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What Direct Insurers Can Learn from Insurance Aggregators


In April and May 2017, we analysed 33 UK home insurance quotation forms. Using 52 metrics ranging from the number of fields to time taken to complete, our comprehensive research focused on every aspect of the form. This allowed us to rank and rate each one based on critical factors that could affect conversions.

The results were revealing.

How you design your form has the power to make a difference. Minor tweaks can result in major wins: one more customer completing your form, ten more, 100 more …

So, here’s my insight into what the aggregators are doing differently to direct insurers. Adopting some of these techniques within your own online forms will help you to:

Increase conversion rates
Decrease cost per quote
Decrease marketing CPAs
Capitalise on optimisation opportunities
Improve UX by saving time, effort and hassle for the customer

What the aggregators are doing right

Use of fields

Insurance aggregators favour radio buttons (where the user has a choice of two or more clickable items). This is because they provide ready-made answers to questions and require only one click, cutting down on interaction and time for the consumer.

This quick trick means that radio buttons make up almost half (46%) of field types across aggregator websites compared to 39% for direct insurers. Radio buttons, which are significantly quicker to complete than drop-downs, also have the bonus of being customisable to incorporate design elements and reflect a brand.

Similarly, quick-to-complete tick boxes are used more by the aggregators, making up 14% of fields compared to just 4% for direct insurers.

Aggregators also use fewer drop downs – 18% compared to 28% of direct insurers’ fields – which, with no unfurling and no need to absorb lots of information, save time.

And by default, more text boxes (28%) are used by direct companies than the aggregators (21%) which take longer to complete and are more error-prone.

Every step in a form adds another layer of complexity. Using the right field options can help keep it simple.

Mobile-friendly keyboards

A simple and effective tool to make inputting data quick and easy is the use of mobile-friendly keyboards. Offering customers the most appropriate keyboard for specific data significantly streamlines the UX.

60% of aggregators use both an email keyboard and a number keyboard option within relevant fields, compared to 59% for email and 52% for number keyboards across direct insurers.

These differences may appear small but they often swing the balance between form completion and form abandonment.

Mobile-friendly keyboards can hold your customer’s attention by making their life easier.

No fields are *required

None of the aggregators include *required fields, compared to 44% of direct insurers who do. This may be surprising. Don’t they need to ensure that crucially important data is captured?

Look at it the other way and could it be because they don’t include any optional fields? This technique makes the form as uncluttered as possible and improves the overall UX.

Aggregators must meet the information needs of many different insurers so the number of fields used is inevitably high – an average of 76 compared to 53 for direct insurers. Keeping that figure low is vital, so every trick in the book needs to be used.

Radio buttons help here too. Aggregator forms take longer on average to complete than direct forms (290 vs 236 seconds) because they have more fields. But this time would be even higher if it wasn’t for their love of speedy radio buttons and tick boxes.

But don’t be fooled that the aggregators have got it all figured out. They still have significant optimisation opportunities.

What they could do better

Inline validation

Inline validation is a straightforward way to improve UX, reducing frustration and the possibility of abandonment. By simply highlighting errors while the user moves through the form, rather than saving up the bad news until they’ve completed a full step, your form will flow rather than flounder.

Almost half (40%) of the aggregators don’t use inline validation at all, with the remaining 60% highlighting only on error. No aggregator insurers use it on both success and error compared to 26% of direct insurers who do. Only 22% of direct companies don’t embrace inline validation and 52% do it only on error.

Use inline validation to let your customers know that you appreciate their time is precious.

Confirming critical information

Only 20% of aggregators ask for email addresses to be inputted twice, compared to 37% of direct companies. 7% of the latter also ask for telephone numbers to be confirmed while no aggregators ask for this information.

Omitting both confirmations reduces the number of fields by two, marginally speeding up the form completion process. But the danger here is that you could be receiving inaccurate contact information.

Home insurance forms are long by their very nature but how long is too long? Is placing length ahead of other considerations such as data capture advisable?

The truth is there are no definitive answers until you start testing it.

So, how do your forms look today? Are they working as efficiently as they possibly can? Could small but significant changes be made? Get them right and you will reap the benefits.