After a study by Lexis Nexis found over 85% of homeowners want the application process to be shorter, can pre-filling applications become the norm?

A study by Lexis Nexis has found that 85% of homeowners want the application process streamlined by prefilling information, and 87% feel the process would be improved if the number of questions was reduced.

It also found that 68% of homeowners feel it is acceptable to change or leave out information in the application process to keep their premiums low.

Jay Borkakoti, director of home insurance for UK and Ireland, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, said: “Clearly, the more data that can be pre-filled at the point of application, the fewer questions consumers need to answer, which improves their experience with buying home insurance.”

Are we going to see a more streamlined application process?

One company who has already made moves to streamline its application process is Aviva.

A spokesperson for the company said: “We’ve recently made shortened our home insurance quote and buy journey, making it quicker and easier for customers to get a quote. New customers need only answer a few questions and existing customers can get an almost instant quote when they log in to our online portal, MyAviva.”

Digital director, Owen Morris said: “Until now, taking out insurance has meant running a gauntlet of complex questions to achieve the peace of mind that home insurance can bring but many of these questions can be difficult to answer.

“By removing these difficult questions, we’re not only saving customers time, we’re reducing any worry they may have about providing the right answers.”

The new journey was introduced into Aviva’s home product last year, and while it hasn’t yet been adopted in other lines, Aviva is looking at extending its usage.

Morris continued: “We’ll be applying these principles across other Aviva products and services, including claims, so the experience of dealing with insurers no longer feels like an interrogation. Customers can instead focus on what really matters: identifying what’s important to them and ensuring this is protected.”

So far, the new, streamlined process has been met with praise.

The spokesperson added: “The feedback from customers has been very positive.”

Other companies who have streamlined their process include Neos, and Legal and General.

If Aviva has seen a positive reaction to the change, and it hasn’t affected its ability to calculate risk, are other companies looking to shorten their application process?

LV’s head of Underwriting for direct general insurance, Guy Lawrence said it can be done and it is something LV are looking into.

“It is something we’re looking at as customers want a quicker journey,” he said.

“We aim to make it as simple as possible. We are reviewing our quote journey and what data sets can help streamline it.”

But Lawrence doesn’t want LV to start making assumptions of the customer, as it could have a negative effect later down the line.

“I don’t like assumptions. Customers might get a quicker quote in the beginning but suffer when it comes to claims as the insurance company doesn’t have the correct information.”

Property attributes - the answer?

In the home sector, property attributes, such as location, size, number of bedrooms etc. looks the most likely information to be prefilled.

“Property attributes is certainly something we are looking into,” said Lawrence.

Borkakoti agrees. “We have spoken to a lot of companies who are looking at property attributes, but it is finding a way to get the correct information.”

While streamlining looks to be on the horizon for home, Lawrence doesn’t think motor will follow suit.

“Home is more complex and has the most to gain from streamlining, rather than car insurance.”

The need for fewer questions

According to the report, homeowners felt 10 questions was enough to go through when seeking a quote.

But Borkakoti doesn’t think that number is likely to become reality anytime soon.

“No insurer is going to cut a question if it thinks it will lead to less data. I don’t think 10 questions is possible today, but in the future? Who knows.”

LV’s Lawrence, who says it has approximately 30 questions in its current process, also thinks 10 is an ambitious number.

“Below 10 questions, particularly for new customers, is quite tough. No database is perfect, and companies need that information to begin with. If you have the process, it asks for your name, age and occupation. That, in itself, is three questions. I’m not saying 10 questions for existing customers is impossible, it will be tough. But I think 10 questions for new customers, in particular, will be very tough.”

He believes streamlining is something the industry could do to please the customer, but ultimately, it is the safety of information and the quality of the whole journey of a policy that is important, not just the beginning.

“Of course, we want to make it quicker, but we need to safeguard the customer, we don’t want to make too many assumptions and give them problems down the line when they make a claim.”