Life insurers need to do more to be trusted by consumers if they want to expand business, according to an industry-backed look at the sector.
A report by the Financial Services Council has found more than 80 percent of New Zealanders know about life insurance and income protection, but only 38 percent held a policy.
Only 12 percent of respondents surveyed said life insurers were considerate and compassionate.
The report by the Council, which represented 95 percent of the life insurance market, said trust could be increased if insurers cut the jargon from their policies.
A review of the sector in January by the Financial Markets Authority and the Reserve Bank said life insurers put profit before customers.
Insurance giant AIA chief executive Nick Stanhope said it was working to lift trust in its company and industry.
"[AIA is] reviewing all of our products and process and making sure that the customer is truly at the heart of everything that we do."
"We believe that that is the case but it is always good to have a fresh look at everything that we do."
AIA, owner of Sovereign, is New Zealand's largest life insurer.