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Why insurers will be investing in their customers in 2017

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At a time when numerous sectors are realising the benefits of digital transformation, the insurance industry has been found to be unprepared for a digital integration into their traditional business plans. Despite demonstrable evidence which shows the significant impact digital technology has had on the sector’s more forward-thinking companies, many are still being held back by legacy systems. However, insurance companies are catching up; research reveals half of insurance firms will be making investments this year to help address business challenges.

We surveyed 150 IT decision makers across the insurance sector to uncover their priorities for technology investment. The research revealed 45 per cent of insurers plan to invest in technology to improve their customer service, an area which they also highlighted as their main business challenge. In fact, this challenge was even prioritised over meeting regularity requirements (43 per cent) and cutting costs (37 per cent). The results reveal an incredibly forward thinking attitude by insurers and an acknowledgement of the importance of change.

Customer centric

For any customer-facing company, providing a superior experience is pivotal to business profitability and growth. For the insurance industry, which is reliant on its customers, this is especially the case. Yet insurance is renowned for being confusing; consumers and businesses alike are consistently left trying to figure out which policy is right for their own needs. Meanwhile finding the right policy for the best price can be an intimidating and time-consuming process. . It has therefore become essential for the consumer-facing element of an insurance company to be as seamless as possible to truly add the most value to customers when they may be at their most vulnerable due to the time pressure of securing a policy.

Poor user experience is a loss-loss situation for both the insurer and the customer. So just how are businesses going to implement technology to improve customer experience? Although it may not always seem it, customers can be quite easy to figure out; in the majority of cases their priority is a personalised experience where they are acknowledged and respected. With that in mind, below are some of the key areas which insurers should be considering as they look to make investments during 2017 to improve customer service:

  • Big data analytics - Insurers can collect data from telematics and analyse it to decipher trends in what consumers are doing and what they want to do. Analytics is therefore a key tool for insurers; it allows them to delve deep into the minds of customers and create a truly customised experience.
  • Omnichannel - If businesses haven’t invested in the omnichannel already, it should be a priority in the coming year. This approach allows a company to provide consistent communication to the customer across multiple platforms and add value to their experience. Ultimately, customers are provided with flexibility and an overall seamless experience through a channel of their own choosing.
  • On demand - Consumers are used to having anything at the click of a button, any place any time. Insurers are already beginning to improve the instantaneous user experience, for example by implementing messaging services on websites/apps. By offering instant custom assistance from the outset, customers will be far more likely to find the experience straightforward and stick around till the end of the purchase.

The line between good and poor user experience is very fine, yet it has the ability to destroy a well-earned reputation in seconds. It is also a line that is prone to move due to the changing needs and demands of customers.

The key challenge for businesses today is ensuring the experience they offer meets with the ever-growing expectations of today’s tech-savvy consumers. Embracing the capabilities of digital technology has therefore never been more important for the insurance sector, and those who do so are the ones which will thrive in 2017.

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