Future tech: How can insurers offer a more differentiated customer experience?

Here's our take on how insurers can carefully leverage emerging tech by using tried and tested UX methodology.

Car manufacturers can see their dealerships survive and thrive in the digital age by seamlessly joining the digital and physical experiences they offer.

Brand touchpoints are increasingly moving online and recent studies indicate that it is affecting executive’s expectations of brick-and-mortar networks. Our research indicates there is still value in physical dealerships for customers making these large purchasing decisions.

The outline of a person's head with a microchip inserted into it with different symbols coming off of it.
How to begin addressing issues with the customer experience insurers provide

We work with some of the world’s leading insurers and believe that more can be done to offer a differentiated customer experience by harnessing new technologies to deliver a seamless and value adding experience when it matters most: at the point of initial purchase, renewal, or claim. 

Cheaper premiums may seem more attractive to customers. And if increasing the number of premiums opposed to building long term relationships with your customers aligns with your business strategy then this may make sense. Although, this is an antiquated approach that fails to consider the emerging tech enriched future. 

Often information about people’s cover and making a claim is unclear. For example, claimants may find out they’re not covered in full for their expensive medical tests due to their premium’s poorly articulated cover details, or the claims processes they have to use are entirely ineffective and time intensive to use. When this happens, problems start to arise. 

Questions about value shift from monetary to personal – customers realise, cheapest is by no means best. 

Equally, a lack of a clear and concise breakdown of what your insurance covers in an accessible and navigable place is uncommon. Policies lack findability, and when they’re found they’re often difficult to understand. Here, the solution is not to deploy a smart technological solution like cloud-based storage of documentation, but to use clear and plain language on policies coupled with visual design which aids understanding. As Lemonade, an insurance start-up specialising in home and contents insurance, outline:

“We’re here to pull back the curtain and explain in plain, transparent language the ins and outs of your standard homeowners insurance policy.”

Having met with clients and discussed this topic with industry peers we believe that the strategic direction insurers should take is a movement from policy and premium centricity to customer experience centricity at the point of purchase, renewal, and claim. Especially, when exploring how they can harness the benefits of emerging technologies. 

Best practice examples of offering a differentiated insurance experience

We worked with Simplyhealth to create a new product underpinned by a system that uses intelligence to understand where an individual has been, where they are now, and what they need to know next. The experience we defined adapts to the individual accordingly – at the level of content, copy, and design. The system facilitates this by seamlessly transitioning between the elements of the user’s journey with the product offering exponential value to aging people and their families when they need it most. 

One of our insurance clients addresses the stress and anxiety motor users experience when having to try and record the details of others involved in an incident. This is achieved by integrating image capture with the application’s claims procedure which automatically populates the form fields with information. By putting the user in control friction is removed from what is a stressful situation meaning claims can be made with ease. 

Another client Petplan, UK’s leading pet insurance provider, invests in creating a relationship with veterinary professionals and extends this to integration with their backend systems. Claims no longer have to be made by customers as data is sent automatically and the exchange is made on behalf of them by the insurer. This provides a moment of magic to pet owners by delivering a frictionless experience which offers a point of differentiation from other providers.

Changing attitudes to ownership and the impact on insurers 

Other industry leaders focus on offering a differentiated service and policy structure in a race against changing attitudes towards ownership becoming the norm. Already, subscription-based policies, which include insurance premiums, are common in the automotive industry. 

Autonomous road-legal vehicles and pooling services won’t exist tomorrow. Although, within a generation car ownership could conceivably become largely redundant. With non-traditional carriers from other industries already looking to diversify their service offering soon insurers may be negotiating premiums with global organisations serving as mass carriers opposed to individual owners.

The insurance industry will soon be faced with the need to innovate and consider their place in the future as a whole. One avenue to explore would be to diversify their offerings to be more encompassing including, travel, car, health and home under one policy. Equally, opposed to offering annual premiums a shift to use based policies could become prevalent particularly in automotive insurance. 

Commercial automotive brands are already starting to explore how to connect the range of products they offer by joining forces with insurance firms to offer subscription-based driving, where the customer has complete control over what they use and ultimately what they pay for.

Summing up

Emerging technologies will have a significant impact on insurance and when coupled with changing consumer attitudes towards ownership, providers need to respond fast to altered consumer expectations. Those who start intelligently applying emerging technology to address customer experience issues will gain the most commercial real estate. As such, insurers should work on forging stronger, more enriched, customer relationships which add long term value to their business.  

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