Oliver Crawford

By Oliver Crawford

Every six months, Fairer Finance polls around 10,000 customers via the pollster Opinium to ask them how much they trust their insurer.*

Using our polling data - which goes back to 2017 for car insurance, home insurance, pet insurance and travel insurance - we have created 'Trust in Insurance Index'. The point of this index is to track how far the public trusts their insurers - and to measure how attitudes have changed over time.

The results show that trust in insurance has risen across the board since 2017. Since 2020, there has been a consistent hierarchy of insurance sectors: car insurance and pet insurance are the most trusted sectors, then home insurance, with travel insurance some way behind.

The increase in trust has been driven by more respondents saying they 'strongly agree' that they trust their provider, with fewer saying they 'neither agree nor disagree' that they trust their insurer (as shown in the example of car insurance below).

Over the same period customer satisfaction has also risen, though less dramatically than customer trust. When it comes to customer satisfaction there is a similar ordering of sectors, with car insurance at the top, home and pet insurance in the middle, and travel insurance at the bottom.

The period during which travel insurance has fallen behind the other sectors (2020-23) is also a period during which there have been relatively more complaints upheld by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) relating to travel insurance, as shown by the figure below.

There was also a large increase in the volume of travel insurance complaints referred to the FOS in 2020-21, though since then the numbers have come down. As the FOS noted at the time, many of these claims related to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which interrupted international travel leading to widespread cancellations. Though the pandemic is now affecting fewer journeys than in 2020-21, it may have reduced trust (and satisfaction) in the travel insurance sector relative to other types of insurance.

When asked why they are unhappy with their travel insurance provider, the leading reasons given by customers are:

  • I have had issues with [the provider] - 32%

  • It is expensive - 30%

  • They have poor customer service - 30%

  • They give a poor level of cover - 21%

  • It is difficult to manage my claim - 16%

  • It is difficult to manage my policy - 15%

(Sample size: 345 - only respondents who said they were 'fairly dissatisfied' or 'extremely dissatisfied' are asked the reason for their dissatisfaction. Respondents can choose multiple options.)

What drives customer trust?

At a provider level, most firms have a trust score in the 40-60 range, with a few outliers with very high and very low trust.

Some providers do consistently well on trust while others do consistently badly. In travel insurance, for example, Post Office, Saga, Aviva and Santander have been consistently above-average when it comes to customer trust. Go Travel Insurance, Leisure Guard and Puffin Insurance have been consistently below average.

Insurers with very high levels of trust (a trust score greater than 70) tend to have a higher proportion of customers who say that their provider has good customer service, a good reputation and a good level of cover, compared to the average for all insurers.

Highly trusted insurers also tend to have fewer customers saying they chose the provider because it was the cheapest on a comparison site.

Firms that are trusted by their customers tend to have happier customers. There is a strong correlation (0.87) between customer trust and customer happiness across car, home, pet and travel insurers. (Customer happiness scores are calculated in the same way as customer trust scores.**)

There is also a relatively strong correlation (0.63), at a firm level, between trust scores and the percentage of customers who agree that a provider has good customer service. This suggests that a good record on customer service is an important driver of customer trust.

In contrast, there is a moderate negative correlation (-0.49) between trust and the percentage of customers who picked a product because it was the cheapest on a comparison site.

You can access the full data behind the index on the Fairer Finance Insight Portal. For information on this, or for any questions about the index, contact corporate@fairerfinance.com

* Participants are asked the following question: "Based on everything you know about this insurer, to what extent would you agree or disagree with the following statement - 'I trust [name of provider]'?".

Respondents answer once for every type of insurance policy they're responsible for buying. The question has the following options: "strongly agree", "agree", "neither agree nor disagree", "disagree" and "strongly disagree".

The trust index score is calculated using the following formula: ((% answering strongly agree x 2) + (% answering agree) + (% answering disagree x -1) + (% answering strongly disagree x -2))/ 2.

We use this formula to subtract those who distrust a provider from those who trust them, to give additional weight to those answering strongly agree and strongly disagree, and to create a single score to compare sectors and track change over time.

** Participants are asked the following question: 'Thinking about the overall service that you receive from your insurer, how satisfied are you?'

Respondents answer once for every type of insurance policy they're responsible for buying. The question has the following options: "extremely satisfied", "satisfied", "neither satisfied nor dissatisfied", "dissatisfied" and "extremely dissatisfied".

Happiness scores are calculated using the following formula: ((% answering extremely satisfied x 2) + (% answering satisfied) + (% answering extremely dissatisfied x -1) + (% answering strongly extremely dissatisfied x -2))/ 2.