Why insurers should focus on digitising the customer journey from the ground up

Insurance firms should only begin experimenting with new and exciting customer experiences once they get the basics right, says Mark Moran, head of product at insurance customer engagement platform ManageMy.

New technologies incorporating the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence (AI) are providing insurers with a plethora of exciting products and services they can start offering their customers. Whether its using geospatial technology for assessing property claims, or reducing health insurance premiums by linking up to a FitBit, there are a lot of new ways insurance firms can interact with customers and improve their experiences. However, companies cannot simply skip straight ahead to these new-world services. Many insurance firms are working with legacy systems that are not designed to use these new tools.

ManageMy‘s Mark Moran said, “You only win the right to try wonderful new things with customers if you get the basics right first.” The ManageMy platform was designed to do both things. The company enables insurers digitise their customer journeys, while enabling insurers to develop more exciting customer experiences and propositions.

ManageMy was initially founded in 2015 as a digital technology company; however, around 18 months ago, the company made the strategic decision to focus its technology on the insurance industry. This shift recognised that the insurance industry had not had much success in digitisation – and still lags behind other industries. Mark Moran was one of the senior management team that were brought in to help execute on this shift in direction. The goal was to help insurance firms achieve their digital transformation at the customer interface level, without having to tear down their existing systems.

ManageMy is a cloud-based front-end solution which enables insurers  to digitise and optimise their customer journeys. This includes improving access to data to drive customer insights, streamlining onboarding, enabling direct communications with customers, allowing self-service for claims and amendments, and much more. Insurance firms can also integrate additional tools and services from other exciting InsurTech providers to further deepen their capabilities and increase revenue streams.

Getting the basics right

Most insurers are eager to adapt their products and services to meet the changing needs of customers. At the same time, the wide-spread use of policy comparison websites has seen the insurance selection process shift to being price-led  – the buying decision is often no longer about the quality of product or service.

Insurers are now looking to rejuvenate how they engage with customers, as competing on price alone is not sustainable . He said, “the price-led nature of insurance means it is often far more cost effective for an insurer to retain one customer, than to acquire five or ten new customers. For an insurer to continue to have a sustainable business, they need to invest in keeping the customers that they’ve already got, rather than simply competing on price. “

“The first focus needs to be on getting the “hygiene factors” right, so that customers have a successful customer experience at any point in their insurance journey,” he said. “For example, if in the auto insurance process, a customer wants to send in proof of a no-claims bonus, why should they have to send it through the post? They should simply be able to access the insurer’s app, take a photo and upload it. This saves an incredible amount of time, improves the customer journey immeasurably and, as has come even more to the fore due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, is a quick win digitisation for Insurers.”

“When insurers get the basics right, customers are more willing to engage with them, and the insurer earns the right to have different types of conversations with them. These conversations might be around meeting additional insurance needs or reducing insurance risk to the benefit of both the insurer and the customer. Ultimately, customers are unlikely to engage if every time they want to do something with you they have to pick up the phone or write a letter.”

“Customers want their insurance carriers to engage with them digitally. They don’t want to receive a letter or an email and then have to phone up to get a quote. They want to buy a product when they’re ready, and then manage the lifetime of that product, through convenient and intuitive digital channels, whether that be an app or a mobile-optimised web portal or through a browser – or all 3!.”

“Customer expectations are being set by the tech giants like Amazon. The problem is, many insurance firms are not capable of meeting customer expectations is this way – yet! It takes time and money to implement digital services for all their products. Additionally, most InsurTechs out there that could help them achieve their goals focus on one vertical and fixing one or two problems, which leaves insurance firms seeking many separate providers and tech integrations to offer a full suite of digital services across their business”, Moran stated.

For example, an insurer might implement a new video claim solution for assessing water damage in homes, accelerating the claim resolution processes. However, if they wanted to incorporate a similar solution for medical insurance claims, they might then need to go out and find – and integrate – another provider. This puts stress on firms deciding what they prioritise, and where to spend their time, money and limited resources.

ManageMy solves this challenge by serving as a plug-and-play solution enabling carriers to build their digital insurance ecosystem. Its technology can integrate with the insurer through APIs and then transform their customer journey management from IT development to real-time configuration. ManageMy enables the insurer to partner with third-parties to add the tech and the services they want, whether it be video claims for home insurance, telematics for auto insurance, AI-based underwriting for life insurance or even a digital loyalty program. Instead of the carrier doing this through multiple integration points, it can be achieved  through the single integration with ManageMy.

“It allows insurers to easily digitise their journeys and accelerate the pace ay which they’re able to do it. Our modular configuration approach means they don’t have to spend six months building claims journey for auto insurance, and then go and build another brand-new claims journey using a lot of the same principles on a different system for life insurance.”

Coronavirus impacting the digitalisation

The coronavirus pandemic has put an imperative on insurance firms needing to accelerate their digitalisation strategies. When everyone is social distancing, the primary way to reach out to customers is through online interactions. Insurers that are still reliant on face-to-face exchanges and call centres will be left behind by the more digitally adept. Moran said, “I think what COVID-19 has highlighted is that there is still a lot of the hygiene work left to do, and now is the time to do it!”

The coronavirus has seen companies scramble to digitise their customer interactions, exploring new ways to engage with customers or ways to continue operations. This is where a digitally capable insurer can excel.

“Insurers who are digitally-led, digitally capable and using the ManageMy platform, could have a brand-new claims journey ready in an afternoon. That claims journey could start with a message that says ‘COVID-19 means we can’t get to your claim for a couple of weeks, but if you’ve got something really urgent then phone this number’,” Moran said.

Something as simple as sending a push notification to customers, can significantly transform the customer experience. Customers instantly know where they stand and don’t feel like they have been forgotten about. In times of panic, whether it is the coronavirus or the aftermath of floods and hurricanes, this type of proactive communication can save time for everyone and greatly reduce stress. This level of customer care can go a long way to providing customers with tangible value from their insurance product – moving the discussion away from price alone.

“Then, when customers come to renewal, perhaps they won’t jump to a new insurer who’s £15 cheaper this year, because they’ve had such a  positive experience in their time of need. And these are the conversations we’re having with insurers – help me get the basic stuff right – quickly – so that I can serve, and even delight my customers, in a time of global crisis.”

Copyright © 2020 FinTech Global

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