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Why trusted sources are critical for insurance buyers

The COVID-19 crisis has led to significant changes in customer behaviour across many industries, and there is a high likelihood these changes will last well into the future.

But for many Australians, COVID-19 is just the latest in a series of crises that have experienced along with unprecedented droughts, floods, and bushfires.

Such events have dominated the news cycle for the past year, creating conditions that are disrupting people’s loyalties and behaviours, in much the same way as happens during major life events such as moving to a new house or having a baby. This disruption is prompting consumers to review their existing insurance policies and approach renewals with a different mindset.

A challenge and an opportunity for insurers

Recent research conducted by Enhanced Media Metrics Australia (emma) found the percentage of people who intend to seek a new provider almost doubled between December 2019 and June 2020, rising from 3.8 per cent of policyholders to 5.7 per cent.

Although this percentage might sound small, according to APRA data, it represents more than $430 million in premiums revenue.

For insurance brands, this behaviour change creates a challenge to ensure they don’t lose existing policyholders, but also an opportunity to win new business. In either case, the requirement is for brands to be present in the right location with the right brand message when individuals are considering whether to retain or switch providers.

The right place at the right time

Another change in the behaviour of Australian consumers through 2020 has been a significant increase in news consumption, as people have increasingly turned to trusted news sources to stay up to date with the latest developments in the crisis.

According to emma, news brand readership experienced a 2.9 per cent increase in readership from June 2019 to June 2020, demonstrating how Australians turned to trusted news sources at a time when health issues were more prominent in their minds. emma has also found that news brands reach 95 per cent of Australian insurance purchasers.

This change presents represents a significant opportunity for insurance companies to use news brands to reach customers when they are thinking about their insurance needs.

For health insurers particularly, news readers represent a desirable audience, with emma data showing 44 per cent of newspaper readers hold a health insurance policy, while ABS data shows readers being 27 per cent more likely to be in the top 20 per cent of spenders on medical and health.

And in terms of effectiveness, research by The IPA Databank in 2019 found that 21 per cent of campaigns that used news brands reported a very large effect on loyalty. Furthermore, research commissioned by ThinkNewsBrands found newspapers produced a 42 per cent recall rate for health campaigns, second only to television, and news media is the highest-rated media channel used by purchasers when researching providers.

At the heart of the effectiveness of news media is context. An authority on matters of finance, property, health and lifestyle, news brands offer a contextually relevant environment for insurance advertisers to speak to consumers. 

The power of news brands during the COVID-19 crisis has been recognised by numerous organisations, with the e-commerce and auctions company Grays making a return to newspaper print advertising. Speaking with CMO.com.au, Grays’ head of e-commerce Natalie Ashes said the results seen were far stronger than those reported when the company had used newsprint advertising previously.

During the pandemic, many brands have turned to news media to communicate important messages to their customers, both existing and potential. One example is nab which ran a full-page community service notice in print mastheads to inform customers how it would be supporting them through this time, a strategy that capitalised on the reach and influence of the medium.

With Australians thinking more now about how they will protect their futures, insurers have a rare opportunity to win new customers. But doing so requires having the right offer in front of customers at the right time.

As research has shown, news brands are not only a trusted source of information, but they also provide a unique opportunity to reach customers during times of upheaval. By being present in this moment, news brands have the power to influence the path to purchase for insurance brands.

That makes news brands the ideal media channel for reaching customers as they enter the consideration phase by providing insurers with the opportunity to win new business and reinforce the value provided to existing customers.

Find out more about how news brands support growth in the insurance category. Click here to download the report, Advertising effectiveness on the insurance path to purchase

 

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