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AM BEST'S MONTHLY INSURANCE MAGAZINE


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At Large
Power to the People

Customer experience will continue to rule in 2020.
  • Tony Kuczinski
  • March 2020
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As we begin a new decade, one trend that will continue to evolve and have an impact on the (re)insurance industry is the focus on customer experience. Customers increasingly expect the standards from us that they see in other industries: fast, simple and convenient. These priorities will take on even greater significance as (re)insurance companies look for ways to further distinguish themselves with customers who seemingly want it all.

To successfully compete in the new decade, insurance companies, for example, will need to provide customers with more than an insurance policy and the promise of a check if a loss occurs. The ability to provide a personalized and relevant customer experience has become a key differentiator between brands, including in the insurance space.

Eighty-seven percent of customers say that their claims experience influences how likely they are to stay with a carrier, according to EY's 2017 report, Claims in a Digital Era. Claims is a critical aspect of customer experience in our industry, and the ability to quickly and empathetically deliver on our promise to pay covered claims can be a tremendous differentiator.

Disasters are moments of truth in our business. In the aftermath of major natural catastrophes, people experience first-hand what it means to be insured, and rapid assistance from an insurer becomes invaluable. The use of new technologies can become a brand differentiator. For example, some insurance companies have integrated digital technology into the claims process to help customers, in many cases, resolve their claim in a week or less. The technology allows personal and commercial lines customers to use a mobile device to virtually connect with their claims adjuster to eliminate the need for a traditional onsite inspection or supplement an onsite inspection.

The live collaboration component of this technology also helps put the adjuster by the customer's side to foster a more personal connection during such an experience. Taking into account the emotional needs of its customers during what could be one of the most traumatic experiences of their lives, the video claims solution can be optional, and customers who do not have a mobile device or choose not to use the technology can receive a traditional onsite inspection by a claims adjuster.

(Re)insurance providers will need to continue to innovate in this key area but also further enhance and broaden the scope of new products, services, digital innovations, and distribution channels across the insurance value chain to ensure they are delivering a value-added customer experience.

In the previous decade, access to data was a stepping stone to personalizing the customer experience. Today, the ability to manage, analyze and take action on insights from that data is critical to the ongoing transformation of an industry that seeks to delight the customer. In addition to its own customer, financial, underwriting, and loss data, (re)insurance companies can utilize third-party data from government sources, social media, weather, and natural catastrophe-related organizations, to name a few. Technologies such as AI and machine learning can help accelerate how (re)insurance companies can use data to transform themselves into organizations focused on protecting families, businesses and communities in new ways.

The 2019 Accenture Global Financial Service Consumer Study: Discover the Patterns in Personality concludes that “to stay relevant and win loyalty in a digital economy…insurers should harness consumer data to deliver a hyper-relevant, highly convenient and trustworthy customer experience.” Clearly, technology combined with data can help (re)insurers provide faster transactions than any human being can do. But it will be those companies that can find a way to combine technology and the human touch that many policyholders still continue to seek that will provide a better and different user experience and ultimately find success in their market.


Best’s Review contributor Tony Kuczinski is president and CEO of Munich Re US Holding. He can be reached at bestreviewcomment@ambest.com.


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