Client Stories

A plea for radical simplification and digital customer engagement in insurance

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I just got my annual 1-inch-thick packet from my insurance company. I expect it will help prop up a desk or help start a fire in the fireplace during the approaching winter. But I’m left wondering — as I have very few actual interactions with my insurance company — if this isn’t a missed opportunity for them. What is the strategy when they send me this book? I realize there are legal and regulatory reasons for these mailings, but putting that aside, it is a lot of paper and shipping, and perhaps more importantly it’s a communication with their loyal customer. I’ve done business with this company for over 14 years. But when I receive this book, it feels not as if I’m a loyal customer, but that I’m being processed through a legal requirement.

Whether they mean it or not, the delivery of this yearly gift in my mailbox is a tacit communication that might read literally like this: ‘Hello. We are your insurance company. Here is a glance at the complexity of the financial industry…hard to understand, right?…Well, its complicated, but we had to show you. If you understood what was in all this documentation, you might not need us so much. Thanks. Enjoy.”

There has got to be a better use of their resources and my attention.

As insurance portals get more robust, I’d hope I can just go and download these when (and if I ever) need them. Some companies already provide this convenience. It would be even better if they can summarize the critical changes in the plan or coverage in a very simple bullet point fashion, instead of embedding important details within a massive document. I’d like it even more if I could post a comment on the doc, like “does this really need to be 200 pages?” I don’t think insurance companies show they are customer focused when they send these documents. Banks have actually gotten much better at this of late – so change is possible. And, I think the need for change should be obvious. I’d urge leaders in insurance to take transformation on themselves, rather than wait for evolution of the industry to pass them by, or have innovations thrust upon them by a nimble company from another industry. Why not drive the change themselves now because customers increasingly view insurance as a commodity, making price the only feature? Relationships can be a feature, too. Great web portals with social capabilities can facilitate relationships.

I’d submit that as insurance wants more of my business, they should consider communication strategy deeper with every touch, even the legally required ones. The intent would be to make sure it is further engaging a customer and creating more trust in the vendor and the industry. Treat me more like an individual. Engage me in content you send me to show that it is important and worthy of attention. How about a top sheet so I quickly understand the changes to my policy and pros and cons? Because like many financial services clients, sometimes I wonder if there is not an ulterior motive in all that fine print and legal jargon.

That is the constructive feedback, now I also had a delightful customer experience with my insurance company [it is the same provider]. I was recently invited to a driver safety course proactively to reduce my premiums for 3 years. So they volunteered to save me money – now that engaged me! It got me thinking that there are so many more opportunities to improve the customer interaction. So many opportunities for insurance to take what it knows about me already to offer me value.

Shortly after the course, I read a new insurance report on Big Data and Telemetics for insurance. It provides detail and a look into the ‘Bigger Data’ future for insurance, as Telematics can provide the opportunity for further driver discounts. It can aggregate my driving data as well as my families to provide helpful hints, perhaps remind me when my tires might need to be changed to prevent an accident. The host of added value services that the combination of customer facing web portals and Telematics represents could drive a new wave of innovation in the industry. But the key is whether insurance companies want to embrace these advantages to truly engage their clients.

Program Director, Cross-Portfolio Services Strategy

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