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The insurance industry in Ireland is bloated and costly. With margins decreasing for insurers and premiums rising for consumers, to come out on top, insurance companies must put their customer first and provide the best experience for them. In this insight report, we delve into the insurance habits of Irish consumers and how the insurance industry can improve. This research was gathered on 20th January 2021 over 24 hours. 1575 responses were collected from 18-55 year olds in the Republic of Ireland.

Types of Insurance

Over half of all respondents had private insurance policies, with only 9.5% going public. 32.83% had neither private nor public insurance policies. Health insurance was the most popular policy to have among respondents with 68% of the panel currently having a health insurance policy. This was closely followed by motor insurance, with 62% of respondents currently with a policy. Mortgage protection was the category outside of the “other” category and over a quarter of respondents possess a life insurance policy. 

The majority of respondents (56.5%) use multiple companies for insurance policies, as opposed to just using one provider. Most respondents (66%) had 1 to 2 insurance policies, with another quarter (27.5%) of the panel having 3 to 4 policies. The majority of consumers, roughly 60%, have never received benefits from the policies they currently have.

Insurance Companies

VHI is the most popular insurance company by far, with 43% of respondents currently having a policy with them. Axa was the next popular however there was a significant drop in popularity, with only 22.31% of respondents, nearly half the amount for VHI. 24.57% of respondents have insurance policies with companies that are not listed, also known as the “other” category. This demonstrates that there is plenty of competition and fractionation among consumer facing insurance providers.

We also asked respondents what the primary insurance company that they use or rather, which insurance company do they pay the most to each year. VHI unsurprising came out on top with over a quarter of respondents selecting it. AXA also had a high proportion of the panel, with 16.92% of respondents paying the most in insurance costs to it. 


46.6% of respondents rate their overall experience with their primary insurance company as “Good”. Only 18.43% described their experience as “Very good” but less than 5% rated their experience as “poor” or “very poor”. There was a high tendency among consumers to recommend their primary insurance company to a friend. Almost half, or 45.84% of respondents say they are “quite likely” to recommend their primary insurance provider. At the extremes, 17% are “extremely likely” while only 5.77% are not likely to recommend at all. 

We also asked respondents how likely they would switch their primary insurer if they were unhappy with the service or found a better alternative. 29.3% of respondents said they would be “extremely likely” to switch and another 39.04% of respondents are “quite likely”. Therefore, a high level of respondents are willing to switch insurers if they must. 

Changes to Insurance

Despite the mobile revolution in other industries, 58% of respondents are mostly to contact their primary insurance company via telephone. Only a quarter would contact their insurer via their website and even fewer, 11% would do so over their mobile app.

Row chart of the forms of contact respondents use to contact their primary insurance company, with 58.22% contacting via telephone

Our panel also had a number of suggestions for improvements and changes that insurance companies should implement in the future. A significant improvement is in insurer’s customer support. Respondents wanted more customer helpline employees to answer the phone queries as they wait is generally quite long or as an alternative, have a better online platform to provide support. They wanted companies to provide more regular comparison updates against their competitors. They also wanted more transparency and incentives; more information should be available for how to reduce their premium and secure better rewards by living healthier or for safe driving etc. Many consumers also felt like there was a lot of mystery with insurance policies and providers.

It would be great if they could make the process in general easier and more understandable. I find the whole thing very confusing and because of this I’m inclined to go with whatever insurance company my family members or peers use, without asking questions

Survey respondent

Key Takeaways

  • Good Behaviour, Better Rewards: Customers want more transparency on the rewards they receive for good behaviour. They value the tradeoff of living healthier or driving safer for cheaper premiums and want insurers to be more upfront about the exact guidelines the consumer should follow. 
  • Old Habits Die Hard: Despite the mobile revolution, 58% of customers still rely on telephoning their primary insurer for customer service queries, as opposed to 11% who would use a mobile app. Consumers want better customer support, in particular, shorter waiting times on the phone.
  • Barriers to Switching Dropping: A growing trend in recent years is the reduction in switching costs facing consumers. Consumers are more and more willing to switch insurers if they are unhappy and so insurers must prioritize their customer’s experience to keep them.

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