Too much online activity could hit consumer insurance claims

6th November 2014

Just 29% of consumers think it is fair for insurance companies to use social media posts to check the validity of claims, research from Consumer Intelligence has shown

The group’s analysis found that there is a distinct lack of awareness about the information sources insurers can use, with a third of consumers unaware that insurers might use social media when checking claims.

Consumer Intelligence conducted research to assess customer knowledge of the methods used to check claims and provide quotes by insurers, which can include looking at social media and creditworthiness as well as car registration data and vehicle offences.

Its study of consumer attitudes around data use by insurance firms showed widespread concern – 72% say they believe firms do not properly explain the amount of information they can access.

The growing use of technology and data collection for settling claims and quoting prices has many potential benefits for customers – prices can be kept under control and more individually tailored when more information is used.

But the survey found widespread resistance to data use by companies with just 53% believing it is fair for insurers to share information with other companies and only 63% believing it fair motor insurers can use DVLA data.

However, the highest level of resistance is to the use of social media and credit records – only 28% believe it is fair insurers can check financial status.

Ian Hughes of Consumer Intelligence said: “Consumers need to be aware that insurers routinely share information and that they can use multiple sources to obtain information about the individual.

“We’ve all heard stories about people subsequently regretting updates or photos they’ve shared on social media and these can also affect insurance claims.

Insurers ought to be clearer about the information that they can get from third parties in order to assess consumers’ risk profiles and, in some instances, to investigate claims.”

Despite the opposition to data use, 62% believe insurers will vary quotes depending on people’s financial status and 67% believe insurers will do the same with social media.

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