Australians are increasingly trawling the internet to seek out better deals on financial products, including life insurance and income protection.
Google and other search engines, such as comparison sites, are helping to boost Australia’s financial literacy and save consumers millions to boot, according to research by life insurer TAL.
A poll of more than 1200 adults found that 56% – around 8 million Australians – have reviewed at least one financial product over the last 12 months, with many switching as a result.
Of those who have investigated new financial products, at least half – 4 million people – turned to the web to better educate themselves on their options.
Higher income households, younger generations, and men are more likely to use the internet to research financial products like banks, vehicle insurance, superannuation and life insurance protection.
Of those considering life insurance or income protection, 52% used the internet to research policies and 41% used comparison sites. Twelve per cent of people switched or considered switching life insurance providers after researching other options on the web.
The internet has put Australians in the driving seat, says TAL Group CEO Jim Minto.
But he says consumers should be encouraged not to rely solely on the internet when making important financial decisions, because while it is a great starting tool, a qualified financial adviser or planner can give more detailed advice.
“Life insurance is one of the least understood financial product yet it is also one of the most important because it provides financial protection for both individuals and families,” said Minto.
“There is a long way to go in educating people, with Australia having a staggering $10.6 trillion underinsurance gap.”
The consumer survey found that over the past 12 months:
Twelve per cent of Aussies have researched online for life insurance
Fifty-six per cent of Gen Y and Gen X use the internet to research life insurance and income protection products
For baby boomers, 44% using comparison sites to research life and income protection products
Men are more likely than women to have used the internet to research life insurance or income protection products, with 58% of men using the internet (compared to 46% of women) and 46% of men using comparison sites (compared to 37% of women)
While 56% of Australians have researched options or changed providers for at least one of six financial product categories, 44% have not researched or changed providers for any of the six financial services in the last 12 months
Sixty-six per cent of higher income households ($90,000+ pa) have researched options or changed providers compared to 45% of people in low income households