••• insurance research

Millennials driving usage-based auto insurance market

Willing to change behavior

While interest in usage-based auto insurance (UBI) remains relatively high among consumers in general, Millennials are clearly leading the charge forward and will continue to drive the evolving market, according to professional services company Towers Watson’s annual UBI (Telematics) Consumer Survey.

“Millennials soundly displayed their acceptance of new business approaches and familiarity with technology,” says Robin Harbage, global lead for Towers Watson’s UBI practice and DriveAbility service offering. “In fact, the survey revealed 92 percent of Millennials own smartphones, compared to just 58 percent of all other age cohorts surveyed. Insurers that are not already embracing new technology will need to adjust their business models for younger drivers, who rely heavily on their smartphones and the Internet.”

According to the findings, more Millennials (88 percent) expressed interest in taking out a UBI policy than all other age groups (74 percent). Consumer interest in UBI rises for both groups if it’s agreed upon that premiums would not increase due to poor driving behavior (93 percent of Millennials versus 85 percent of all others). However, nearly half of all respondents (46 percent) said they would not buy a UBI policy if it potentially caused their premiums to increase.

Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of Millennials believe auto insurance policies linking their driving behavior with premium paid is a better way to calculate costs than traditional factors such as age, gender and credit score. Only half (51 percent) of all other age groups feel the same. “I think it’s fair to say Millennials are not only amenable to UBI but actually prefer it to conventional ways of calculating their auto insurance premium,” says Len Llaguno, senior consultant, Towers Watson.

Millennials’ interest in UBI goes well beyond new technology and calculating premiums. Younger drivers are much more willing than other age cohorts to let UBI shape their driving behavior. For those respondents willing to take out a UBI policy, 84 percent of Millennials said they would change their driving behavior if it correlated to a lower premium, versus slightly more than half (53 percent) of other age groups. Drivers named sticking to the speed limit and keeping a safe following distance as behaviors they would most likely change. More generally, an overwhelming 84 percent think careful driving constitutes a fair measure for a premium discount.

Respondents, especially Millennials, exhibited a propensity for value-added services enabled by UBI technology and indicated a willingness to pay more for them. Ninety percent of Millennials willing to buy a UBI policy said they would pay at least an extra $45 per year for these benefits, compared to 65 percent of all others surveyed. “Millennials’ buying behaviors and expectations will require a complete rethink by auto insurers to attract and retain this growing demographic,” says Harbage.

Participants willing to buy or consider a UBI policy ranked their three most preferred value-added services bundled with UBI: theft-tracking (87 percent), automated emergency call (86 percent) and breakdown notification service (83 percent). “Parents see a real appeal in UBI, citing the ability to be informed about a child’s accident, automatic emergency services dispatch and text prevention as the most beneficial features,” says Llaguno.

Almost two-thirds of participants (62 percent) who have a UBI policy reported a positive experience with it, while only a handful (9 percent) mentioned a negative one. Of drivers with a favorable UBI experience, 70 percent said it led to both lower insurance premiums and additional benefits and information about their driving. Perhaps surprisingly, over one-quarter of respondents (26 percent) said they are not familiar with UBI policies.

“Auto insurers have an enormous business opportunity with UBI,” says Harbage. “However, further education is needed to bridge the gap between awareness and action. Indeed, Millennials are farther along in this understanding and their openness to UBI adoption. But with the right incentives and encouragement, other age groups can become more receptive to change and the benefits UBI offers.”

••• ad research

Ads and in-program placements work well together

Brands enjoy the complement

A recent Nielsen study that looked at both standard television advertisements and in-program placements (IPPs) – brands or products that air within a program itself – found that one actually helps the other. While the amount of prime-time, non-sports IPPs measured in Nielsen’s TV Brand Effect coverage has declined in recent years across the English-language broadcast networks – from 185 brands showcasing 5,580 integration occurrences over the 2012-13 TV season to 136 brands airing 4,455 integrations during the 2014-15 season – their impact hasn’t. In fact, when these integrations aired in the same program as standard ads for the same brand, brand memorability for those ads increased 16 percent among adults 18-34.

The lift was even more pronounced when brand memorability was measured among the broader demographic of adults 18-49 years old, which saw an 18 percent increase. There were also some differences among gender lines, too.

While an adjacency lift was noted across both genders, the lift in brand memorability for ads airing adjacent to IPPs versus without IPPs was 26 percent among men 18-49, while the lift was only 9 percent among women in the same age group. “Increasing the resonance of a standard advertisement by positioning a branded integration in close programming proximity is a proven way to add value and increase effectiveness,” says Chad Dreas, managing director of media analytics, Nielsen. “While there has been a decrease in both brands and occurrences in regards to branded integrations, it is still a great opportunity for marketers looking to increase their advertising impact.”

