27.07.2004  -  München

Insurance distribution: insurance agents still quite ahead

/ but the Internet is catching up / 2.5 million Germans have already taken out insurance online at least once

Munich, July 27, 2004. – In the insurance market, agents represent still the sales channel number one. Two-thirds of German policyholders call their agents for all their insurance business. However, today, as many as 25 per cent can imagine taking out an insurance policy without the help of an insurance agent. In the group of regular Internet users, this figure is even just under 50 per cent. Thus, roughly 11 million people in Germany are inclined to take out insurance online. 2.5 million have actually taken out insurance online at least once.

These are the results of the latest "Online Finance Monitor e-FMDS" by TNS Infratest (Munich). The monitor analyses in detail and continually the online financial behav-iour of regular online users in Germany.

According to the researchers at TNS Infratest Financial Services, the number of those effecting insurance online is only the tip of the iceberg with respect to estimat-ing the significance of the Internet as a sales channel for the insurance market.

Furthermore, the role of the Internet before the actual conclusion of a contract is not to be underestimated: almost 4 million Germans have already asked for a concrete insurance offer via the Internet at least once, more than 6 million ordered at least general information material. The number of visitors of insurers´ websites is even higher. One out of two online users has visited an insurer's website at least once. At the moment, about 2.4 million Internet users visit the websites of insurers in Germany per month. This is an increase of as much as 20 per cent compared to the previous year.

This development is likely to continue. Insurers will not be able to ignore the trend of rising Internet usage and acceptance in the long run. Especially the younger genera-tion, which grows up with the Internet, will probably more and more regard a virtual insurer as sufficient in terms of contact. However, it seems self-evident that such a virtual branch must feature an adequate range of offers and services.

Background information
The “Online Financial Monitor“ by TNS Infratest Financial Research is carried out two times a year and is based on a total of 8,000 online interviews (4,000 interviews in each survey). The goal is a detailed analysis of the online financial behaviour of Germans in the business sectors banks, insurers and building societies. The results are representative for regular Internet users in Germany. The survey participants are made up of the Online Access Panel by TNS Infratest. The study is designed as a joint study and interested financial service providers are invited to have a say in the matter. A further advantage is the chance of communicating with other buyers of the study at regular meetings.

As a pioneer in Europe, TNS Infratest Financial Services developed the “Financial Market Data Service (FMDS)“ about 30 years ago and thus created a data collection instrument, which continually analyses the structure of financial markets. Many busi-nesses rely on FMDS as an essential source of marketing information

Contact: TNS Infratest Financial Services
Michael Plotegher
t +49 (0) 89 5600 1595
f +49 (0) 89 5600 1750

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