Oliver Crawford

By Oliver Crawford

How much does the public trust their insurance providers?

At Fairer Finance, we've been tracking public attitudes on insurance for several years. We do this by polling 10,000 customers every six months through the polling company Opinium and asking them 'Based on everything you know about this insurer, to what extent would you agree or disagree with the following statement - "I trust [name of their insurer]"'.

We take the responses to this question and convert them into a trust score, which we use to track trust in insurers over time through our Trust in Insurance Index.

The latest update to the index - Spring 2024 (which includes polling completed in February) - shows that trust in insurers has fallen on average since the Autumn 2023 edition of the index, after a long period of general improvement since 2017.

At a sub-sector level, trust fell most in car insurance providers, followed by home insurance, then travel insurance. Trust rose slightly in pet insurance providers, who are now more trusted than providers in other sectors on average. Travel remains the insurance sub-sector with the lowest levels of trust - a result that has been consistent since the Coronavirus pandemic began in 2020.

Why is trust in insurance falling?

Since Autumn 2023, we have been tracking whether customers who have made a claim in the last three years with their provider have different attitudes to those who haven't.

As the figure below shows, customers who have made a claim have greater levels of trust than those who haven't. This is true across all insurance sub-sectors.

On average, trust fell more among those who hadn't made a claim in the last three years (the majority of customers) compared to those who had. This suggests the issues may not be with the claims handling process, but with other aspects of the policy.

To determine why respondents were unhappy with their providers, we asked those who said they were dissatisfied with their insurer why they were unhappy. The top six reasons, on average, were:

  • The cost of the policy (47%)

  • Poor customer service (30%)

  • Issues with the provider (28%)

  • Difficulty in managing claims (21%)

  • Poor levels of cover (16%)

  • Difficulty in managing the policy (12%)

Because customer trust and customer satisfaction tend to be highly correlated, these results indicate that price is a particular cause for customer dissatisfaction and potential mistrust.

Across all sub-sectors, the proportion of unhappy customers citing price as the reason for their dissatisfaction rose between the Autumn 2023 and Spring 2024 editions of the index. The rise was particularly dramatic in car insurance, which is also the sector where trust dipped the most.

This suggests rising premiums are becoming relatively more dominant as a source of customer unhappiness, which may well be eroding trust in insurance providers. In a word, if customers feel price rises are unfair, they will trust their provider less.