Ideas & musings about consumer behaviour

How are Irish Health Insurance Providers going to win Online in the Age of LCR?

Author: Marie Sheehan

With Lifetime Community Rating (LCR) being introduced in Ireland at the start of next month, let’s take a look at which Irish health insurance provider attracts more potential customers online…and why.

First, we measured each provider’s performance
The Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness (DME)* programme measures how effective Irish health insurance providers are at attracting customers online. It identifies both the barriers and enablers to how and who consumers shortlist in the online purchasing decision journey, what drives final preference and crucially WHY potential customers pick one health insurance provider over another.

The most recent iteration of the Global Reviews Irish health insurance providers DME programme took place in February 2015 and before that it ran in August 2014.

Let’s have a look and see what’s happened in those six months…

What’s important to health insurance customers in Ireland is changing
The market is evolving.

Over time the reasons Irish consumers give for choosing one provider over another are increasingly about product details that meet their needs. Essentially Irish consumers want providers to show them the policies that suit them best, but at the same time giving them options to choose from and making sure that it is all easy to understand.

The importance of brand relationship is beginning to erode
Irish consumers are shopping around more.

“I have used them before” has dropped as a reason to purchase from 35% of consumers to just 30% in the six month period August 2014 to February 2015. Trust in a company and previous brand relationship is becoming less important.

With LCR becoming a reality, it makes it all to play for!

Brand awareness is not enough
Not surprisingly, as the legacy health insurance provider in Ireland, Vhi is the provider Irish consumers are most aware of. 84% recalled Vhi as a provider without being prompted. However just 28% choose Vhi in the end.

Compare this to Laya Healthcare who has a lower unprompted brand recall score of 58%, but is actually chosen by more consumers (final preference score: 34%).

Vhi’s retention rate is increasing
71% of current Laya Healthcare customers would renew with them again, however this percentage has decreased slightly from 76% in August 2014. Conversely Vhi has seen an increase from 61% to 69% over the same period. Both Glo Health and Aviva have seen significant drops from 83% to 53% and from 72% to 55% respectively.

Consumers who visit the brand website are more likely to go with them
Again Laya Healthcare scores really well here with 42% of potential customers, who visited their site, ultimately choosing them in the end. Interestingly, a third of those who visited preferred Laya Healthcare, however 31% of those who visited the website chose with Vhi in the end.

We know online is important, but this research further underpins the importance of the brand website over aggregator and research sites. Irish consumers are far more likely to choose the provider whose website they visit on the purchase decision journey.

More consumers are searching for Laya Healthcare in February 2015
18% of Irish consumers looking for health insurance search for Vhi by brand name (“Vhi” = 12%, “Vhi health insurance” = 3%, “Vhi healthcare” = 3%).

15% of Irish consumers looking for health insurance search for Laya Healthcare by brand name (“Laya healthcare” = 9%, “Laya” = 6%).

Vhi as a search term is still the highest brand, but Laya Healthcare is growing and hot on their heels.
Laya Healthcare’s advertising is definitely working as consumers are being prompted to search for them by name in Google. They are certainly emerging as being very clever in attracting customers and very effective at converting them.

If you would like to know more please contact us.

International best practice

To find out more about what best practice looks like and those who are achieving it view our webinar: Health Insurance Providers in Ireland – Digital Sales & Marketing Effectiveness

Health insurance webinar

* Digital marketing effectiveness
The Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness (DME) programme focuses on the Discover and Consider stages of the online purchase journey.

Digital Marketing Effectiveness
The DME identifies both the barriers and enablers to how and who consumers shortlist in the online purchasing decision journey, what drives final preference and crucially WHY your potential customers (but now lost opportunities) pick another brand over yours.

We use life-like methodology which virtually places companies in the homes of 50,000 ‘In market’ consumers in the UK annually.

DME process

Adopting both a passive and claimed research approach, we bridge the gap between claimed search behaviour and actual search behaviour.

Using cutting edge technology we measure every key stroke, link clicked and website visited. Most importantly, our methodology investigates and explores WHY consumers search and research the way they do.

We can provide you with a unique insight into how ‘in market’ consumers research and make decisions about your brand, your products and your competitors online and will help you to answer the following strategic marketing questions:
1. How integrated is your offline (traditional) marketing with your digital strategy?
2. Why are competitors winning the online prospects you are losing?
3. Who is stealing the prospects that short listed you?
4. How can you reduce lost opportunities and increase sales?


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