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Ensuring customer retention: insurers’ perception of customer loyalty

Anthony Larsson (Stockholm School of Economics Institute of Research, Stockholm, Sweden)
Ellen Broström (Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Article publication date: 9 July 2019



Customer feedback is believed to provide an important retailer metric. Notwithstanding, customer retention still presents a challenge in today’s increasingly digitalised business environment. The insurance industry has recently begun its digitalisation process and is struggling with customer retention. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the recurrent trends in the academic discourse surrounding this topic.


This narrative review has documented journal publications from January 2000 to February 2018, using the PRISMA statement. The Web of Science and SCOPUS databases were examined for prior studies of digitalisation and customer loyalty in an insurance setting.


The most recurrent themes were those deemed to be of most interest to the wider academic community and in greatest need of additional research. Expressed as a “conditional statement” this is summarised as: “IF [most recurring] THEN [need for further research]”. Most articles were published in UK-based journals, with most first authors listed in the USA as their country of origin. The articles most commonly discussed the need for “Proactive retention”, i.e. taking pre-emptive action to secure customer loyalty. This exposes a gap with extant theories on customer loyalty/customer retention, which favours customer feedback as an important metrics.

Research limitations/implications

The articles investigated were not ranked beyond mentioning the number of publications found in each respective journal, as to determine any distinguishable patterns of publication.

Practical implications

The need for studies on “Proactive retention” is likely desirable also in other areas than insurance.


The study exposes a gap in extant theory, which mostly discusses retention from a posteriori knowledge. However, most examined literature is actually calling for a priori knowledge.



This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors. Conflict of interest: the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. Compliance with ethical standards: ethical approval: this paper does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. The authors gratefully acknowledge the insights by Viktor Bengtsson at McKinsey & Company as well as the advice and assistance given by Gun Brit Knutssön at KIB-lab in preparations of this study.


Larsson, A. and Broström, E. (2019), "Ensuring customer retention: insurers’ perception of customer loyalty", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 38 No. 2, pp. 151-166.



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