As natural disasters and emerging risks such as Covid-19 become more severe, and lockdowns and social distancing spur the adoption of digital channels, the world is more insurance conscious. Therefore, insurers need to empower their distribution network with emerging technologies, including augmented and virtual reality and AI, and embed insurance in customers’ daily lives by embracing open insurance, the report found.
According to the report, more than 60 per cent of insurance executives surveyed said Covid-19 affected their firm’s customer acquisition efforts, and about 40 per cent cited an impact on customer retention. To regain lost ground, insurers should consider the ‘CARE’ approach , where Convenience, Advice and REach are at the heart of designing and evaluating the effectiveness of their channels. While 87 per cent of insurers say they will invest in digital enhancements, only 32 per cent say digital channels are effective in sales because they lack personalized advice capabilities. Digital channels earned high marks for 24/7 availability, ease of updating information for insurers, and search capabilities. Yet, their inability to provide in-depth, personalized advice to customers seeking complex products such as retirement plans and annuities made it clear that agents and brokers are still essential for purchasing these types of insurance.
Convenience is an insurer’s competitive edge
Insurance customers surveyed said the ease and speed of access to information affect the convenience of their experience. Seventy-seven per cent of insurance executives say that agents and brokers are their most prominent distribution channel. However, more than 40 per cent of personal line customers said it was challenging to contact agents and brokers outside typical office hours − and lockdowns and social distancing make the situation more complicated.
Technology can supercharge channel effectiveness
Agents and brokers want to ramp up their digital engagement capabilities, and about 44 per cent said they need support from their insurers. More than half of the agents and brokers surveyed said that to assist customers effectively, they need digital collaboration and engagement tools such as screen-sharing platforms and digital document-signing tools. They also said customer convenience improves when digital illustrations and single-screen product comparison tools are offered. However, less than two-thirds of insurers said they provide agents and brokers with these sought-after digital tools to enhance customer experience. In the future, ‘Digi-intermediation’ – a process in which agents are digitally empowered, and virtual channels are humanised – will eliminate distribution gaps, enhance CX, and optimize delivered value.
More comprehensive customer knowledge enables personalized advice
Agents and brokers said they need to know more about policyholders and potential customers to convert leads into sales more effectively. APIs and AI-based analytics can help agents and brokers understand customer preferences, answer questions, and offer appropriate products around policyholders’ special life events. AI-based analytical tools and a 360-degree view of customers is essential for a customized customer experience. The most successful insurers will win and retain customers by reinventing their operating ecosystem to support a ‘phygital’ model based on a mix of physical presence and digital engagement.
“Insurers have an opportunity to convert digital traffic to sales by focusing on a hyper-personalized virtual experience,” said Anirban Bose, CEO of Capgemini’s Financial Services and Group Executive Board Member. “Today’s customers expect interacting with their insurers to be easy, and providers need to ensure their channels enable a convenient and seamless customer experience. By investing in the right technologies, insurers can win and retain customers while empowering their agents and brokers to deepen relationships.”
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