The concerns and needs of insurance customers with particular focus on the situation in East Germany

Date of publication: June 15, 1994

Abstract:

Due to the increased perception of risk, the population is more strongly oriented towards insurance protection. In both East and West Germany, more than half of the population advocates having the most comprehensive insurance coverage possible for their families. The risks against which the population feels it is most important to be protected-and against which the East German population has felt a markedly increasing desire for insurance protection in the past three years-are: car theft, damage to one's automobile, liability claims, water damage and involvement in court cases. Parallel to the population's increased awareness of the need for protection, the level of insurance coverage has risen in both East and West Germany in the past three years, although coverage is still deficient in some areas since the population now has higher standards. There are still considerable differences in some areas when it comes to the East and West Germans' ideas of what qualities a good insurance company should have. East German consumers attach far greater importance to receiving competent advice, while West Germans, for example, place more emphasis on premium refunds and quick and satisfactory claims settlement. Although the majority of respondents say that price is not the deciding factor in choosing an insurance company, there is a tendency to change companies in order to take advantage of more favorable offers. The need for information is still far greater in East Germany than in the West, although the East German level is beginning to approach that of the West German population. This applies particularly to information about the various insurance options and the conditions on which insurance companies will pay. Corresponding to the need for information is the population's lack of knowledge about insurance. There are no signs, however, of any attempts on the part of the population to close up this information gap-on the contrary, it even appears to be widening.

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