What People REALLY feel about Life Insurance [Surprising Truths]

Posted 2 February, 2017 by Clearly
in Opinion

Late last year, we got hit hard by a case of severe curiosity.


What do people really feel about Insurance agents?

What matters most when it comes down to the buying process?

Are people ready to self-serve?


Over one too many cups of coffee and brainstorming sessions, we cobbled together a list of questions that we thought would provide the most insight into the customer psyche.

Our target group consisted of individuals based in Singapore, aged 27 – 55 and we collected over 200 complete responses. (Credit to Vase.co, the online data collection specialists who helped us execute this survey)


Once you are ready, the rabbit hole awaits. Caution: Liberal use of memes straight ahead.



Do you have any existing Life Insurance?




Close to three-quarters of the respondents have Life Insurance. That’s a good start, and we shall drill down into the individual behaviors of those who have Insurance (Buyers) vs those who don’t (Non-Buyers) in the next couple of questions.

(Technically, everyone in Singapore is supposed to have Insurance, in the form of Medishield Life, CPF Dependents’ Scheme or even Eldershield)


[Buyers] Do you intend to buy another Life Insurance policy?



More Insurance for you, kind Sir?

Evidently, enough is enough.


[Non-Buyers] Do you intend to buy Life Insurance?




Takeaway: People that don’t have Life Insurance are twice as likely to want to buy it in the future.


[Buyers] From Whom did you buy your policies from?

(May select more than one)




The most popular mode of policy acquisition is still from the classical Insurance Agent, although Direct Purchase looks to be an upcoming trend.


[Non-Buyers] If you were to buy Life Insurance, who would you buy it from?

(May select more than one)




Surprise! Our humble Insurance Agent option still looks like a viable choice, but Direct Purchase should give our agents a run for their money.

(Technically – again – no one really “needs” to buy Insurance from the government. We included the option in there to gauge popularity)


[Buyers] Before buying Life Insurance, did you search for additional information before making the purchase?




Only 37% of the buyers jumped into the pool without getting their toes wet. The majority of buyers chose to equip themselves with more information first before signing the dotted line.


[Non-Buyers] If you were to buy Life Insurance, would you search for additional information before making the purchase?




…and the trend is clear. For people yet to pop the cherry of Insurance purchases, they are more likely to do their homework before committing.


What sources of Life Insurance information would you consider to be credible?

(May select more than one)




Well well well! Despite all our usual gripes at our Insurance agent buddies, they still at the top of mind when it comes to information dissemination.

Friends and family rank highly as well (thanks, Mum!), with online education claiming the 3rd spot.


Do you think Life Insurance prices are easily available for you to compare?




Alas! We know of an incredibly easy site that allows you to compare prices.

Just head down here. So easy, it’s addictive.


Currently, do you feel you are:




The response to this question required the respondent to be open with him/herself. To our relief, over half of them actually are. It is, however, impossible to ascertain the accuracy of their self-assessment.


Are you aware that part of your premiums paid will go to the Financial Adviser / Insurance Agent as his or her commission?




Given a choice, how do you think Financial Advisers / Insurance Agents should be renumerated?




Long have we felt that commission model has too much conflict of interest between agent and customer – and looks like we are not alone.

But apart from being salaried, commissions still look to be the next most acceptable way for agents to get paid, with the consultation fee model a distant, distant, third choice.


What are your top 3 considerations when buying Life Insurance?

(May select more than one)



Here comes the money question! And true to Singaporean form, price is king. We care more about the value of a product than typically lauded qualities like Service or a Good Relationship.

In fact reputation of the Insurer matters even more than service – we inherently know that while Agents may come or go, the Insurers are far more evergreen.


How likely are you to reveal your full financial details to your Financial Planner / Agent?

(1= Not Likely at all, 5 = Extremely Likely)



Phew! Only about 1 in 10 people are not too comfortable with giving the relevant information for Planners to do their jobs properly.

You wouldn’t expect a diagnosis from a doctor without at least describing your symptoms, and its nigh impossible for a planner to work without input from you.


How likely are you to buy Life Insurance online (without help from a Financial Adviser / Agent)?

(1= Not Likely at all, 5 = Extremely Likely)



Woah! Around 48% of people selected options 1 and 2, feeling more comfortable if Agent Lucy or Planner Ivan were around to help them instead.


How likely are you to use an online Financial Planning tool to understand your insurance needs?

(1= Not Likely at all, 5 = Extremely Likely)



33% of respondents selected options 4 and 5, and would have no hesitation in using an online Planning tool. 38% presumably are at least open to the idea.

Luckily for them, we know of a FANTASTIC Financial Needs tool here.


Currently, what is your income bracket? (Annual Income)




Most of our respondents fall within the median wage income – not likely that any Bill Gates took part.


Have you heard of ClearlySurely.com?





Enough said

We’ve certainly got our work cut out for us.


Closing thoughts


While this is not by any means a perfect survey with a huge sample size, we believe that the results and trends observed are credible. The respondents were polled online, and thus digitally savvy (or competent at the very least). They were also not influenced in any way by freebies or cash incentives.

If you are an Agent or Financial Planner reading this, take heart in the fact that you are still very relevant in the scene.


What’s left for us is to properly develop the technology to complement the efforts of our Insurance sales people – making it faster, cheaper, and more convenient for everyone to be properly insured.

As so aptly put by a Chief Marketing Officer of a new Insurer: “With more options and more technology, it is the customer that comes out on top.”


We would love to hear your views about this survey! Just post your thoughts in the comments below.

www.ClearlySurely.com aims to eradicate the knowledge gap between consumers and Life Insurance. Our Vision is that one day, every Man, Woman, and Child will be properly insured.

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