New technologies are offering insurance companies a great opportunity to drive new revenue streams and at the same time, reduce operating costs of the organization.
And even though many of them are already launching concrete projects to adapt their business to the digital age, very few are undertaking a global digital strategy, which should involve all business areas, lead to a mentality change and involve the development of new skills by all employees, including management positions.
Overcoming this challenge is vital, but only the insurers that have successfully done this can take their survival for granted. These companies will see an increased customer base, their relationship with them will be further strengthened and their brand image will improve. All of this will grow insurers' profitability and will reduce their costs.
In this post we would like to explain how the process of purchasing an insurance policy online should be - a health, home, or car insurance policy - including the tools needed at each step:
This post is also available in Spanish.
The process of buying any insurance policy generally consists of 5 steps:
We discuss each step below:
When any digital natives, or anyone very accustomed to using new technologies, thinks of buying an insurance policy, the first thing he/she will do is to investigate what the options are:
- He/she will consult the information that insurers have on their websites, and will visit pages comparing the different policies and prices of insurance companies. This search will happen from any device: computer, tablet or smartphone.
- He/she will review the social networks and other platforms to check user opinions of insurance policies . Besides, he/she will also ask friends and family for advice on which insurance to buy.
- He/she may also register on any insurers' website to receive by email a proposal. Although many prefer a generic proposal to be displayed directly from the company's website, just by entering basic data like age, gender and type of policy desired.
At this time, those insurance companies with a strong online presence - updated and intuitive website, active presence in social networks, updated blog with interesting topics to their policyholders, etc. - will attract the most attention of potential customers.
If the potential customer needs more personalized advice, he/she will contact the insurer. Although more and more people, especially Gen Y or Millennials prefer to seek advice directly from the web or the smartphone, there are still people who prefer to visit the insurer's offices, because it provides them with greater confidence.
In this case, it is important that sales people working in office have all the resources they need to serve prospects as they expect:
- Sales people must be able to consult all the information the prospect provided on the web when making the first visit, and know without asking if he/she is a former customer or not.
- For any specific inquiries, sales people should be able to obtain all the necessary information on the spot and at the right time.
- Using tablets, sales people should be able to show prospects all possible options, comparing services and prices of each policy.
When the prospect has already been informed and advised, he/she will know which insurance policy to purchase. The proposal customization and customer service the prospect received in the previous two phases is crucial, because ultimately all policies are very similar and easy to copy, but the buying experience is not. What makes the difference is a buying experience that is friendly, practical and uncomplicated. Finally the crucial moment comes: the formalization of the policy contract and the policy payment.
If an insurance company is digitized, it should be possible to perform this step online, whether the potential customer decides to buy the policy through the company's website, from the mobile app or directly at the insurer's offices, through the company's tablet.
For this, besides being able to pay online, it is essential to have a legal and secure electronic signature solution integrated within the insurer's platform, enabling the customer to sign the policy without changing the application or device. Only in this way is it possible to achieve a fully digital and seamless customer experience. The customer will be delighted for having been able to sign the policy quickly and easily, without having to print it, sign it, scan it and send it back to the company by email or, much worse, by regular post mail. This same process is equally effective if the signature is made from a tablet, directly at the insurer's commercial office.
Once completed, the company already has all the client's documentation online and in digital format, with all the legal guarantees. Similarly, the client must be able to access it and view all his/her data held by the company, the insurance information, the signed policy and review his/her bills anytime and through any device.
4. Customer Service 24/7
Once you sign a new customer, you need to offer excellent customer service. What digital customers expect from their insurer is to be able to communicate with them at any time, regardless of whether it's Wednesday at midnight or Sunday afternoon. The company´s availability to answer any questions or solve any doubts should be 24/7 via phone, chat, email or social media.
This absolute availability and immediate responses that new technologies have brought us, make it imperative that insurers also have mobile apps. In addition to contacting the company through the app, it should also allow policyholders to query their data from their smartphone when needed.
Given that nowadays, insurance companies have plenty of customer data, policyholders also expect special and personalized care. For example, receiving alerts of pending medical examinations or suggestions for a healthy diet, receiving information for home maintenance, on parking garages based on their location or allow them to keep track of their car inspection records through their app, etc.
5. Claims management
To manage any claims, customers must also be able to do it from the place where it happens and directly from their smartphone, by using the app or by calling the insurance company. For the digital experience to be complete, it must be possible to fulfill and submit all the information regarding a car accident or a home incident directly from the mobile phone, also allowing the policyholder to attach pictures of what happened.
Transforming the old insurance sales process into a digital experience, at the pace that the client decides, in a non-intrusive (no more cold calling!) and seamless way through different platforms and devices is not easy. Insurers who want to carry it out successfully should rethink the whole process, being very aware of the tools most used by clients (smartphones and social networks) and reviewing all touch points, online and offline, they have with the company.
If you have not yet integrated the electronic signature in your insurance sales process, we invite you to try Signaturit for free. Our solution is easy to deploy and use, it is safe and complies with all the European legislation on data protection. Click here.
This post is also available in Spanish.