Executive Q&A with Johanna von Geyr: Personalised Insurance

Johanna von Geyr sheds light on how insurtech startups are reshaping the insurance industry

InsurTech Magazine dives into an enlightening conversation with Johanna von Geyr, co-CEO and founder of Alaika Advisory and member of the OMMAX Advisor and Expert Network, about the revolutionary wave brought by insurtech startups. Johanna explains how these firms have reshaped the insurance landscape with digital platforms and data analytics, setting new standards in customer service and capturing the interest of a tech-savvy generation - and the need for traditional insurers to adapt by offering personalised, omnichannel experiences to stay competitive and appealing to modern consumers.

"The influx of challenger insurtechs has created a seismic shift in the insurance industry," says Johanna von Geyr. "With sleek digital platforms and innovative data analytics, insurtech startups have raised the bar for customer experience, offering seamless interactions and tailored solutions."

Johanna von Geyr also addresses the demographic shift influencing these changes: "These challenger insurance firms have captured the attention (and cash) of the digitally savvy Gen Z demographic, who have grown up online and come to expect effortless digital experiences. To maintain dominance in the market and entice the next generation of policyholders, traditional insurance firms must adapt and create more personalised customer experiences. By embracing omnichannel strategies that seamlessly integrate online, mobile, and offline channels, they can deliver bespoke services that meet the needs of the modern customer," she says.

Q. So what has contributed to raising customer expectations?

"Customer experience is now a booming industry in its own right, as brands across all sectors have recognised the detrimental impact subpar experiences have on their bottom line," she says. A recent study by Vonage showed that 74% of customers will take their business elsewhere if they have a bad customer experience.

"The retail industry has raised the bar on customer service, offering round-the-clock support, lightning-fast delivery and seamless purchasing experiences. This has had a knock-on effect on other industries like insurance, as customers are now accustomed to top-quality personalised experiences, rendering insurance’s traditionally inflexible, standardised processes outdated."

Buying behaviours have also shifted towards service, instead of product-oriented consumption: "In fact, a recent Salesforce survey found that 80% of customers believe that the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services. This is even more important for the insurance industry as policyholders typically have limited interactions with their insurance providers, often only communicating when they are making a claim or enquiring about their policy. This means that one negative experience could leave a sour taste in their mouths, and make them consider moving to a different provider," she says.

To address these changing expectations, a seamless digital customer experience is now a crucial strategy for insurers.

"By upgrading their tech stacks, insurers can create more frequent, automated and seamless interactions across all channels, including online, agency, mobile phone and non-insurance distributors. This not only enables insurers to offer a more customer-centric experience but also ensures services are delivered at the right time and through the most suitable channels, whether through embedded insurance products or initial digital guidance provided by intelligent chatbots."

Q. How can personalised omnichannel interactions enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty in the insurance industry?

"To learn from best-in-class examples, the insurance industry should pay attention to the consumer retail trend of delivering a seamless, transparent, omnichannel customer journey. By seamlessly integrating various communication channels such as online platforms, mobile apps, call centres, and in-person interactions, insurers can provide a cohesive and personalised experience across every touchpoint."

"This approach not only enhances customer satisfaction but also fosters loyalty and retention by offering convenience, accessibility and consistency. Additionally, omnichannel capabilities enable insurers to gather comprehensive data insights, optimise customer engagement, and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

"However, the evolution doesn't end here. The next frontier lies in the adoption of subscription models, a shift that promises increased flexibility, control, and transparency for customers."

Q. How are personalised subscription models transforming the insurance industry, particularly in the mobility sector?

Subscription models are gaining traction across sectors, offering customers a convenient and predictable way to access goods and services. In insurance, this transition opens up new avenues for innovation and customer engagement.

"Instead of traditional policy structures, subscription-based insurance models empower customers to tailor their coverage to match their evolving needs and provide greater value and peace of mind," says Johanna von Geyr.

"This shift is particularly evident in the mobility sector, where insurers are exploring new offerings that are not bound to a specific car model, but for a variety of mobility options. In real terms, this will mean that you are insured regardless of your mode of travel - whether it be your own car, a rental car, a bike or a scooter.

"The integration of digital capabilities, such as IoT-connected devices, will revolutionise the insurance landscape further. By leveraging real-time data insights, insurers can offer pay-as-you-go insurance options that accurately reflect individual risk profiles and driving behaviours. This approach not only enhances pricing accuracy but also promotes safer driving habits, ultimately benefiting both insurers and policyholders alike."

Q. How is generative AI enhancing customer interactions and operational efficiencies in the insurance industry?

Generative AI has the power to transform interactions between insurers and their customers, enhancing efficiency, predictiveness, and customer focus. It brings several advantages to the insurance industry. "For insurers, AI-driven underwriting and risk assessments will enhance productivity and gain valuable insights," enabling better management and understanding of risks. By utilising AI algorithms, insurers can more accurately anticipate customer needs, allowing them to customise their products and services effectively, which leads to improved risk mitigation strategies.

However, the deployment of AI beyond basic operational efficiency remains limited for many insurers. A significant barrier is the recurring issue of AI hallucinations—errors in AI outputs that can be misleading or inappropriate. These errors can severely damage a brand's reputation, as seen when DPD's customer chatbot malfunctioned, issuing inappropriate responses, such as swearing. Such incidents underline the necessity for rigorous human oversight and robust C-Level involvement in AI deployments.

On the customer side, AI is set to play a crucial role in personalising and streamlining the insurance experience. Insurers can use sophisticated AI algorithms to offer personalized insurance recommendations that cater to individual preferences, behaviours, and risk profiles.

"AI-driven automation can streamline claims-processing, reduce paperwork, and cut down turnaround times while enhancing accuracy," significantly improving operational efficiency, says von Geyr. 

"The seamless integration of AI into customer interactions boosts the overall efficiency of insurance operations and significantly enhances the quality of customer service, leading to a more intuitive and customer-centric experience," she continues.

For customers, AI will play a pivotal role in delivering personalised experiences and streamlining various processes. Through sophisticated AI algorithms, insurers can offer personalised insurance recommendations based on individual preferences, behaviours, and risk profiles. Additionally, AI-driven automation can streamline claims-processing, and reduce paperwork and turnaround times while improving accuracy: "The seamless integration of AI into customer interactions not only enhances the efficiency of insurance operations but also elevates the overall quality of customer service, paving the way for a more intuitive and customer-centric insurance experience."


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