While branded integrations can help improve the memorability and appeal of standard ads, it’s important to recognize that the amount of improvement can vary, depending on the strength of the integration.

So what helps drive positive performance of IPPs above and beyond the synergy with standard advertisements? The study found that marketers and agencies could benefit from a few best practices to increase brand awareness and gain a better line of sight into a potential path to return on investment.

Say it again. Advertisers should consider repeating themselves and giving consumers every opportunity to remember their brand. Verbal brand cues were one of the strongest drivers of brand memorability. Creatives with multiple brand mentions were found to be more impactful than a single mention.

Get visual. It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words but advertisers who extend the on-screen visual duration of their brand can potentially boost their worth in more tangible ways. More extensive screen time helps increase your brand’s exposure for shown-only (non-verbal) placements.

Give it some context. Going all-in when it comes to integrating products helps direct viewer focus to the brand itself. Everything from sponsorship prizes to weaving the brand into the storyline or having characters interact with the product itself can give the brand often hard-to-get gravitas.

Think long-term. Consistency and thinking about the future are keys to any great relationship. It’s no different for advertisers looking to woo consumers. Nielsen found that a consistent, ongoing presence in a program spanning multiple episodes (and multiple seasons) generates much higher performance for branded integrations.

Be a “do-gooder.” Corporate responsibility has gone from suggestion to near compulsory among the industry. Positive IPP performance can be driven by both a pro-social theme as a well as touting a charitable theme, such as donations.

Nielsen TV Brand Effect is based on survey responses from Sept. 24, 2012–May 22, 2013 (2012-2013 season), Sept. 22, 2013–May 21, 2014 (2013-2014 season), Sept. 21, 2014–May 20, 2015 (2014-2015 season). Occurrence data limited to original airings only. Lift percentages are inclusive of both original and repeat airings. Television norms inclusive of prime-time non-sports programming on English-language broadcast only. Comparisons between adjacent and non-adjacent airings limited to brands appearing in both buckets. Analysis of TV based on up to one day post-ad stream. Minimum reportable sample size is 35.

••• employee research

Health of some health care workers needs improving

Heal thyself indeed

Many health care providers are giving more attention to their patients’ well-being by focusing on the “whole person.” A crucial component of this holistic view of patient care is positioning providers as people who lead by example and thrive in their own well-being. After all, how well can medical professionals influence positive life-style habits in their patients if they’re not embracing healthy habits themselves?

As reported by Gallup’s Jade Wood and Rebecca Riffkin, with research help from Sangeeta Agrawal, the very workers who are treating patients can sometimes be left out of the well-being equation. Though a great deal of attention is geared toward patients’ well-being, health care workers often have limited means to engage in well-being practices of their own. This is particularly worrisome as health care employees’ well-being can affect a health care organization’s ability to provide the best and safest patient care.

Gallup and Franklin, Tenn.-based well-being improvement firm Healthways have developed a research-based definition of well-being and how it relates to employees, business outcomes and living a fulfilled life. This definition encompasses five interrelated and essential elements: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. Together, these elements provide insights into individuals’ sense of purpose, social relationships, financial security, relationship to their community and physical health.

Respondents can be classified as thriving, struggling or suffering in each element according to how they rate that particular facet of well-being in their lives:

  • Thriving: well-being that is strong and consistent in a particular element.
  • Struggling: well-being that is moderate or inconsistent in a particular element.
  • Suffering: well-being that is low and inconsistent in a particular element.

Gallup and Healthways research shows that more than half of all health care workers are thriving in none or only one element of well-being, rather than thriving in multiple elements. But this also means that there is a significant opportunity for their well-being to improve. A more positive finding is that one in three health care workers (34 percent) is thriving in three or more well-being elements.

The field of medicine can be quite stressful, as it’s both emotionally demanding and logistically rigorous, which can be a recipe for burnout. The 24/7 nature of the job – constantly being “on,” with always more to do – and regulatory and compliance tasks can create a heavy and sometimes burdensome workload for many health care professionals.

Health care workers are notorious for neglecting their own care and not taking time for their own well-being. That’s why a “care for the health care worker” approach is essential within health care organizations to give workers the energy, focus and adaptability they need to come to work ready to be their best every day. In fact, health care workers with high well-being are more likely to be resilient and recover quickly from stress, important qualities to possess when overseeing the lives and welfare of others.

Whether a health care organization approaches well-being to improve its employee engagement, retain talent or meet its mission to create a healthier community, well-being drives significant business outcomes. Health care workers who are thriving in three or more elements are more likely to be at work every day, because they have fewer unhealthy days that prevent them from doing their usual activities than do those with lower well-being.

Furthermore, high well-being supports mental health and resiliency. Health care workers who are thriving in three or more well-being elements are more likely to report bouncing back quickly from illness, injury or hardship than those who are not.

