In a survey of more than 8,000 people from 15 different countries, Accenture found only 16%feel confident that their retirement savings will be sufficient to cover their needs.

Further, 82% are worried about their post-retirement financial situation and 89% feel it is important for them to start saving now, yet more than half 53% are unsure and feel they lack the necessary information to prepare for retirement.

“The strong common global concerns about post-retirement financial security are alarming,” said Mark A. Halverson, a managing director in Accenture’s Financial Services group. “People are willing to save money but have limited financial knowledge and limited saving abilities to actually do so. These findings reveal a major unmet demand for retirement planning, which industry professionals can help address. However, they will need to shape their products and services in a way that will help people take action and better prepare their future.”

According to responses, Halverson said, professional advisors such as life insurers are not perceived as an obvious source of information and advice on retirement investment.

Independent financial advisors (51%) as well as friends and family (44%) are more likely to get asked for retirement advice than insurers (41%) and banks (39%). What’s more, 86% of respondents say they have limited or no knowledge of retirement products that life insurers offer.

Consumers want clear and personalized service; however, 45% said they have never received simple and easy to understand retirement planning information from any life insurer, 20% said that they had never been contacted by a life insurer to discuss retirement issues.

What do consumers wish life insurers would offer?

  • 86% said they would be motivated to purchase a retirement product from a provider that would offer them clear comparisons between several investment options highlighting the “pros” and “cons” of each of these options.
  • 82% would want to have a clear understanding of what their financial needs would be after retirement, and a clear illustration of projected financial value of each investment option.
  • 84% said they would pay attention to comments provided on social media by customers regarding their experience with retirement products providers.

“A great burden of responsibility lies with the life insurance industry to step up and fill this advice gap as it has the experience, size and scale to make a real impact on the retirement problem,” said Daniele Presutti, global managing director of Accenture Life Insurance Services. “Industry leadership needs to confront this critical issue and take action to address it. It is an opportunity not only for life insurers to grow their business but also to help avert what could potentially become a major social issue on a global scale in the next 10 to 20 years.”