P&C firms must simplify their customers’ user experience and reduce overall customer touch points, panellists at Reuters’ Future of Insurance Conference in Toronto shared.
Inefficient processes can have customers bouncing from one app to another, significantly slowing down their insurance shopping experience and burning your P&C insurance business along the way. Whether customers use a desktop or mobile phone to shop for insurance, all of them share the desire for an easy and painless process.
“As a customer, if I’m weaving through [applications] — [For example, if] I start on mobile, and then I get an SMS, and then I’m directed to a website — I get very frustrated with friction,” said Lisa Wardlaw, president and founder of 360 Digital Immersion. “It needs to be independent. I’ll call it bifurcated.”
Data privacy is critical for P&C businesses, and that means no data ‘sharing’ between platforms. And so, customer response fields may prompt consumers to answer the same question fields twice before being allowed to move onto the next step.
“As a customer, I know that you know [my] data, but I jumped over to a different platform, and now it’s not necessarily pulling that in or making that repeatable,” said Wardlaw. “There are these starts and stops to the journey.”
Additionally, if clients shop around for insurance, they might be submitting the same information multiple times for each company.
One solution is to allow clients to receive a copy of the information they’ve already submitted, said Bonnie Kluthe, head of business development at First Acre Insurance, a managing general agency specializing in farm insurance.
“We’ve tried to really simplify ease of doing business,” said Kluthe. “Anything they put into our platform, they can download.”
That allows customers to see which fields they’ve already answered, and potentially use those answers for other quotes.
Kluthe said her company also removed redundant questions, only focusing on those they underwrite. This reduces time clients spend on their quote submission.
Insurance providers can also expedite the buying process by making it clear to clients which risks they’re willing to underwrite before the clients make their submissions and wait weeks for a quote.
“We get a lot of complaints about, ‘It takes me three weeks to get a declination. It takes me four weeks to get a quote. [And] ‘The quote was high, I don’t know what to do with it,’” Kluthe said. “We put all the underwriting rules in so [they’ll] know in the first four screens [if] it’s accepted or declined. They don’t have to wait three weeks for a declination from companies. They know right away if we can write it and they can move on.”
Streamlining the buying process can mean the difference between retaining a customer long-term or losing them before you bind.
“We cater to small business owners and they are so busy running their business. Insurance should not be one more load that you have to bear,” said Pankaj Dhote, director of product at Zensurance. “If we cater to customers [in a] timely [manner], if we make it simple enough for them, we have a higher chance of them renewing after the first year.”
At times, reducing customer friction comes down to whether you’re underwriting in-house or externally.
“We work with external carriers and also in-house,” said Dhote. “The number of touch points for renewing a customer is around 12 to 14 with an external carrier, and a lot of manual touch points. If it’s internal, it’s maximum five touch points and they’re all human touch points.
“We make sure we call them. We say, ‘Thank you for the business.’ But they don’t need to do anything. All they have to say is ‘I want to renew.’”
Feature image by iStock.com/Ralf Hahn