How do you currently deal with customers and prospects? Do you have a call center? An online website? Are numerous brokers selling your services? Capgemini recently carried out a survey to better understand trends in the evolving distribution of life insurance policies globally.
Looking into the future, integrating software platforms and offering multi-distribution options is a key concern for insurers to increase customer retention and acquisition. This strategy may improve customer experience, operational performance, and hence increase profits.
To provide a fully multi-distributional approach, there are three elements to be considered:
- Face to face interactions
- Call centers
- Online interactions – both mobile and browser-enabled
Both phone and face-to-face interactions are the more traditional approaches that insurance providers and brokers use for making claims, inquiries and policy purchases. According to the results of the survey, 68% of life insurance business currently comes through bancassurance and agents combined. It is expected that face-to-face interactions will remain high for life and pension products as they are complex and require multiple interactions.
Consumers commonly use online websites for research purposes, but there is an increasing trend of consumers being able to purchase policies online, and to submit queries through email and chat windows. This method of direct selling decreases cost, allowing insurers to offer reduced rates to consumers.
Research over the last year or two has shown that insurers are focusing on providing mobile capabilities. The use of mobile devices gives consumers access to online portals where they can purchase policies, research products, access their policy information, and easily submit claims for processing. It is estimated that mobile will become a channel in its own right over the next 5 years, accounting for 4% of all distribution.
Different segments of the market use different channels depending on personal preference, so depending on the demographics of each of your target markets, they may actually interact with you in different ways:
- An older generation may go through a broker to find the policy that is right for them.
- Generation X may research policies online and then call a broker or insurer to confirm the details of a specific policy. They may purchase the policy on the phone at the time, or purchase online at a later date.
- Internet savvy consumers may research and purchase policies online, with little or no direct interaction with a broker or insurer.
The most important element of using these various channels is to ensure they are fully integrated and processed centrally. Data duplication should no longer be an issue, as each platform should show the same information. When a consumer calls, administrators have access to their policy information, but if they log in to an online portal, they should be seeing the same information. If there is varying information on various channels, there will be a decrease in brand trust. Integrating all of this information also provides the insurer with a 360-degree view of all customers.
The variety of channels available to customers increases their satisfaction and allows them access to information at a time and through a channel that best suits them. As well as maintaining competitive advantage, life insurers benefit by increasing customer acquisition and retention rates, increase cross selling and up-selling opportunities, improve the productivity of networks, optimize IT infrastructure and improve time to market.