Latin America Customer Survey Report 2013: listening to the continent

Latin America is a dynamic sector of the world economy and its consumers are among the most important potential buyers of insurance. In April 2013 Swiss Re asked over 5,000 people across six countries on the continent their views on life & health protection. Latin America Customer Survey Report 2013: capturing future opportunities analyses the results.

One of the survey's chief aims is to help insurers develop customized, affordable products. Its findings are based on interviews conducted in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Puerto Rico. The report is augmented by two additional publications which provide deep-dive analyses of the markets in Brazil (PDF, 914 KB) and Mexico (PDF, 723 KB).

Simplicity, visibility important

Latin America Customer Survey Report 2013: capturing future opportunities (PDF, 1.15 MB)reveals that affordability is a significant obstacle to insurance penetration, but not the main one. The study highlights a paradox:  on the one hand, many people perceive life insurance to be too expensive.

On the other, people say they are willing to pay more than the current price of cover. That said, simplification and increased transparency in product design, sales process and underwriting procedures would make products more attractive and accessible.

Regarding information sources and distribution channels used, survey respondents cite both the internet and traditional channels such as agents and brokers. The exception is Brazil, where bancassurance still dominates the market.

On the product side, foremost in people's minds are serious illness and long-term care concerns, as well as life insurance and retirement covers.

Insurance protection worries, understandable coverage at forefront

The key takeaway from the survey is the important gap revealed between what respondents worry about and the insurance protection they currently have. This shortfall is most pronounced in the field of long-term care.

The writers of the report also acknowledge the substantial growth potential among the least prosperous socio-economic groups. To address this issue, they call on the insurance industry to develop efficient micro-insurance products.

Latin America Customer Survey Report 2013 also concludes that insurers should not only focus on affordability issues but also on efforts to describe and present the coverage provided in way that  is simple and understandable.

In addition, the writers note that the industry would be well advised to invest time and money in a thorough marketing process for acquiring new customers. The resulting long-term value and loyalty, they say, will more than compensate for the initial expenditure.

Published 11 February 2014

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