Seventy-two per cent of Canadians are concerned about their financial wellbeing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, found the EY Global Insurance Consumer survey released March 16.

The survey also found that 45 per cent of Canadians plan to save more and pay off debts to mitigate future financial uncertainty. 

An appetite for accessible insurance products 

"Given growing concern over financial wellbeing, we're seeing a clear appetite for accessible insurance products that protect against existing and emerging risks," says Janice Deganis, EY Canada Insurance Leader. "With consumers spending more time at home and online, new concerns are mounting over things such as protection against cyber fraud or paying insurance for a vehicle they're driving less. Canadian insurers will have to update their products and services accordingly if they want to align with consumer values, while tapping into future demand and growth opportunities." 

The EY survey found that increased anxiety related to financial security is driving consumers to look for cost-effective insurance options. Respondents are willing to provide personal data (70%) or wear a fitness tracker (67%) in exchange for discounts such as lower premiums or customized monthly rates. 

High demand for loss of income insurance 

The survey also found that the demand for loss of income insurance is high, including policies that pay mortgage costs for three months (64%) or cover other existing financial commitments such as credit card bills (71%) and secondary education savings plans (66%) in the event of job loss. 

EY adds that “going forward, such emerging expectations will be paired with a stronger call for insurers to activate around corporate social purpose.” 

Social responsibility causes 

Survey respondents said a firm's commitment to social responsibility causes – such as income equality (80%), environmentalism and racial injustice (78%) – are important factors when deciding to purchase insurance. 

"Insurers have a unique opportunity to engage a socially active audience by amplifying and better communicating their efforts around policies and investments to promote diversity and inclusion, as well as environmental, social and corporate governance related initiatives," said Deganis. "Players that commit to strategic change and are bold in living their purpose will emerge as winners."