The Insurance Industry Wises Up

With policyholders expecting more from their online relationships with insurers, the industry has been answering the call - and continues to do so.  Forrester Research recently published “Trends 2014: North American Digital Insurance” which details the changes in consumer demographics and customer expectations that all insurers need to be aware of. The report concludes that customers – not insurers – are making the rules. Consumers have built solid, online-based relationships with other businesses – such as retailers, banks and other companies – and want their dealings with insurance providers to be no different.

With consumers shifting towards a more active role, insurers need to be aware of the best way to communicate important information and increase their brand awareness to this rapidly evolving audience.  By using digital channels and being able to communicate with policyholders in real time, insurance providers are showing that they are keeping the needs and desires of their customers at the top of their priority list.

According to J.D. Power, customer satisfaction is on the rise in the home and auto insurance fields. From the start, providers need to deliver messaging that promotes brand awareness and grabs the consumer’s attention. Emails, videos and web portals are among the channels that allow insurers to educate the consumer about coverage options, quotes and pricing, greatly improving the odds of that customer purchasing a policy.

Once the policyholder is on board, communication needs to continue to be clear, concise and relevant. During the claims process, insurers have to reach out to customers and keep them informed on the status of their claim from origination through settlement. Often times, an incident requiring claim processing can be harrowing for policyholders and it is vitally important that they are able to look at their insurer as a trusted ally. Keeping lines of communication open, delivering personalized, clear and relevant messaging and getting information out quickly and efficiently is key to customer satisfaction and retention.

In addition to utilizing apps, web portals and emails to better communicate with their customers, insurers are also taking steps to better aggregate data coming from sources such as CRM databases, social feeds and online interactions.   With this data, insurers can better generate personalized, relevant messages as well as promote new products and create brand stickiness.

As the Forrester report concludes, “Digital must now be a core underpinning of an insurer's customer experience philosophy, not an endpoint.” Companies that put and keep the customer first, leveraging data to help create relevant, clear messaging, delivered via engaging and effective digital channels will not only increase their brand engagement but generate stronger customer loyalty.