How companies are reinventing the digital relationship with their customers
Insurance companies don’t have it easy. With the world gone digital, their legacy systems make it hard for them to keep up. And even when they overcome that challenge, they have to comply with regulations that make it harder for them to play the digital experience game. The bar has been raised by companies far removed from the insurance world, such as Amazon, Apple and Airbnb, with customers today demanding a seamless digital experience across the board, regardless of industry or company size.
For B2B, B2C and B2B2C insurance organizations, there are unique sets of challenges when it comes to customer experience. Many of their customers expect a fully digital onboarding and service experience, while others are accustomed to working with agents; and agents themselves could provide better experiences, serving their customers in a way that is helpful, consistent, and inspires trust.
So, who to focus on - customers or agents?
The answer is: both. And with that, the insurance industry is finally getting a makeover.
people are asking more questions and expect access to transparent answers. Ultimately, they want to be able to do everything on their own.
For years, insurance policies were seen as a black box. Nobody really understood what was inside. So you relied on having a good agent on your side. However, as knowledge becomes a democratized commodity, people are asking more questions and expect access to transparent answers. Ultimately, they want to be able to do everything on their own.
To align with the new status quo, legacy insurers have begun to invest heavily in digitization. Simultaneously, a set of new players have entered the playing field. These smart, nimble, tech-savvy providers are shaking things up. Below are a few that have caught my eye and the attention of many traditional insurers.
Lemonade has done a great job at creating a mobile-first digital experience by simplifyingwhat was once a convoluted and time-consuming process. The company offers simple, clear and attractive renters’ and home insurance. Clearly, they are reacting to Millennial generation demands - and it’s paying off, as 87% of Lemonade customers are first-time insurance buyers.
Another disruptor that I am a huge fan of is Trov, with on-demand insurance for things. Instead of being tied down to a traditional, yearly insurance policy, they offer the option to pick-and-choose what items you want insured, and for what periods of time. This means that you can insure a camera, a phone, or even a guitar for as little as a day or a weekend, for example, if you are planning to hit the road. Currently available in Australia and the UK, I’m very excited about its upcoming launch in the US.
The most recent insurance innovator on my radar is Metromile, a car insurance provider challenging the traditional business model. Instead of quoting per time, they quote per mile. This pay-as-you-go structure is quite revolutionary, yet a perfect brand differentiator for today, when customers prefer less commitment, and more freedom and personalization.
While these new disruptors are creating best-in-class digital experiences tailored for Millennials and younger customers, they haven’t driven out traditional insurance providers just yet. The top 25 P&C insurance companies still control two-thirds of the US market share. Given their complicated business models, legacy systems, and frequent dependence on agents, these companies can’t be as agile as the new players - but it doesn’t mean they aren’t trying or making strides.
Prudential is dipping their toes in the digital waters with This is Lifely, a site currently providing California life insurance directly online, without the need to go through an agent. This approach is especially attractive to the younger generation, which prefers this self-service approach.
consumers now also seek to have all of their account information accessible at the touch of a button, with the capability to take simple actions.
Beyond the market demand that the acquisition channel be digitized, consumers now also seek to have all of their account information accessible at the touch of a button, with the capability to take simple actions like online bill payment.
Allstate, along with other companies, are known for digitizing their services by adding features that allow mobile users to interact with the company. For example, policyholders can take a picture of a car accident on their phone and submit the claim instantly via the Allstate app.
Wherever your company is along its journey into the digital era, tools like artificial intelligence, smart chatbots and digital experience technology will lead the way. They will identify friction points in the journey of a prospect or customer, and flag those who need to be contacted by an agent or who want to complete the funnel digitally. Understanding the insurance business, the needs of prospects and customers, and the necessary optimizations for a seamless, omnichannel digital experience will be the make-or-break challenge for companies.