Venture Solutions attended the DIGIN 2021 conference in San Diego, a meeting of the industry’s top minds to explore how Digital Insurance tools can help providers develop bold strategies and innovate new solutions to create more value for their customers. The conference was packed with ideas surrounding the ways the industry can harness the power of technology to transform and enhance the customer experience.
Here are our top three takeaways:
Insurance companies face the challenge of keeping pace with an ever-increasing rate of evolving technology. All the discussions at this conference made clear that the time is now to stop trying to patch up core legacy systems with quick-fix APIs and tackle a total digital transformation. The goals for companies taking on digital insurance tools are that it will change how they think about solving problems, allow them to meet customers where they are in communications, and make ongoing transformation a priority by including tech reform in the annual budget.
One of the emerging features of the industry is digital broker agencies. Customers do not necessarily want to spend time building rapport with an individual agent, but rather they tend to prefer an elevated servicing experience through digital tools that are effective and reinforce the business relationship. Digital agencies offer brokers more lucrative opportunities by reducing overhead and providing 24/7 access to clients. Simple actions like adding a new vehicle or driver to a policy or being able to access insurance cards via mobile app are low-cost solutions that go a long way to improve the customer experience.
The key to taking advantage of these digital tools is building a culture of innovation and experimentation. Challenge front line staff to think creatively and talk through best-case scenarios. Invest in process changes, then follow them through to completion and implementation. Keeping pace with changes in technology is a start, but the real growth opportunities are in identifying problems with no solution yet and finding the technology to solve them. Of course, the challenge in an industry where data protection is of the utmost importance is to be sure that technology can be trusted and is not vulnerable to abuse. Venture Solutions offers a suite of solutions that allows insurance providers to tackle digital transformation without compromising security or quality.
These digital agencies also present the chance for agents to focus on previously underserved markets. The persona of new buyers has shifted in recent years. Young buyers may not have the assets most commonly insured in the past, but there are other opportunities to offer them protection if you are willing to get creative: home rentals, car rentals, bike rentals, gig economy worker coverage, pet insurance, cell phone coverage, appliance coverage, etc. Underwriting is daunting and complex for these new buyers and is pushed to the forefront of the insurance buying process. Instead, it should be woven into the process throughout the whole timeline of the relationship. Micro insurance—such as two hours of medical/dental coverage when renting a bike because it increases the chance of injury—can act as a sort of trial period that then transitions into longer-term insurance.
Personalization, when done well, introduces constant opportunities to identify changes in the buyer’s needs. Insurance providers can add questions into the buying process to help identify what coverage is most needed. For example, if a customer is buying a new phone, questions that ask them to identify a specific reason why can point to whether a specific kind of coverage could help them should they lose their new phone, break it, or it gets stolen. Technology such as telematics allows providers to gamify good driving habits and encourage drivers to act safer. That data can also be used to recommend appropriate products according to their risk sets. Working with OEMs to capture data on specific car and recreational vehicle safety allows providers to tailor coverage to a buyer’s specific vehicle.
However, personalization done poorly is devastating to customer experience. Improving CX in all aspects of a product is more important than making product offering more complex or building out more types. Fully automated analytics models of personalization are great for removing human error and obvious bias, but how those analytics models are designed can introduce bias into how that data is interpreted. Most personalization that fails to serve customer experience makes the mistake of capturing their specific needs at the beginning of the relationship but fails to update and evolve that personalization past the acquisition stage. Data and AI can be better used to capture ongoing life changes and create more of a presence in the middle of the purchasing cycle.
It is important to get personalization right because simply having it will not necessarily help providers grow, but not having it is certainly worse. And yet, the best technology, automation, and analytics are not enough to transform the industry. The right people with a mindset of meeting customer expectations and making the process simple and personal will out-perform anyone. From personalized video communications to preference management, Venture Solutions is equipped with the technology to help insurance providers create a communications strategy tailored to their customers’ needs.
The pandemic made clear how important it is to keep customer information updated to make the CCM process as seamless as possible. Insurance providers needed better tools, customer experience, digital capabilities, supplier and partner integration, self-service options, and visibility. This led to them investing in omnichannel communications delivery and contact management tools.
Self-service tools—such as Venture Access—equip agents with the option to engage in omnichannel delivery like secure web messaging, email, and SMS. Customer portals that offer education and give them a reason to return help insurance companies reduce risk and remove friction by streamlining expectations. For CX to be as smooth as possible, the claims process needs to be transparent, and customer accounts need to be easy to access. Provide regular status updates on claims that clients can check 24/7 and send them alerts when it changes. Keep clients feeling informed and involved with regular automated communications according to their contact preferences.
One of the simplest ways to embrace the digital-first approach and improve CX is by asking customers how they want to be reached; let them know what to expect from communications and enable them to set their own preferences. Venture Solutions’ omni-channel delivery solutions offer insurance providers the ability to deliver communications to their customers however they prefer.
A pain point for policy holders that is too often overlooked is how difficult it can be to file a claim. Providers should make it obvious how customers can contact them, including by phone even if e-contact is presented as the preferred, first option. A better claims experience leads to better customer retention rates. When someone has to make a claim, the cause is usually something catastrophic. Do not add to what is possibly the worst day of their life: be there for them and make the process as easy for them as possible. Good CX creates loyal customers for life.
All around, the DIGIN 2021 Conference was full of information and exciting insights into how to approach a customer-first strategy with digital tools. We cannot wait to go back again in 2022 and find out what is in store for the future of the insurance industry.