The UK insurance market is changing. I stumbled across a piece by Cap Gemini on the trends for the sector in 2017. This piece led me to start thinking about the value tech can provide to the insurance sector.
The pace which insurance brands embrace the technological opportunities are completely polarising. Having worked and spoken to numerous large insurance brands, I’ve seen that some are quick adopters – and some are a lot slower on the uptake. This is because the speed and variety of tech being rolled out and available is overwhelming.
On the surface it is also hard to see where true business benefit is being achieved against the cost to implement it – not to mention the cost to manage it vs the real benefit to the customer. The reality is that tech has probably been implemented to achieve a business benefit, with less thought on the customer.
Customer relationships with insurers
I feel that this might be due to the relationship customers have with insurers. Half the time, customers talk to you because the requirement to have insurance is based on a legal obligation. The rest of the time, the fear of not having insurance is what motivates the purchase.
The purchase of a specific type of insurance happens only once per year and the real hope is that you never have to hear or have to engage with the provider again. If you have to, it means that something not very pleasant has likely happened… and we don’t like those conversations at all.
Then, you have the claims process itself, which can become a nightmare. Suddenly, before you know it, it’s time to renew your policy again! This process is then multiplied across the various insurance policies you have. It’s official: trying to develop any relationship on this basis would be difficult for any brand.
Insurance tech can improve customer experience
I do also see that tech is allowing some brands to achieve competitive advantages by implementing tech which improve the experience for the customer. Can tech really provide value in this type of scenario?
I say yes, but the right foundation needs to be laid to ensure that the right tech in the right situation is implemented.
What is a solid foundation for implementing tech?
I would say a clear business vision and direction (short and long term goals) which is then backed up with specific values. After this, a brand needs to ensure that the customer journey is developed to provide a consistency that embraces the set vision, direction and values. From here systems, processes can be evaluated and implemented.
“But tech is moving too fast!”
Having spent over half of my 20+ years in digital within the insurance sector, I’ve not seen enough dots being connected to ensure true value can be achieved via tech. The biggest challenge – and one that I know is shared across many sectors – is the lack of understanding of digital and the true value it can provide.
This isn’t a surprise given all the noise out there on all this new tech. No wonder CEO heads are constantly spinning as they have had to embrace tech like no previous generations of CEOs have ever had to.
Who manages the tech?
CEOs are reliant on Heads of Marketing, IT, E-Commerce and Chief Technology Officers (CTO) to guide them, but these individuals themselves are having to learn on the job at an alarming rate. They all carry the fear and understanding that by the time they have implemented a new piece of tech, it could be outdated and not relevant.
As with tech, each of these individuals is seeking to provide ‘value’ to the business. ‘Value’ though is defined as a different thing to each business & therefore without knowing a brands, vision, direction or values – how ‘value’ can be achieved will not have a clear definition.
Once vision, direction and values are defined, CTOs can go and evaluate the tech that will provide real value.
Here are a few examples on how the use of specific tech can add value within the insurance sector:
Top tech for the insurance sector:
What: Chat bots are a computer programmes designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.
Why: Effective at striking up a conversation with a user in a more natural less formal manner. This can help to educate the prospect, whilst qualifying them as the desired target audience. This process provides a new channel to engage with prospects and reduces the human time spent initially with the prospect.
Automation (website, apps, claims processing, payment processing)
What: Automation can be defined as when a process is handled/ managed via tech/ system/ platform that otherwise would have required a human. Examples are: being able to get a quote and buy online, the processing of documentation, claims management and payment management.
Why: Core benefit is to the business through reduced staff costs. When implemented correctly, it’s a better consistency of service provided to customers. The process can also be quicker and smoother for customers if the instructions are explained in an effective manner.
Live Chat & Screen Sharing
What: Live Chat is a Web service that allows businesses to communicate, or chat, in real time with visitors to their Web site.
Why: Not all prospects/ customers will be able to figure out how to undertake automation processes. Live chat and screen sharing helps insurers to help prospects and customers – ensuring that conversion and service levels are kept high.
Need a hand?
If you’re not sure where to begin with any of this tech, why not get in touch with us? It would be great to hear your vision and what we can do to help.