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Insurance agencies look to digital to hold on to customers

  • Posted on September 13, 2016

Insurance agencies go digital

The insurance industry is in the middle of a radical operational shift. The traditional agency model of customers working solely and directly with an agent is giving way to a direct-to-consumer digital model that gives customers hands-on ability to make their own choices and purchase decision. That means  insurance agencies should be able to provide a multi-channel experience that allows policyholders the ability and ease of self-service insurance while simultaneously providing the digital tools that allow agents to deliver well-informed and customized recommendations that lead to the type of customer service that digitally-savvy customers have come to expect. Are agencies up for the challenge? They better be.

Digital Solutions Lead to Personalized Customer Service

According to a recent Accenture study, 40% of P&C customers say they are likely to switch providers in the next 12 months and 80% of P&C customers say they would be willing to switch to a provider that offered more personalize service. Digital insurance customers have especially high expectations of their interactions with insurers and agencies. They expect to engage with them in new, innovative ways across multiple channels, as they’ve learned to do when working with more digitally-mature industries, like retail and banking.

To be successful today requires that insurance agencies harness technology to compete smarter, create relevant and compelling products and services and promote customer and employee experiences that will maintain positive relationships, leading to longer term customer loyalty and brand passion.

To appeal to this new breed of digital customer, insurers should lean heavily on digital technologies that provide opportunities for self-service with both mobile devices and the web as well as the ability to engage with customers at multiple touchpoints. Such tools can improve engagements with policyholders and enable more effective, data-driven decision-making on the part of the agency. They allow agents to be in communication with policyholders on any device, at any time and from anywhere. Additionally, by providing customized experiences driven by data, agencies have greater opportunities to understand the needs of their clients and recommend policies that fit best with policyholders – creating an interactive and much more satisfying customer relationship.

Cure For the Common Data Overload

Sourcing, analyzing and refining all that data can seem like a daunting task, especially when it comes to adapting legacy systems to make them work with contemporary digital systems. But incorporating innovative thinking along the lines of Internet of Things and telematics is work that must be done if agencies are going to optimize the information they collect and transform themselves into truly digital organizations that can handle the needs and demands of today’s insurance customers and still remain profitable. A case in point is the work Avanade recently did with Police Mutual using Dynamics CRM to give them a 360-degree, holistic customer view. The investment has resulted in three years of consecutive double-digit growth for Police Mutual fed by increased sales and improved member service, productivity and efficiency, while maintaining more than 99 percent accuracy in member and policy data collection.

It is possible to accommodate self-service, digitally-savvy customers and it is imperative that agencies do so if they want to keep this continually growing segment of the population as part of their customer base. The tools are there. It’s a matter of figuring out and optimizing the best digital path forward.

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