Client loyalty in the long term insurance industry.
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Background In recent times the insurance industry has seen rapid migration of clients among the different companies in search of better rates from the latest intermediary. Cancellation and surrenders of policies have marked this migration of clients. Clients are dependent on brokers for advice, thus making client loyalty dependent on the relationship between the intermediary and the client. In this model there is a gap in the relationship between client and company. Objectives The primary objective of this study is to elucidate the preconception that client loyalty is dependent on the relationship that an intermediary has with a client. The secondary objective of this study is to determine how clients' perceptions and attitudes lends itself to either clients remaining with, or leaving a particular insurer in favour of another. Methods Data was collected by means of a research questionnaire received from 50 respondents, made of clients from the Sanlam Broker Services database. Open ended questions and disconfirmation scales were used. One sample chi-square was used to test the hypotheses. Results Despite clients having received expected levels and better than expected levels of service from a company, clients still prefer to deal with an advisor. The factors that affect clients' decision to remain or migrate to another company are service, reputation, performance and rates. The most common factors for discontentment are poor service, misrepresentation, lack of confidentiality, and poor performance. It was also found that that there is a higher degree of awareness and membership among higher income earners than lower income earners. Conclusion It is recommended that more than demographic knowledge be accessed to keep clients loyal. Lifestyle studies need to be conducted and perhaps this information used to develop innovative marketing strategies. Partnerships with successful existing loyalty programmes also need to be explored as a client retention mechanism. Client loyalty cannot be explored in isolation. It must encompass the entire organization. There is ample evidence in the literature review to support this view.