Client Stories

Does Your Insurer Really Understand Customer Engagement?

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Travel Insurance

Let me tell you a heartening story in which an insurer really delivers on customer engagement.
Steve, a happy-go-lucky millennial, was travelling from New York to Los Angeles via Atlanta. Only two hours before he boarded his flight, Steve purchased travel insurance using his mobile phone. His flight from JFK to Atlanta was uneventful and arrived on time. As Steve was enjoying a beer at the bar, he was unaware that a late afternoon thunderstorm had moved over the Atlanta airport cancelling his connection to LA.
Also unbeknownst to Steve, his insurer was already finding him a new flight. Steve found out when his insurance provider texted him with his updated flight information. Part of the text read, “Due to your extended delay, we’ve even saved you a seat in the VIP lounge. Oh, and check your bank account, Steve. There’s an extra $250 in there.” Steve’s response? He tweeted to his friends. “It’s travel insurance. But, it feels like magic.”
Surprisingly, Steve’s engagement with AirCare didn’t end there. Once he boarded his new flight to Los Angeles, Steve’s plane sat on the tarmac for more than two hours due to the storm’s ensuing air traffic control delay. AirCare tracked his new flight in real time and automatically transferred $1,000 more into Steve’s account when his flight finally took off for Los Angeles. Steve didn’t even have to submit a claim to receive the payment!
I know this sounds like a fantasy. But, it isn’t. Steve’s travel insurer is AirCare, a real travel insurance provider. What AirCare has figured out is that sometimes the best customer engagement is for your customer not to have to engage! AirCare automatically takes care of business without forcing their customers to push and prod them along!
AirCare has clearly figured out that millennial insurance customers, like Steve, demand an understanding of their immediate individual needs and fast responses. Our survey data shows that, if millennials’ needs are not met, they are more likely to switch to insurers that provide value. Notice I said, value. Not price.
Here’s the thing. Customer empowerment is here to stay across all customer segments. I don’t know about you. But, even though I’m not a millennial, AirCare’s approach to customer engagement sounds wonderful. In my view, if an insurer can understand how to market and communicate to empowered millennials, it can successfully engage all of its target customers, including me.
In fact, our own survey results reveal that a whopping 90% of all consumers now expect personalization. Clearly, delivering on customer engagement is more important than ever for insurance providers.
But, how can an insurer get started in engaging its customers better? By:

  • Leveraging customer analytics to build evolving 360° views of policyholders to proactively anticipate needs policyholders didn’t even know they had
  • Capitalizing on omni-channel customer engagement to deliver more intimate policyholder interactions via a seamless, contextually-relevant, physical and digital relationship that delights the policyholder and improves with time
  • Improving communication between your call center and web operations for more effective customer service in multichannel environments

The results? Enhanced policyholder engagement efficiencies, including improved cross-sell and up-sell rates, improved retention rates, enhanced policyholder profitability, and higher policyholder satisfaction and loyalty.
After Steve’s experience with AirCare, what do you think happened when a competing insurer tried to sell him travel insurance? The competitor’s offer reminded Steve to get out his mobile phone and sign up with AirCare for his next trip!
For more food for thought, insurers can check out IBM Smarter Insurance, IBM Smarter Commerce and “Digital Reinvention: Trust, transparency and technology in the insurance world of tomorrow.”

Global Cloud Leader, IBM Institute for Business Value

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