Opinion By, Kevin Crawford, Global Head of Insurance Delivery at Endava
When COVID19 struck, the digital economy was accelerated at a pace that would put even a cheetah to shame. And as we emerge from the shockwaves to return to some semblance of ‘normal’, people’s preference for “digital-first” shows no signs of slowing.
The ease and accessibility afforded by logging onto one’s bank, car app, healthcare provider website, or favourite retailer has stuck with us, and insurance companies have taken note. Previously thought to be a ‘grudge’ purchase, meaning something consumers had to buy but wouldn’t actively seek out, insurers are now looking to reposition themselves as value-add businesses across key industries.
They’re doing this by leveraging the digital economy in a number of ways, but there are three key trends to watch out for in the future:
1 – Going beyond customer experience
By far, customer experience is the primary driver which impacts all other trends and guides how insurance companies develop products and services. Whether the focus is on retaining existing policyholders or attracting new customers, CX is a critical component. But while many companies are using ‘digital transformation’ to address CX, this tends to only target front end, user-facing systems, leaving the back-end systems to be dealt with as an afterthought.
Customer experience isn’t just about UX, but rather must also address critical back-end components like faster throughput, less repetition, or fewer processing errors, all of which ladder up to what an end-user sees and which is indispensable for meeting customer needs.
We must go further than the front-end to overhaul systems and support a true end-to-end customer journey. Systems built with the customer in mind are designed to be more adaptable rather than static, flexible rather than rigid, and built on a process of digital acceleration which can ebb and flow with changing needs, unlike transformation, which is often a ‘one and done’ project.
2 – Personalising through data
In order to provide best in class customer experience, insurance companies should also properly understand and leverage data to fit customer needs; personalisation is set to differentiate those providers that do so in months and years to come.
The implementation of such tools as personalisation engines or predictive analytics will enable companies to better use customer data to provide an improved, bespoke and more relevant experience. Further, the use of telematics and sensor technology, enriched by internal or external datasets will further enhance the ability of insurers to personalise the customer experience.
All these elements add up to one thing: trust. By providing relevant, transparent options to customers at the point of need, rather than out of context, insurers will be more likely to build credibility and rapport with prospective buyers who are genuinely in the market for their products and services.
3 – Creating an ecosystem
To create a more streamlined approach for insurers and consumers will require a review of existing systems and the smooth integration across verticals, businesses, and networks.
In some areas it’s likely that insurers will seek to take ownership of the wider ecosystem. For example, in automotive, the ecosystems already exist – fuel, breakdown, service, warranties, repairs – all of which provide the opportunity for insurers to monitor and use data across these touchpoints to embed both insurance and other services as appropriate.
Conversely, while some insurers will seek to own more of the ecosystem, others will seek partnerships to ensure that they are able to integrate seamlessly and operate credibly across industries. At the end of the day, integrating into wider ecosystems will do wonders for taking insurance from a ‘grudge’ purchase to something that gives genuine peace of mind when people need it most.
With this shifting focus on value instead of price, insurance companies will try to reposition themselves as something more than just insurance providers. Instead, as they move into focusing on UX, personalisation and ecosystem integration, they’re identifying themselves as something that benefits customers and wider society.
We’re already seeing companies market themselves as a ‘force for good’ and ‘a power that protects you’; as the digital economy continues to integrate, this will only intensify to empower consumers to buy what they need, easily, when they need it most, and giving insurance providers new points of entry to consumer lives through routes and tools not previously used.