Medical professionals who are thriving in three or more elements are also two times less likely to look for a new job than their counterparts with lower well-being. Both of these findings are significant, because attendance and retention are crucial components of proper patient care, patient satisfaction, correct staffing coverage and reduced expenses.

Improving health care workers’ well-being requires more than simply improving physical health. Health care workers who don’t feel connected to their community or who are struggling with debt may find it difficult to focus on their patients or model healthy behaviors to them while they are at work. When health care workers thrive in all elements of well-being, not just physical, health care organizations can gain a competitive advantage from employees’ maximized performance, reduced turnover and enhanced engagement. Establishing a culture that promotes well-being by focusing on all five elements will help health care workers thrive – and this, in turn, will benefit patients and the community.

Results are based on a Gallup Panel Web study completed by 24,320 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Oct. 8-Nov. 13, 2014. A subsample of 1,300 health care ´working adults was selected for this analysis. The Gallup Panel is a probability-based longitudinal panel of U.S. adults who are selected using random-digit-dial (RDD) phone interviews that cover landline and cellphones. Address-based sampling methods are also used to recruit panel members. The Gallup Panel is not an opt-in panel, and members are not given incentives for participating. The sample for this study was weighted to be demographically representative of the U.S. adult population using 2013 Current Population Survey figures. For results based on this sample, one can say that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points, at the 95 percent confidence level. Margins of error are higher for subsamples.

••• sports and leisure

Portrait of a female fantasy football player

They skew older, tend to be moms

Overall, 13 percent of U.S. adults surveyed planned to play fantasy football this year. However, more women are playing fantasy football, taking up a larger piece of the ever-expanding pie when compared to men. In a poll released by Leger, The Research Intelligence Group, approximately one-quarter of this year’s NFL fantasy foot-ball players are women, which is a steady climb over the past few years.

“We’re seeing a small, steady trend showing the rate that women are playing fantasy football is growing faster than that among fantasy football players in general,” says Lance Henik, senior account manager at Leger, The Research Intelligence Group. “According to the Fantasy Sports Trade association, approximately 20 percent of all fantasy players in 2011/2012 season were women. The results from our 2013 poll showed 23 percent of fantasy football players were women, with our latest poll results currently showing that 25 percent of them are women.”

Women who play fantasy football continue to show favorable levels of employment and household income compared to non-players. First, women are more than twice as likely to be employed full-time (players, 66 percent; non-players, 31 percent) than non-players, which naturally falls into their higher affluence over non-players, based on household incomes over $100K (players, 16 percent; non-players, 11 percent). While these differences exist among women, between players and non-players, such differences are not as pronounced when looking at the employment and income characteristics among men.

In what could be seen as a surprise finding, most of the women who play fantasy football are older than their male counterparts. The average ages of fantasy football players among men and women are approximately 38 and 39 years of age, respectively, however, it is the age categories among these players that shed some light on the extent to which players are dispersed by age. To this end, more than half (59 percent) of male players are between 18-39, while the majority of women players (72 percent) are in the 30-49 range, with nearly two in five (38 percent) of them in the 40-49 age group.

“Households with children” is one of the few demographic areas where fantasy football players vastly over-index their non-player cohorts. Nearly three in four (74 percent) women who play also report having a child under 18 in the household, while among men this drops down to about two in three (67 percent). “This informs us of two implications,” says Henik. “First, the possibility that fantasy football serves as a family activity. Second, that fantasy football provides a vital outlet or escape for those adults who have children.”

Despite the favorable demographic characteristics of the females who play fantasy football, men continue to be more entrenched with their fantasy football play than women. The Leger poll indicates that men are still more likely to participate in multiple leagues/teams when compared to women. Approximately two-thirds of men (66 percent) who said they were going to play fantasy football planned on joining two or more leagues for the NFL 2015-16 season, among women this drops down to half (50 percent).

While the demographic characteristics of fantasy football players (for both men and women alike), are attractive for prospective companies, the challenge lies in how to best reach them.

For starters, fantasy football players are more likely than non-players to be engaged with their mobile devices. This is evidenced by the poll finding that fantasy football players are more likely to conduct mobile banking on either a tablet or smartphone and to do so by using an app on their device. Consider that when someone is managing their money with a mobile device, they are likely managing their entire lives with the same device. This is because trust in mobile banking is indicative of an entrenched mobile user who has adapted to mobile technology and believes in the convenience and security in the devices they use as they have become engrained into their everyday living.

