Consumers Want Great Service And Social Responsibility, Ipsos Survey Shows
October 4, 2006 New York, NY – It takes more than good service to impress consumers these days, reveals an Ipsos survey of insurance company reputations.
Other than service, what distinguishes the most highly regarded and most trusted insurance companies in America from the industry as a whole is the public’s perceptions about their social responsibility and management.
�We found that the best performers are both market leaders and smaller companies that occupy a niche,� says Nicolas Boyon, a Senior Vice President with Ipsos Public Affairs and author of the study on consumer perceptions of the insurance industry. �What they have in common is a strong rapport with the public. They�ve regularly and consistently communicated their social values and contributions. They are seen to care about the community, about their employees and about being ethical.�
After Hurricane Katrina devastated many parts of the Gulf Coast in 2005, Ipsos began rigorously tracking the insurance industry�s overall reputation�and that of over 30 companies-on a continuous basis, interviewing thousands of American adults in the process, on a range of issues.
The Ipsos study shows that while the reputation of the insurance industry as a whole is relatively poor, every single individual company is doing better-and in some cases, far better, Boyon noted.
An industry with an image problem
More Americans hold an “unfavorable” opinion of the insurance industry (44%) than have a �favorable� opinion (21%) while 35% are neither favorable nor unfavorable. Among other sectors measured, only the oil and gas industry fares more poorly (11% favorable vs. 72% unfavorable). At the other end of the spectrum, the food and beverage industry, and charity sector, enjoy favorability scores of 61% and 60% respectively.
The area the insurance industry is perceived to be the best at is �being profitable and providing a good return to shareholders.� This is also the characteristic that is least likely to generate favorability from the general public, ongoing tracking shows.
The industry continues to suffer from a poor image around social responsibility, which has a much greater impact on favorability. More Americans rate the individual insurance industry�s performance as �poor� for being trustworthy, having ethical practices and for caring about communities than rate it as �good�.
Individual companies fare better
The image of individual insurance companies contrasts with that of the industry. Some of the 30 leading companies studied are viewed favorably by as many as 50% of the American public, and none is viewed unfavorably by more than 12%.
Insurance companies with the highest favorability scores tend to be those with the most policyholders and/or the better known ones, showing that, as in other sectors, market share and awareness are major predictors of favorability.
However, favorability scores are also largely driven by perceived performance related to service, social responsibility and management. This is how certain insurance companies, some large and some not so large, distinguish themselves from their competitors.
Customers as advocates
The best-regarded insurance companies also capitalize on the favorable opinion of their policyholders and can count on their active support as advocates. The best-rated companies, many of which are market leaders, receive a favorable opinion from over 80% of their policyholders.
This may explain why, one year after Katrina, an Ipsos survey revealed that that nine in 10 homeowners in the Gulf Region (89% in Louisiana and 93% Mississippi) were satisfied with their insurance company.
Results based on interviews conducted online with a representative sample of 4,167 adults nationwide, August 3-28, 2006 and interviews conducted by telephone with a representative sample of 881 adults homeowners in Louisiana and Mississippi, August 1-7, 2006.
About Ipsos Public Affairs
Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research company made up of campaign and political polling veterans as well as seasoned research professionals. The company conducts strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research but often elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research. It has offices in Chicago, New York City, Ottawa, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington, D.C., with affiliates around the world. Ipsos Public Affairs conducts national and international public opinion polling on behalf of The Associated Press, the world�s oldest and largest news organization. Ipsos Public Affairs is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group. To learn more, please visit www.ipsos-na.com.
Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals. Ipsos helps interpret, simulate, and anticipate the needs and responses of consumers, customers, and citizens around the world. Member companies assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media. They measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos member companies offer expertise in advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, and public affairs research, as well as forecasting, modeling, and consulting. Ipsos has a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies. The company was founded in 1975 and has been publicly traded since 1999. In 2005, Ipsos generated global revenues of �717.8 million ($853.8 million U.S.). Visit www.ipsos.com to learn more about Ipsos offerings and capabilities.