According to an EY report, more customers are going online to make purchases, including for insurance coverage.
More than half of those surveyed said they were willing to buy homeowners insurance online, up from 45% three years ago. And 33% said they’d buy car insurance online, rising 10% since 2018. Shoppers can also find other types of insurance online — renters, natural disaster, health, identity theft, etc.
This move to digital from agent-driven sales is only one of the pain points the insurance industry faces in attempting to provide excellent CX in a very competitive industry. Below are three ways to address this paint point (and others) and offer better CX.
1. Collect and Leverage Customer Data
According to Jeff Piotrowski, market leader, insurance at Verisk Marketing Solutions, the insurance industry is locked in a race to offer the same products and services at the lowest costs. Why? Because more consumers are comparison shopping online, seeking out savings.
But instead of succumbing to razor-thin margins, he added, industry leaders are creating better experiences by leveraging what they know about existing and prospective customers.
“Rather than sending thousands of emails to thousands of contacts and hoping something sticks,” said Piotrowski, “focus your resources on people who are best suited to your products and most likely to complete a purchase in the near future. This requires access to real-time, third-party data and the ability to reconcile that data with contacts that are already in your CRM.”
Such a strategy also opens the door to a true omnichannel approach. Insurers can meet customers in market — when and where they’re searching — and also allow them to pick up the phone or respond to a piece of direct mail and track those interactions across channels.
“Not only does this sort of personalized marketing lead to better short-term customer experiences,” Piotrowski explained, “it also lays the foundation for customer loyalty and cross-selling between insurance lines, which makes it easier for agents and carriers to meet their goals.”
Related Article: 4 Types of Customer Data and How to Use Them
2. Use AI to Facilitate Claims, Other Processes
Making an insurance claim can be a lengthy and complicated process, said Loran Marmes, owner of Medicare Solutions Team.
“Customers often have to jump through a lot of hoops to get their claims processed, and even then, they may not receive the full amount that they're entitled to. Sometimes their claim is denied too.”
One way to improve this claims process, according to Marmes, is with technology. Several insurance companies already use AI to automate their claims processes, detect patterns and look for red flags, speeding up the process.
“In today’s technology-driven world, customers want personalization and efficiency,” said Abhishek Pakhira, chief operating officer at Aureus Tech Systems. “AI and IoT help insurers reduce the time it takes customers to buy policies or settle claims while collecting data they can use to customize insurance products for their customers.”
Pakhira added that AI is essential because it can assess risks, identify fraud and assure customers that their data will be protected. It also speeds up the lengthy claims process, reducing the timeframe for approval to a few hours rather than a few weeks.
3. Ensure a 360-Degree Customer View
As with other industries, many insurance companies still struggle with having customer data in different, disconnected silos.
“Data sitting in disparate systems is of little value unless it can be consolidated with other data for useful business purposes,” said Jamie Peers, Synatic vice president of development and alliances.
“To do this,” he continued, “insurers need a platform that can aggregate data from multiple sources and store that data in one place, and then push the consolidated data into their CRM to achieve a 360-degree view of their customers.”
According to Peers, many companies are adopting hybrid integration platforms (HIPs), which make the right data available to the right people at the right time. HIPs enable disparate inbound data flows to be aggregated and synthesized, normalizing the data and loading the output into multiple systems where it can be used for market, sales, support and other applications.
Related Article: How to Prepare Data for Ingestion and Integration
Insurance customers make periodic (monthly, quarterly or annually, depending on the plan) decisions on whether to continue with the same insurer or switch. Those with life and health policies may not renew with anyone.
It’s incumbent on insurers to do what they can to solve pain points, which usually translate into poor CX for customers.