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How Insurers Can Stay Agile and Keep Up With Changing Customer Demands

How Insurers Can Stay Agile and Keep Up With Changing Customer Demands

Customers are demanding more from their insurance companies. Insurtech is emerging to disrupt the sector.

Insurance companies are increasingly leveraging insurance technology or ‘Insurtech’ to meet the evolving needs of customers. Insurtech refers to the innovative use of technology to improve efficiency, build trust, and deliver personalised insurance services. 

According to the latest State of the Connected Customer report, customers today are more active on digital channels than in 2020. This trend is not expected to slow down anytime soon even as social restrictions continue to ease. In addition to this digital-first shift, 56% of customers expect offers to always be personalised. What’s more, 62% of customers want companies to anticipate their needs, while 73% expect companies to understand their individual needs and preferences. 

As insurers strive to meet this growing customer expectations, building trust is proving to be more critical than ever. 80% of insurance executives stated that frustrating online experiences led to a loss of customer trust during the pandemic. So how is Insurtech making a difference? Let’s look at some ways it is disrupting the insurance industry.

Thriving in the new world of Insurtech

Our guest at InsureTech Connect Asia, Varun Mittal, Group Head, Digital and Ecosystems at Singlife with Aviva explained how the pandemic propelled the insurance and financial sector to make rapid changes. “It was more than a wakeup call — you can press snooze on a wakeup call! But there was no snooze button. Service and sales grew by five years in one year,” said Varun. “In a world of anxiety and information overload, we wanted to help at least remove financial worries from our customers.”

For Singlife, this means returning the power to make informed decisions to the customer. This includes providing transparency around the use of their data along with simplifying and digitising processes that were paper-heavy and tedious.

In Varun’s view, the launch of open banking in Singapore will go a long way in helping build trusted relationships. By giving customers a holistic view of all their policies and accounts, they are empowered to make the right and informed decisions. “This might ultimately mean they buy fewer products, but that’s okay. There is currently a trust deficit and this is a great opportunity to build trust.” 

Insurtech solutions can help insurance providers build trust while meeting the increased demand for simple digital solutions. By using client insights tools, insurers can make highly personalised offers to customers. 

Whether your customer has just bought a new car, refinanced their home loan, or planned an overseas trip, you can make the relevant offer at the right moment. 

Insurtech also enables insurers to meet their customers where they are, on any preferred channel or device. If a customer initiates their query with a chatbot, they should be able to pick it up on their app or over the phone. Insurtech can help enable such an end-to-end seamless experience.

Cultivating agility to meet new challenges

In addition to adapting to the shifts in customer expectations, traditional insurers find themselves competing with the industry’s new entrants. Being more innovative in their digital strategy allows these newer competitors to easily adopt a customer-centric approach. 

But innovation is not the only important factor when it comes to stepping up. Speed is critical too as fast-moving markets demand products to be created or modified in weeks or even days, not months. 

Newer insurers are also more responsive to emerging trends in open finance and the flexibility demanded by customers — these are significant challenges for traditional insurers to contend with. Agility with automation, innovation, and digitisation is the key to meeting these challenges.

Automation can streamline processes to increase efficiency and accuracy across high volumes. Digital tools can be used to carry our repeatable tasks, such as creating a quote or recommending a policy. This frees up insurance specialists to spend more time on complex, specialised work.   

By creating digital self-service options for obtaining quotes, making claims, and adjusting policies, insurers can offer multiple touchpoints in the customer journey. This can enhance the customer experience. 

AI-powered digitisation and automation can help insurers easily and efficiently capture and retain leads at the beginning of the insurance journey. This can help deliver fast, targeted service that is crucial in responding to customers in an increasingly competitive environment. 

As the financial sector becomes more commoditised, customers want insurance options that are differentiated such as use-based (like motor insurance for fleet management) and on-demand (one-off use for travelling or using ride-hailing service). 

Using legacy technology with slow transactions, fragmented data, and reliance on paperwork can impede the innovation required to develop these differentiated products. Integrated digital platforms like Financial Services Cloud can help insurers simplify their processes by having a 360 degree view of their customers on intuitive dashboards. 

Working with brokers and underwriters

Digitisation and automation are also critical to the relationship insurers have with brokers. According to the Celent 2021 report on ‘Optimizing the Independent Agency Experience’,  76% of brokers say they would send more business to insurers if they improved their technology and made it easier to use

AI-powered automation and cloud-based CRM technology can streamline the end-to-end insurance experience — from digital quoting to automated payments. The technology keeps brokers competitive and helps with customer acquisition and retention in a competitive market. Custom apps, for example, can give your brokers in-the-moment access to the data they need to secure a customer. At the same time, insurers have access to a wealth of information about broker performance, so opportunities are maximised with any issues being quickly resolved.

Meeting your customers where they live

As discussed above, it is important for insurers to connect with their customers on their preferred channel. 

Varun pointed out, customers no longer want to be burdened with a huge policy booklet delivered to them by post. Instead they want to engage digitally with their quotes, claims, and policies. They want buying insurance to be as seamless an experience as shopping for any other product in the online marketplace.

Indeed, 68% of customers said the pandemic elevated their expectations of insurers’ digital capabilities. This highlights the importance of innovation, digitisation, and automation in improving customer experience. And that’s the winning combination that Insurtech is positioned to deliver. “Simplify and earn trust,” said Varun. “This is the transformation we want to drive.”

By transitioning from legacy systems to Insurtech solutions like a cloud-based CRM  with AI-powered insights, insurers can better meet the expectations of today’s digital-first customers. The era of ringing a call centre to check the progress of a claim is fast coming to an end.  

Financial Services Cloud for insurance is a dedicated solution for financial services organisations. It allows you to get a unified view of your customer, build trust and add value at every stage of the insurance journey.

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