Factors influencing the consumer's choice of insurer when purchasing insurance risk products.
South African insurance industry research conducted by KPMG (2014), indicates that the number of South Africans who own insurance risk cover is lower than the expected number, yet the insurance industry is one of the largest contributors to the South African economy. Research conducted by the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (2013) cited in (Van der Merwe Life, 2013) revealed that South Africans were underinsured for death and disability by 60%. The shortfall between the consumer owned disability and life risk benefit and the actual risk benefit requirements of employed South Africans amounts to R24 trillion. This amounts to a risk benefit shortfall of R700 000 on average, per employed consumer. The gap and shortfall due to South Africans being underinsured is a concerning one as the payment of policy benefits and claims by insurance companies stimulates the economy and facilitates financial markets. Insurance cover permits individuals and businesses to recover after life changing events. Insurers use factors within their control such as product assortment, advertising and pricing to influence customers’ buying behaviour. The aim of this research is to understand which factors influence consumer’s choice of insurer when purchasing risk benefits. Under this study the main focus is to identify whether consumers are influenced by product features, advertising, pricing or brand relationship with insurance companies. A random sample of 150 participants was drawn consisting of individuals who are 20 years or older; who have bought a risk insurance benefit and those that have not bought, but qualify to do so. From the sample, 90.12% own a risk benefit and 9.88% do not. An electronic questionnaire was developed by the researcher as a tool for data collection for this study. The statistical analysis revealed that there is a significant relationship between age and premium as well as a statistical relationship between income and advertising as a factor that influences consumer’s choice of insurer. The statistical analysis further revealed that of the four factors: premium, advertising, product feature and brand image; brand image is considered by the participants of this study as the most influential factor when choosing an insurer from which to purchase a risk benefit.