Technology Use By Uninsured Consumers on the Rise

A recently released report shows that insurance providers may gain more customers by targeting uninsured individuals via the Internet. Forrester Research's survey of more than 61,000 North American households pinpoints a subset of the uninsured that is likely to be seeking health insurance and makes recommendations to insurance providers for targeting these consumers. The report shows that 27 percent of Americans who are without health insurance are actively seeking coverage. And that group is turning to the Internet at increasing rates to do research on insurance and to apply for insurance policies. Forty-four percent of uninsured consumers who plan to apply for health insurance in the next year say they will do so online, according to the report. Brad Holmes, a research director at Forrester, says that in spite of the fact that many in this group are going through economic or physical hardship, they are also going online, purchasing online, getting broadband connections, and becoming increasingly more comfortable with mobile phones and home PCs faster than the general population. This group of consumers is referred to as active investigators, and is defined by a handful of similar characteristics. According to the report they likely have annual household incomes of more than $25,000, but may have recently undergone a decline in their financial status. They try to stay fit and are concerned about their health. They have an aversion to financial risk and are concerned about their financial future. And they are technology savvy. Sixty-two percent go online more than once a month. They're also more likely to incorporate technology into their daily lives than uninsured consumers who are not pursuing coverage. A study by market researcher Gartner shows that 6 percent of insurance companies' efforts using CRM are to identify new customers, while 20 percent of efforts are aimed at acquiring new customers. Many insurance companies are already leveraging the Internet with their existing customers. Those same insurance companies are also experiencing a decline in face-to-face interaction with customers, and are already expanding beyond the telephone to other mediums, including fax, email, and the Internet, to interact with their existing customers. The Internet is currently being used by 66 percent of insurers with CRM as a method of communicating with customers.
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