There is also the marketing implication for those who want to engage with fantasy football players, especially through television advertising. This challenge becomes more critical given the ever-growing activity that is binge viewing, whether they watch programs on-demand (VOD), on the DVR or among viewers who are using an Internet platform (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc.), as they have cut the cord or never connected in the first place. The pervasiveness of marathon viewing is alive and well among fantasy football players, however the results of the Leger poll show it is the female players in particular who are more engaged in this activity than men. With this in mind, marketers will need to be creative in engaging this desired consumer, especially women who play fantasy football.

The survey was conducted online with 1,006 respondents, 18 years of age or older, among the U.S. population from August 14 through August 17, 2015, and was balanced/weighted to statistically represent the country by age, gender, ethnicity, and region. Based on this sample size, the results carry a margin of error of approximately ± 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

••• food research

Interest in ‘free-from’ foods far from fading

Less is more

Foods bearing “free-from” claims are increasingly relevant to Americans, as they perceive the products as closely tied to health. New research from Mintel reveals that 84 percent of American free-from consumers buy free-from foods because they are seeking more natural or less-processed foods. In fact, 43 percent of consumers agree that free-from foods are healthier than foods without a free-from claim, while another three in five believe the fewer ingredients a product has, the healthier it is (59 percent).

Among the top claims free-from consumers deem most important are trans fat-free (78 percent) and preservative-free (71 percent). GMO-free claims are also important to free-from consumers (58 percent), with 35 percent ranking it as one of their top three most important claims. In fact, interest in GMO-free foods (37 percent) among all consumers outweighs interest in foods free of soy (22 percent), nuts/peanuts (20 percent) and eggs (17 percent). Another popular claim for consumers is sodium-free (57 percent), with 40 percent listing it as one of their three most important claims.

“Fat-free may seem like a claim whose best days are behind it, but there is strong consumer interest in such free-from foods, especially trans fat-free, no doubt owing to widespread concern about obesity in the U.S. and its related health consequences. Health issues appear to be top of mind among U.S. consumers when seeking products bearing a free-from claim, including those related to heart health and allergies,” says Billy Roberts, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel. “Mintel data also shows elevated interest in the GMO-free claim, which ranks among the top four most important claims for many consumers and is more important than soy-free and nut/peanut-free foods.”

Overall, Millennials (60 percent) and Gen X (55 percent) are much more likely than Baby Boomers (46 percent) to agree that they worry about potentially harmful ingredients in the food they buy. Despite this, just 37 percent of consumers overall agree that products with free-from claims are worth paying more for.

While one-third of Baby Boomers believe allergen-free foods are a fad (33 percent), one in five consumers overall would like a full list of ingredients related to food allergens on product packaging (18 percent). Millennials’ interest in free-from food claims coincides with product launches in recent years, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD). In 2010, 11 percent of food product launches featured a low/no/reduced allergen claim. By 2014, 28 percent of food product launches boasted the claim, the highest of any free-from claim last year.

While 70 percent of Americans buy free-from foods for health and nutritional reasons, personal well-being is not the only driving factor. Consumers also believe that free-from foods are closely tied to the health of the planet. Cage-free and free-range claims are important to 43 percent of free-from consumers, with one-quarter (23 percent) ranking it as one of their top three most important free-from claims. When comparing consumer views of free-from claims with environmental impact to claims such as trans fat-free (78 percent), environmental claims carry much less weight. However, Mintel research shows that 70 percent of Americans sometimes, often or always consider a company’s ethics when purchasing products. Furthermore, 56 percent have stopped buying a company’s products when they have perceived its actions as unethical. “Mintel research shows that Americans are interested in companies that look after the health of the consumer, as well as the environment. As a result, consumers are not only interested in trans fat-free and preservative-free food products, but cage-free and free-range products, as well. Consumers are doing their best to make informed choices when it comes to free-from food claims, and they will hold companies accountable,” says Roberts.

More than ever before, Americans are incorporating snacking into their routine, along with three meals per day. Mintel research shows that 94 percent of Americans snack daily, with two-thirds snacking multiple times per day (65 percent). Despite the propensity to engage in snacking, consumers associate snack products with harmful ingredients such as GMOs and artificial elements. In fact, nearly half of Americans (46 percent) agree that snacks typically include controversial ingredients when compared to other food categories. However, nearly one-quarter of snack product launches in 2014 included no additives/preservatives (23 percent), low/no/reduced allergen (25 percent) and/or low/no/reduced trans fat (21 percent) claims, according to Mintel GNPD.

“Snacks are often associated with controversial ingredients such as GMOs and artificial additives and despite products entering the market with free-from claims, consumers are slow to alter their perceptions,” says Roberts. “Overall, Mintel data indicates that consumers perceive foods with any free-from claim to be both healthier and less processed. Additionally, consumers appear to be equating ‘genetic modification,’ ‘artificial’ and ‘unhealthy’ as one and the same and those consumers are likely to turn away from product labels with unfamiliar ingredients or ingredients perceived as chemically complex or unnatural.”