Traditional insurers are currently battling a triple threat. First, there is a constant stream of new players entering the industry, with tech giants such as Amazon and Google trying to test the waters in this market; thus creating a whole new variety of competition with new advantages. After all, could an insurer claim to have the level of knowledge that Google or Amazon could potentially have of their customers? Second, customers are evolving along with the industry: they are more tech-savvy, have rising expectations, as well as a growing willingness to leave if those expectations are not met. Finally, regulations are changing, from the data protection requirements of GDPR to the more industry-focused Insurance Distribution Directive.

Impulsando una excelente experiencia de cliente en seguros

Customer experience.

In addition to this, an investigation
has pointed out that more than a quarter of consumers in the UK believe that insurance is the worst performing industry when it comes to customer service. While on the surface this may seem like bad news, it also represents an opportunity for insurers to use customer experience to differentiate themselves from the competition and fortify themselves against the triple threat. Digital developments, from online chat to content-rich emails, have transformed customer experiences in recent years: focusing on this technology represents an opportunity for insurers to improve the customer experience and avoid disruptive forces.

With that in mind, here are three key ways insurance companies can use technology to provide an excellent customer experience:

Use technology as a friend, not as an enemy.

With Amazon making inroads into the insurance industry, it would be very easy for insurers to see the technology as an enemy. However, like any tool, technology offers a wealth of opportunities when used correctly: as new communication channels for insurers to reach customers at the right time, with the right message and through the right channel for that customer.
Bain & Company
said that “multichannel interactions tend to be more effective in gaining loyalty […] customers want easy, fast and convenient websites and mobile apps, and few insurers have been able to design digital tools that meet these expectations.” This has been backed up by a recent Quadient consumer survey, in which 93% of insurance customers said they wanted more options for communicating with insurers.

“Multichannel interactions tend to be more effective in gaining loyalty […] and customers want easy, fast and convenient websites and mobile apps, and few insurers have been able to design digital tools that meet these expectations.”
-Bain & Company

The use of new technologies to communicate and provide essential services is a hallmark of the modern customer experience. Insurers that can adopt multiple modes of communication – whether in the form of a chatbot, a wearable device or even the development of a new app – will find themselves at a considerable advantage. Not taking advantage of the latest developments is not only a wasted opportunity, but an opportunity that competitors will undoubtedly take advantage of.

2. Leverage innovation at the source

The surest way to gain a competitive advantage from new technology is to invent it yourself. Some of the biggest names in the insurance industry have followed this maxim, increasing technological innovation by investing in start-up incubators. AXA has invested in around 20 initiatives, while MetLife has organized organized its fourth digital speed dating event in June 2018. The event aimed to bring together start-ups and venture capital partners to explore how disruptive technologies could be applied in the insurance company. While not all insurers can afford a fully developed incubator, simply investing in partners and events can provide significant returns.

While investment in new technologies is always applauded, companies must also decide where they want that investment to be focused. For example, will technology make administrative operations more efficient and accurate? Or will it be used in more directly customer-oriented practices? Ultimately, any use of technology should benefit the customer in some way, but companies should ensure that they are investing at least some of their resources in services that will provide a visible result – whether it is more accurate premiums, ongoing advice on how to minimize the risk of a claim, or the adoption of technology to deliver an entirely new experience.

Finally, companies should not hide their technological capabilities. Instead, providers should use the results of these incubators to open up the conversation with the customer: informing them about new services and, ideally, selling an even better experience.

3. Build relationships on your strengths

The modern consumer is variable, often prioritizing simplicity and cost over brand loyalty. Typically, this comes down to suitability: offering a more appropriate customized package can help sway consumers and convince them that they are getting the best possible value for money. For example, research from Quadient has revealed that more than half (56%) of current insurance customers would like their insurer to use technology such as health monitors or connected vehicles to offer a tighter premium.

Traditional insurance companies should use this to their advantage and combine their historical experience with new technologies that allow them to offer ever-tighter premiums. This will help overcome the disruption of new market entrants who, while having an attractive proposition, have no experience in underwriting or even claims management. It will also help build a long-lasting relationship with the customer, making them loyal customers for years to come. Not providing this type of personal service will only mean that customers will take their business elsewhere when it comes to renewing their policy.

An opportunity to prosper

The digital age has brought with it a new generation of insurance, which in turn is an opportunity for insurers to thrive and improve the service they provide to their customers. By using technology, insurers can begin to communicate with their customers in the way that suits them best; use innovation as a way to open up the conversation even further; and combine new technology with current knowledge to provide more accurate, more affordable and ultimately more attractive services and products.

Download your free copy of Strategy Meets Action’s (SMA) “SMA Research: P&C Claims in the Digital / AI Era” research report to explore the potential for transformation in the claims environment.

Content extracted from Quadient.