Customer experience and digital insurance under COVID-19
The digitisation of the insurance industry is accelerating more rapidly than, perhaps, any other sector.
This trend, according to a recent article by KPMG, could be further heightened by insurers’ response to the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether at a time of crisis, or relative stability, insurance is fundamentally about protection.
With that in mind, it should come as little surprise that insurance companies have seen an enormous increase in customer contact as a result of the impacts of coronavirus.
Insurance can, for example, protect against many of the worst financial outcomes of the pandemic in the form of travel, health, life or hospital indemnity insurance, or by offering business interruption or worker compensation policies.
According to KPMG, insurers have already had to adapt to the conditions created by coronavirus.
For example, it explains, terms have had to be revised around the use of personal residences for working from home, or using commercial vehicles for work purposes.
It adds that “given the overall impacts to the economy, many carriers have also adjusted the payment terms around timing of payment, late fees and cancellation for non-payment or even partial return of premium for reduced use.”
In addition, insurance under COVID-19 has seen a sharp rise in the digitisation of the customer experience.
The in-person channel has been removed, says KPMG. As a result, finds that while insurers have focused heavily on customer experience, there are several best practice principles that bring successful customer relationships:
- Integrity: being seen do the right thing and acting in the best interests of the customers
- Resolution: finding solutions and responding to needs in a timely manner
- Expectations: setting, managing and meeting expectations
- Time and effort: make the customer experience as simple as possible
- Personalisation: avoid a one-size-fits-all approach and, instead, focus on the customer’s specific circumstances
- Empathy: act like, and show, that you care.
Innovation and personalisation
Customer interaction has increased and improved under COVID-19, says KPMG.
However, it adds that “some insurance products have begun to feel out of step with the reality confronting customers, and thus with their needs”.
As a result of this, insurers should look to rethink and innovate as they adjust and respond to the ‘new normal’ that will exist post-COVID-19.
This could include new products that are specifically payable in the case of pandemics or epidemics, or an increase in the appetite for usage based insurance (UBI) models.
The most significant change, KPMG notes, is in the increasing volumes and use of customer data.
This, more so than any other aspect, will lead to a far greater focus on customer experience and greater personalization of the insurance proposition.
As an example of how this translates into products or technology, KPMG points to insurance products being sold through a digital first advice approach.
Here, customers engage with an advisor via a video call in the first instance to define the parameters of their policy before moving to other channels.
This, it explains, can create greater efficiency, better value for money and reduced distribution costs for the insurer.
Insurers could also look to digital products to streamline their value proposition and improve their claims function, for example.
Startup spotlight: SIMON adds Nationwide to its platform
Headquartered in New York, SIMON has a singular goal: transforming the digital experience for financial advisors and unlocking greater levels of service for their clients. It achieves this through:
- A comprehensive platform featuring a full suite of digital tools
- On-demand education
- An “intuitive” marketplace
- Real-time analytics
- Lifecycle management
The company’s fusion of cutting-edge tech with leading expertise is resulting in a new industry standard, one that is simplified, codified, and consolidated within a single ecosystem.
Creating value for financial advisors
At the time of writing, SIMON works with over 85,000 finance professionals who collectively manage more than US$3tn in assets.
The startup’s solutions include:
- Spectrum: A multi-dimensional framework that quantifies the risk profile of investments using five metrics - protection, upside, liquidity, simplicity, and history
- An investment platform: Featuring risk management tools, over 90 educational videos, inclusive product training, a compliance tracker, and more.
- Analysis tools
Furthermore, SIMON’s quality as an organisation is attested by both its awards (such as being listed among the NYC Annual Awards’ ‘Best Places to Work’ category) and the status of its investors. So far, these include Barclays, JPMorgan, Prudential, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, and others.
Another high-profile name has now been added to SIMON’s list of associations: Nationwide. The Fortune 100 US insurance firm has been added as a carrier to SIMON’s marketplace. Nationwide, which is almost a century old, is an ideal fit for an insurtech focused on delivering broad solutions and expertise in a rapidly evolving sector.
Protecting peoples’ financial futures
Regarding this latest partnership, Scott Beshany, Chief Distribution Officer at SIMON, said, “Nationwide has an incredible history of innovation and advocacy and we couldn’t be more thrilled to collaborate with their team and make their products available in our Marketplace.
“Both firms are strongly aligned in the value we seek to create for financial professionals. SIMON’s dedication to delivering intuitive technology that builds simplicity and transparency around annuity offerings supports Nationwide in its mission of helping people prepare for and protect their financial future.”
Craig Hawley, Head of Annuity Distribution at Nationwide, expressed similarly positive sentiments about the collaboration:
“Nationwide has a decades-long track record of incorporating smart technology into the financial professional’s day-to-day workflow. This is another big step forward in that effort, with a proven, innovative partner at our side.
“With SIMON’s platform, financial professionals can seamlessly integrate a range of annuities into their holistic planning process, creating greater efficiencies for their practice and a more comprehensive wealth management experience for their clients.”
Images sourced from respective companies