Ideas & musings about consumer behaviour

How well do health insurers encourage online application?

apply online

Recent research conducted by Global Reviews shows that the Australian health insurance industry is failing to provide consumers with a reason to apply for a policy with them online.

The majority of people who are researching health insurance online, also wish to purchase the policy online, however, there are 3 key elements missing from most websites that encourage consumers to purchase online whilst providing them with security and privacy. These elements are:

  1. Poor new/existing customer handling
  2. No promotion of the benefits of purchasing online
  3. Security and privacy features and functions being neglected

There are numerous opportunities within the application form stage that many health insurance providers are missing out on. By enhancing the process, brands can come to deliver an optimal online experience that not only helps the consumer feel secure, but also gives them a reason to recommend the brand and site to others.

During the most recent research, AHM was the only brand actively promoting the online channel for application by providing an incentive. At the time of writing this piece, AHM was offering savings up to $200 for taking out a policy online. This simple offer gives consumers a strong incentive to purchase a policy online prior to the offer expiring.

ahm Health Insurance Cheap private health insurance

Whilst incentives are one good way to encourage online application, they are not necessary. Other methods can be used to encourage consumers to begin the application form online such as highlighting key benefits and conveniences including:

  • Ability to apply any day, any time
  • Complete the form in your own time
  • Faster applying than other ways – no wait time

Another key element in this phase is in managing expectations by addressing the following common questions:

  • How long will it take to complete the form?
  • What information will I need to provide?
  • Will the company respond to my application and how?
  • Are there any terms or conditions I should be aware of?
  • Will my information be kept secure?

Surprisingly, most health insurance websites are failing to answer these questions prior to consumers beginning the application. It’s not until they’ve already begun the process that some of these questions start to get answered.

Although there are still a few questions that go unanswered, GMHBA is currently one of the few who answers any of these questions at the quote stage. Prior to clicking through from the quote to the application form, consumers are told how long the process will take and what details they’ll be required to supply. If the consumer doesn’t have 5 minutes or their Medicare and bank cards on hand, they’re given the option to email the quote to themselves so that they can complete the application form at a later stage. This lessens the risk of losing the consumer to someone else if they’re not able to apply right away.

GMHBA Private Health Insurance

Meanwhile, within the application form itself, it is more common to see brands addressing these questions. BUPA is a good example of a brand that helps set some expectations within the form as well as providing support options and demonstrating a sense of security.

  • At the top of the form is the Norton security symbol to give consumers a sense that their information will be kept secure and it is safe to complete the form.
  • Alongside the symbol is an outline of the stages of the form. Whilst an estimated time for completion is not provided, consumers can still easily see how far along the process they are.
  • Below the cost is a box which outlines what information is required to complete the form.
  • Finally, contact details are provided in case the consumer requires further assistance. This includes call centre operation times to advise consumers when they can call.

PHI BupaBy answering some of the key questions listed above both prior and during the online application process, it will help to give consumers a reason to not only trust the brand, but also confidently complete the application online. Both of these reasons can go a long way when it comes to building a relationship with the consumer. Once a consumer is happy and confident with a brand, they will be less likely to go elsewhere and more likely to recommend that brand to others.


To find out more about this research or to ensure your brand is included in our next round of research, contact us today:
Tony Carveth
Senior Commercial Director
tony.carveth@globalreviews.com
+61 3 9982 3400

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