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Life insurers warned to watch service

Zurich, AIA and Asteron rate best for service levels among advisers, according to an Investment Trends report on life insurance.

Senior Analyst Recep Peker says advisers were asked to assess insurers across 100 performance factors.

“Satisfaction is crucial in the [life] insurance space because business is not very ‘sticky’,” he told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“That’s why there is a very strong relationship between satisfaction and switching behaviour.”

Planners’ overall satisfaction with their most-used insurance providers remained high.

However, the number of days taken to underwrite policies was an area of concern. Mr Peker says the average time has risen since last year.

“The underwriting process is the strongest driver of overall satisfaction with insurers,” he said. “Underwriting is very important for both acquisition and retention, and it will be a key battleground for insurance providers during the next year.”

The report says 75% of advisers now use platforms for sourcing life insurance products.

Mr Peker says advisers want to “aggressively expand” the number of providers they have access to and use.

“The smaller [platform] operators, such as Netwealth, are meeting this need. Among the bigger platforms, the trend is still to have just one insurer, but the younger platforms are going for a wider choice.”

He says advisers now use more insurers, following a period in which they consolidated their approved lists.

The report shows advisers use 3.7 insurers on average, up from 3.4 last year.

It says loyalty is on the wane, with 40% of advisers dumping at least one insurer in the past year, up from 35%.

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