Third of UK insurance customers unaware insurers use social media to check claims

Sarah Finney 12 November 2014

Around 30% of UK insurance holders are in the dark about the methods insurers can use to assess a claim, according to a new study.

Twenty-nine percent of those surveyed said they thought it was fair for insurers to use social media to check out the validity of claims. However, a huge 72% said they were worried about the amount of information insurers have access to, which can include car registration information, vehicle offences, credit history and social media.

There are apparently benefits to capturing more information about customers: insurers argue that being better able to accurately assess claims will help keep prices under control and provide a more individually tailored approach to customer services.

The survey by research firm Consumer Intelligence also highlights a wider resistance from consumers to how insurance companies manage, collect and share their data. Just 53% thought it was fair for insurance companies to share data with other companies, and only 63% of motor insurance customers thought that it was fair for their insurer to access DVLA data.

However, the highest resistance was to the use of social media and credit records – only 28% believe it is fair for insurers to check their financial status.

Despite this resistance, 62% said they believed quotes reflected people's financial status, and 67% thought insurers will be able to use social media when working out quotes.

Ian Hughes of Consumer Intelligence commented on the study's findings:

“Consumers need to be aware that insurers routinely share information and that they can use multiple sources to obtain information about the individual. We’ve all heard stories about people subsequently regretting updates or photos they’ve shared on social media and these can also affect insurance claims.

"Insurers ought to be clearer about the information that they can get from third parties in order to assess consumers’ risk profiles and, in some instances, to investigate claims.”

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