What does an ordinary working day look like for you? Are you in the office, WFH, or hybrid working?
We’re taking a hybrid approach currently at Arch. Most days, I work from my home office, however, I do go to our downtown Omaha office on occasion. I find myself working more hours from home because there is only a 10-second commute up the stairs at my home office vs a 30-minute drive. We see the value of getting into the office for face-to-face meetings and collaboration. However, technology has always been a key part of our strategy, and the systems we have in place make it easy to support both our internal business needs and customer needs from remote locations. Our technology gives us visibility from sales to service to claims from remote locations. It’s a very efficient approach that goes all the way through to the customer experience. Having said that, we have been attending some in-person tradeshows and client visits and prefer that format, when possible.
How have your previous roles in the travel insurance sector prepared you for your current responsibilities at Arch RoamRight?
Travel insurance is a complex business with many moving parts. I had the good fortune of growing up in the business since my college years, with previous roles in customer service, account management, territory sales and elsewhere. This allowed me to truly understand the experience from the customers’ and providers’ viewpoints. You must have a very good understanding of the business to articulate client needs back into the organisation. We are fortunate to have very responsive teams in claims, marketing, customer service, and software development who take the voice of the customer very seriously. If I come in with a good idea to improve the customer experience, chances are it will get implemented!
How does the Arch RoamRight B2B2C platform work exactly?
Our products and services are mainly offered through travel providers that endorse our insurance plans to their travellers. We achieve this through a portal-based approach that gives our providers and insureds the ability to rapidly manage customer needs and expectations. From sales, to training, claims management and everything in between, our providers can quickly support their travellers’ needs no matter where they are in the customer journey.
Money.com recognised Arch RoamRight as the ‘Best Customer Service and Support’ in the travel insurance industry for 2020; what does the company do differently to support its customers?
We’re very proud that such a great brand recognised us. To us, it’s simple, we listen to our customers. Voice of the customer is a company-wide initiative at Arch that trickles down from our top executives to our interns. In the insurance industry, a key competitive differentiator will always be service, and we work relentlessly to make sure that our ability to meet customer and partner expectations is as strong as it can be. Our vertically integrated approach, in which we own all facets of the customer experience, allows us to develop holistic solutions to complex challenges.
How did the company deal with Covid in terms of volume of claims and cancellations?
We typically don’t share specific figures as they are considered proprietary. However, what I can say is that Covid was, for better or worse, an unprecedented stress test of the people, processes and platforms in which we’ve invested. We began seeing a noticeable uptick in call volume starting in the last week of February 2020, and this continued to spike significantly each week in March. Volume in March was up 115 per cent over February 2020, and up 219 per cent over March 2019. Hold times, though, only increased by two minutes compared to March 2019, which, based on what we’ve heard, was astounding performance.
Fortunately for us, our customer service and claims teams had been prepared for catastrophic events like hurricanes and wildfires, and we were able to use the lessons we learned from each of those to help manage through the pandemic. As I said before, some providers fared better than others during the pandemic, and feedback from our partners is that we performed very well. In a survey of our providers in March 2021, 85 per cent of respondents said we did better than our competitors in taking care of our relationships with them. The vast majority also said we did well with customer service, response times, and communications.
What role do travel advisors play in the distribution of travel insurance and in educating customers about their policy coverage?
Travel advisors are an instrumental component of the process. Everyone likes to plan a vacation when it comes to destinations, attractions and accommodations. But travellers who work with a travel advisor are fortunate to have someone who can help recognise the value of travel insurance, understand the coverages and navigate the complexities of choosing the right insurance. Advisors are trusted by their travellers to vet and recommend products that meet their specific requirements.
How does the lack of cohesive regulation across state borders for the sale of travel insurance policies affect the company, do you wish it could be standardised?
It does make things more complicated from filing and training standpoints, but we make sure our team members are trained and our technology platforms are designed to allow for efficient navigation of our marketplace.
Do you think the travel insurance sector has done well dealing with the fallout from Covid in terms of customer service and policy updates to match customer expectations? Is there more the industry could still do?
It’s a mixed bag. Some companies did better than others. When we branded Arch RoamRight, technology was a key component of our business plan – it was known that robust and reliable customer facing and back office systems would provide an advantage. So that has been a big part of our value proposition from day one.
From a policy perspective, it’s something we thought about quite a bit. We announced a Covid response strategy that included some policy changes and access to rapidly changing travel regulations and guidelines. For example, pre-Covid, a traveller may have only experienced a travel delay that last for one or two days. Nowadays, if a traveller tests positive for Covid, they may be forced to quarantine and delay their return flight for upwards of 10 days or more. We quickly made policy adjustments available to meet this new potential need for our customers. Our goal has been to keep advisors and travellers as informed as possible during a time where information and expectations are rapidly changing.
What’s the next step for the travel insurance sector in terms of how it might be able to utilise technology to improve purchase rates, or customer retention?
Arch RoamRight utilises business intelligence data analytics to discover potential trends or shortcomings before they become magnified. Advancing these analytical tools will help shape the travel insurance sector into the future on many levels through more dynamic pricing, tracking of conversion rates and targeted marketing efforts.
Technology enhancements are also determined by consumer behavior. We want to meet the customer where they are at. For example, from a marketing perspective, we use our data to understand purchase habits and customer trends. And from a technology perspective, the easier we make it on the customer or partner experience, the better. We use an omnichannel communications system to allow customers and providers to contact us in a variety of ways. Additionally, we keep customers aware of time-sensitive information like claims status through a variety of marketing automation tools.
Have you been able to travel internationally yet? Where are you most looking forward to travelling to when the world properly opens up again?
I love to travel, and I have had the good fortune to take a few trips in recent months. Most recently, I attended an event in Washington DC with our friends at USTOA. However, I’ve yet to travel internationally since the pandemic started. I now have three little boys of my own and I can’t wait for my wife and I to show them the world to provide them with memorable experiences that will help shape their perspectives.