The number of individuals who used the Internet to research individual insurance or annuity products rose more than 60 percent in the past six years, according to new research by LIMRA.
Sixty-one percent of consumers who researched individual insurance or annuity products did so online, compared to 38 percent who looked online in 2006.
Sixty-nine percent of consumers sought information from agents, brokers and advisors, who they viewed as a valuable and influential information sources, said Mary Art, research director, LIMRA technology research.
Most people who turned to the Internet did so because of the research companies and product offerings available online, to seek general product information or to compare prices, LIMRA found. This was true for all age groups and income levels.
In 2006, only 18 percent of recent researchers considered Internet sources to be their most valuable sources compared to 25 percent in 2012. Sixteen percent cited workplace sources as most valuable.
"Companies need to understand that one size does not fit all when it comes to educating consumers about products and services," Art said. "Using a multi-channel approach will reach a broader audience in the ways they want to collect information and will most likely lead to more sales."
Men and younger, higher-income, better-educated consumers look online more often than other demographic groups. Sixty-five percent of men used the Internet for research, compared with just 58 percent of women. Interestingly, consumers without children were far more likely to seek information online (67 percent) compared with those who had children (58 percent).
Seventy-three percent of Gen Y consumers seek information online, compared to 61 percent of GenXers and 56 percent of Baby Boomers.
Consumers are spurred on to do their own research by insurance professionals, people they know, life events and employers.
LIMRA is a worldwide research, consulting and professional development organization for insurance and financial services companies in 73 countries.