To accelerate adoption of its digital channel, Desjardins Insurance wanted to boost uptake of its mobile app. Enriching the app with weather insight offered a way to attract new users with a useful new service.
Desjardins Insurance uses data from The Weather Company to become the first insurer in Canada to deliver instant & hyper-localized weather alerts from its mobile app, improving policy holder safety.
Drivesadoption of mobile apps, enabling more responsive, lower-cost customer service
Reducesclaims by helping customers protect their property from weather damage
Fostersloyalty and helps to reduce churn by boosting customer engagement
Business challenge story
Taking cover when the weather turns
According to government research, Canada’s climate is changing, and the risk of extreme weather is rising. From an insurer’s perspective, this creates new challenges, as hailstorms, blizzards, high winds, and extreme temperatures can all cause serious damage to property and vehicles.
Building on its long heritage of innovation, Desjardins Insurance wanted to help its clients minimize the impact of extreme weather on their lives and property. The organization recognized that alerting customers to severe weather could be a useful service, allowing it to get in touch with clients in times of need and remind them of the digital claim process.
Philippe Gosselin, Director of Innovation at Desjardins Insurance, explains: “We launched our mobile app to bring innovative and differentiated offers to our clients. We first introduced a car telematic program, then a water leak and freeze detector program. Having the possibility to give our customers hyper-localized warning was a really exciting opportunity, because we felt it would encourage uptake of our app and convert into lowered customer service cost. We want this app to offer our clients unique, first-in-Canada, relevant services that they can’t find anywhere else, and weather alerts were right there!”
By providing advanced notice of severe weather events, Desjardins Insurance could help its clients take action to avoid damage. For example, they could seek off-road parking to protect their automobiles, or postpone their journeys until a storm passes.
However, to turn this vision into a reality, the company needed a partner capable of providing highly accurate weather data and alerts on a hyper-local level.
Innovation in action
The first item on the agenda for Desjardins Insurance was to build an early warning system to alert clients about imminent hailstorms. Hail is a significant peril in Canada, and one of the major causes of weather-related automobile insurance claims.
The insurer draws on Weather Alerts for Engagement from The Weather Company, an IBM Business, which delivers customized notifications to clients including precise information about when and where hailstorms are likely to strike, and the probable size of the hailstones.
“The Weather Company provided a set of APIs, and we developed our app to call on them,” says Philippe Gosselin. “We ran a proof of concept, and we were pleased with the results. It impressed us when The Weather Company team extended their use of the Canadian radar solution to ensure we had the coverage we needed.”
Since then, Desjardins Insurance has introduced alerts for other hazards too, including heavy rain and strong wind. Users select up to five locations within the app, and receive push notifications when severe weather events are forecast within 500 meters of those places, at least 30 minutes in advance.
If there isn’t time or opportunity to take preventive action, and a client’s vehicle does get damaged, they can use the app to submit information about the impact and send them directly to an auto-appraiser, dramatically simplifying and speeding up the claims process.
In the future, Desjardins Insurance plans to use insight into impending weather events to improve internal planning. For example, it could help the insurer predict the likely volume of claims it will receive in the hours following an incident.
Investing in customer loyalty
Offering weather alerts is another step in Desjardins Insurance’s ongoing efforts to develop long-lasting relationships with its clients via innovation.
“With help from The Weather Company, we’ve become the first property and casualty insurer in Canada to offer a hyper-localized weather alert service,” comments Philippe Gosselin. “Once again, we’re demonstrating our commitment to making our clients’ lives better, helping them avoid damage to their property and the effect that multiple claims can have on their premiums. By differentiating ourselves from competitors, we can inspire client engagement and remain their first-choice insurer.”
Desjardins Insurance anticipates that making its apps weather-aware will help to increase adoption and usage, with benefits for both the company and its client base. By using the apps to automate common customer service functions, the insurer can provide responses to client requests at greater speed and efficiency, and reduce the pressure on its call centers.
Philippe Gosselin concludes: “Our apps give us the opportunity to enhance services while reducing costs, a win-win situation. Working with The Weather Company, Desjardins Insurance is building on a heritage of innovation to find new ways to provide value to our customers.”
Desjardins Insurance is the third largest property and casualty insurer group in Canada. Part of Desjardins Group, the biggest financial cooperative in Canada, Desjardins Insurance offers auto, home and other insurance products.
Take the next step
The Weather Company, an IBM Business, helps people make informed decisions and take action in the face of weather. The company offers the most accurate forecasts globally with personalized and actionable weather data and insights to millions of consumers, as well as thousands of marketers and businesses via Weather’s API, its business solutions division, and its own digital products from The Weather Channel (weather.com) and Weather Underground (wunderground.com).
The company delivers around 25 billion forecasts daily. Its products include the world’s most downloaded weather app, a network of 250,000 personal weather stations, a top-20 U.S. website, one of the world’s largest IoT data platforms, and industry-leading business solutions.
Weather Means Business™. The world’s biggest brands in aviation, energy, insurance, media, and government rely on The Weather Company for data, technology platforms and services to help improve decision-making and respond to weather’s impact on business.
For more, visit business.weather.com.
Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. in Quebec, provider of automobile, property and commercial business insurance, to Certas Direct Insurance company and Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company in Ontario and to Certas Direct Insurance Company in Alberta, underwriters of automobile, property and commercial business insurance.