* Even with the ongoing economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, overall personal auto insurance shopping rates in the first half of 2020 surpassed 2019 levels. The 2020 Insurance Shopping Annual Report from TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) found overall shopping rates were higher year over year in the first few months of 2020 until the week of March 22--near the onset of the pandemic--when shopping plummeted 14% below the previous year. However, shopping rates reversed in May and have continued to trend higher through June.
Many factors are impacting auto insurance shopping--particularly amidst COVID-19--and these dynamics vary across generations, regions and financial situations. To better understand these driving forces, TransUnion conducted an online survey of more than 3,000 U.S. auto insurance policyholders, aged 18 years or older, during the week of July 27.
Nearly one-third (30%) of survey respondents said a major life event was a key force behind their decision to shop for auto insurance, followed by a need to reduce expenses due to COVID-19's impact on household income (24%). Typical life events that drive auto insurance shopping include marriage, having a child, buying a new home, among others. As the COVID-19 pandemic lingers, new life events may be impacting the need for auto insurance shopping, including job loss, reduction in pay, etc.
"While our annual insurance shopping report shows shopping has stabilized for the time being, we will likely see shifts in these trends due to the significant, ongoing financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Mark McElroy, executive vice president and head of TransUnions insurance business unit. "The state of auto insurance shopping remains uncertain, and it will be critical for insurance carriers to adapt to these changing shopping behaviors and differing consumer needs. Our latest report helps equip carriers with timely insights to build a reliable basis of trust between insurance businesses and their customers."
Before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in early March, TransUnion observed insurance shopping rates trended higher on an annual basis for eight straight months. This upward trend was directly correlated to the insurance industry's increased marketing spend from 2012 to 2019.1
As the pandemic set in and many individuals limited their miles driven, advertising spending fell 2 and carriers turned their attention to positioning themselves as partners in these uncertain times...