I think many of the younger people, who we assume are very comfortable buying online, in fact as it turns out, they are the ones who need the advisor,” Phair said. “They need the personal touch.”

Phair believed older customers are more confidtent and could even be more likely to purchase insurance online. It was a theory shared by Andrew Lo, president and chief operating officer of Kanetix Ltd.

“I definitely see an aggregation and convergence of attitudes across the consumer base,” Lo said. “We always talk about millennials and the next generation after that and how connected they are, et cetera, but I am actually seeing convergence of those attitudes.”

The panel was moderated by Marsh Canada managing director, Neil Mitchell, who asked who the losers will be in insurtech.

“I don’t think there will be so much winners and losers, as participants and non-participants,” argued David Crozier, president and chief executive officer of Everest Insurance Company of Canada.

Some people who purchase insurance “also run their own businesses so they are bringing what they do in their personal life into their business at the same time as their customers are making different demands of them,” Crozier said.

“The non-participants are almost self-selecting out because they are not going to meet their own demands,” said Crozier. “They are not going to meet their customer’s demands so what I see with technology is this leaping of expectations from our personal lives into our business lives and back.”