16 April 2020

Insurance providers remain at the bottom of the list for contacting their customers about the coronavirus pandemic, according to new research from Consumer Intelligence.

The data reveals people are more likely to have heard from fast food companies and their gym than their insurance company.

Despite a marked improvement over the last three weeks – moving the figure of customers contacted from 35% to 52% – insurers remain at the bottom of the list when it comes to customer communication.

The sector that comes out on top for communication, despite facing huge challenges with supply chains and delivery services, is supermarkets. 89% of the of 987 respondents who are responsible for buying groceries say they have heard from their supermarket in recent times.

Sector Yes, I have received a communication
Supermarkets 89%
Banks 83%
Fast food companies 68%
Gyms 65%
Mortgage providers 59%
Insurance providers 52%

Last month, the Financial Conduct Authority wrote to insurance CEOs in an effort to ensure the sector is doing everything it can to support its customers where many are now vulnerable because of the coronavirus pandemic. It also warned customers’ behaviours would change because of it, such as having to keep work items at home and expected that claims wouldn’t be rejected for reasons out of their control.

As part of the response, the Government has announced that mortgage providers will be offering payment holidays to customers facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. However, when Consumer Intelligence asked homeowners whether their mortgage provider had been in touch with them about the matter, only 59% say they have been contacted.

The poll also revealed that 28% of people due to renew their insurance in the coming month were worried about not being able to afford the premium. 37% of them had already discussed their concern with their insurance provider, with reports of the response ranging from “poor” to “spot on” and “very effective”.

Consumer Intelligence CEO, Ian Hughes says: “In a crisis, communication is key. At this point in time, consumers need information and clarity from their service providers, and they need empathy. Many will face financial hardship in the coming weeks and months, and people are worrying about how they are going to survive. It is imperative that all sectors maintain open lines of communication to provide peace of mind for their customers at this very difficult time. Consumers have long memories.”

The poll also underscored that people can feel differently about the meat of the message and the means of its delivery. Some 66% of respondents said they were impressed by the UK Government’s providing of information and updates – but only 35% were impressed with the Government’s preparations for a UK outbreak.