Insurers failing to make use of tech

Digital eye.

New research from Consumer Intelligence and The Digital Insurer suggests that UK insurers are failing to exploit technology to its fullest potential, with their service offering – and customer satisfaction – suffering as a consequence.

The data analysts and industry platform will officially unveil their joint research at TDI’s Global LIVEFEST tomorrow; according to the results, 81 per cent of consumers have said that insurers could make improvements to the way in which they use technology, while 42 per cent bluntly suggested that the insurance industry is old-fashioned and out of date. Answers about buying habits seem to support the idea that technology is the way forward; 82 per cent of respondents said that they preferred to research products like insurance online, while 80 per cent said that they were happy to update their personal details online, and 79 per cent said that in general, technology makes their lives better. Only 23 per cent said that they preferred to make use of call centres or brokers when purchasing insurance.

Interestingly, British customers were significantly less likely to opt for call centres or brokers; 59 per cent of US customers said that they try to avoid online purchasing and research channels.

“We all need insurance, but insurance needs to change – and fast,” said Simon Phipps, Head of Asia and Blockchain at The Digital Insurer. “Our purpose as a business is to help accelerate the digital transformation of insurance. We do this by working with the industry and, sometimes delivering the tough messages that customers want to be heard. We partnered with Consumer Intelligence this year to gain a better understanding of how customers are feeling about their digital experience with insurers compared to other sectors. The UK results should be another wake-up call for UK insurers – change quicker or else.”

Ian Hughes, CEO of Consumer Intelligence, meanwhile, warned that the results show trust in the UK’s insurance industry is ‘at an all-time low’: “UK insurance customers have a cynical view when it comes to the digital experience. Their view is that insurance companies are executing digital not for the benefit of customers, but to increase profit margins. [They] are also clearly unimpressed with the digital offerings of providers, and the message to companies is clear – they need to raise their tech game. In fact, insurers ranked second from the bottom, just ahead of furniture and homeware companies, when ranking the quality of their online and digital services.”

While the insurance industry is certainly taking steps to upgrade its offering and face the digital revolution head on, this research shows that there is clearly a way to go – at the level of customer expectation, as much as anything – and we can only hope that the appropriate lessons are learned.