Rethinking a Digital Approach to Insurance

July 31, 2017

Claims Magazine cover image-1.pngIt’s no secret that property and casualty insurance carriers are facing new horizons as customers influenced by the digital offerings from multiple industries — come to expect the same ease of interaction and purchasing from their insurer. Whether you’re talking about young digital natives, Generation Xers or baby boomers, JD Power (2016) found that nearly 75% of shoppers obtain quotes and research insurance online.

Can insurers give customers what they want?

Becoming a digital leader requires a holistic approach. It’s not enough to simply implement an online portal or add social media marketing into the mix. Insurers must incorporate digital shopping and buying channels into a transformative, customer-centered effort or risk losing market share. In a recent PwC survey (2016), 83% of insurance CEOs cited the rapid evolution of technology as a major concern to their prospects for growth, as legacy technology prevents many insurers from achieving their digital distribution vision.

Redefining the insurance customer experience

Customer service-driven enterprises meet customer expectations on many levels. For insurers, that means offering engagement options that allow them to research, quote and purchase coverage through the channel of their choice. Legacy systems make offering this kind of customer environment difficult, but not impossible. Digital strategies overcome legacy challenges by unifying data from disparate core systems behind a central console. Centralizing data enables auto-quoting and underwriting, but also supports cross-channel engagement, giving customers the ability to start an interaction in one channel and finish it in another – without losing their place or starting over.

Personalizing the insurance experience

Customers want insurers to know who they are and provide what they need. Analytics inherent to leading-edge digital capabilities use information gathered in customer interactions to identify coverage gaps and offer realtime product recommendations that will better mitigate risk and protect assets. Analytics allow insurers to customize offerings in a similar way, tapping into information stored in the customer’s data to recommend products that could better serve their lifestyle. For instance, a customer who drives a limited number of miles a year might benefit from a pay-per-mile policy. Through digital distribution, insurers can analyze customer data, make recommendations and even quote, bind and issue the product via their channel of choice.

The product conundrum

As multi-generational consumer lifestyles change, so do their insurance needs, resulting in an ever-widening array of product requirements. Pay-as-you- go and flexible term policies are becoming more common-place and coverage for everything from relationships to drones is emerging. If digital distribution is to be successful in positioning insurers as customer-centric institutions, it must provide access to a broad array of products, allowing carriers to deliver complete coverage to their customers, including products they don’t carry, without taking on unnecessary risk. In this way, customers receive the personalized service they are seeking, and insurers improve acquisition and retention rates by allowing customers to consolidate their coverage with a single carrier at a price they can afford.

As technology expands to make lives easier, customers will expect greater convenience and more personalized services. Improved access to quoting and purchasing across a variety of channels is part of the equation, but the ability to deliver all of the products a customer needs to protect assets and mitigate risk will determine the winners in the digital transformation underway. Insurers with access to the product choices necessary to meet customers’ requirements will find greater market share, heightened customer loyalty, and improved revenues.

Kathleen Garlasco (
SVP of enterprise marketing for BOLT Solutions, Inc.

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