An EY survey has revealed that just 7% of consumers have "complete trust" in their insurer.
UK insurance customers were found to hold more trust in the banking sector, despite the severe reputational damage it has suffered over the last seven years, than in their insurance provider. The level of trust was also found to be lower than in any other European country, and over 50% below the global average, according to the latest EY Global Consumer Insurance Survey.
EY surveyed 23,595 insurance customers across 30 countries, including 800 from the UK. The interviews took place in April to July of this year.
Graham Handy, global customer insurance leader at EY, commented: "At a time of great upheaval across the entire UK insurance industry, with the motor market reporting unprofitability, the home insurance market not far behind and dramatic changes to pensions, this news could not come at a worse time."
The survey also showed that over a quarter (26%) of UK customers surveyed claimed that they were likely to switch insurance provider in the next 12 months. Cost was cited as the main reason behind this, with policy benefits and coverage at a distant second and reputation and benefits barely making an impact.
The UK insurance consumer is also far more driven by price than many of their international counterparts - 83% of those likely to switch stated cost as the primary reason, according to the survey's findings. This was much higher than the global average (67%) and other comparable markets such as the US (64%), France (60%) and Germany (72%).
UK customers also want to receive more communication from their insurer; not just general information or policy updates, but also promotions. Over half (54%) of customers said they were never contacted about promotions, and 23% would like to receive them annually.
The results also showed that the majority of UK insurance customers still preferred to manage their policy enquiries via the telephone, but more than 30% claimed to be open to using emerging channels, including webchats and smartphone apps.
Handy continued: "It's clear that insurers have yet to get ‘direct-to-consumer' right. Even where there is a broker or an agent managing the relationship, it doesn't mean the customer is getting the information they want.
"The way consumers want to be communicated with is changing - they want more frequent, meaningful and personalised messages, and are willing to embrace new ways of receiving it - and the insurance provider ought to ensure they are delivering this.
He concluded: "With the rise of digital, it is increasingly easy, and the race is now on to see who can do it most effectively, and the fastest.