July 3, 2019
How Insurers Are Making Connections
by Ike Kavas
It's human nature to be attracted to people, yet technology drives so many dealings with firms. How do we bridge this dichotomy?
Spin the wheel to land on any insurance carrier’s website. Did you land on Allianz, USAA, MetLife, Radian, Traveler’s, State Farm, Protective Insurance or American Family? Do you notice anything familiar? Perhaps it’s images of smiling people, like you and me, living their lives, connecting with each other or being a family. In business today, leading organizations, from insurance, healthcare and finance to mobile and technology companies, find themselves centered on a common theme of enhancing customer experience (known as CX). It’s about relating to other people and finding commonalities in a world that is rapidly becoming disconnected.
Human emotions and the desire to connect are driving business around the world to change their focus to consumers. According to Harvard Business Review, “On a lifetime value basis, emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers…. Companies deploying emotional-connection-based strategies and metrics to design, prioritize and measure the customer experience find that increasing customers’ emotional connection drives significant improvements in financial outcomes.”
People are attracted to other people – it’s human nature. Yet today, much of our connections and information are driven by technology, data, the internet and mobile phones. How do we bridge this dichotomy? We use technology to connect with other people. Insurance companies can serve as a prime example of an industry that’s being pushed to incorporate technology and data to make those human connections. Imagery can change people’s perceptions of a service or product.
Common sense? Definitely. But the next logical question is, how do companies deliver on these promises and demands of connecting. Consumers and businesses – and not just millennials – want products and services quickly, if not immediately. Behind the scenes, innovation departments, data scientists, IT departments and line of business leaders are exploring automation technology from robots (digital workers), business processes, workflow, customer support teams, engineering and other departments that can work smarter and faster.
See also: 3 Ways to Optimize Customer Experience
Let’s look at some examples where insurance companies are improving and automating business processes. Claims processing is a department that deals with a high volume of documents, forms, packets and images. Leading insurance companies with fast response times are using intelligent technology that uses AI and machine learning. They have eradicated manual processes that slow them, namely a combination of physical paper and electronic documents, such as emails and PDFs that are not in a structured format. They use tools that automatically capture the data from claim files, can recognize different types of forms and files, categorize them and export that data into another intelligent system, such as an automated workflow or claims processing software.
I work with insurance companies all over the world who are pressing forward with digital transformation projects and are incorporating these type of automation processes. The results that insurance customers report back to us demonstrate the ability to expedite millions of documents and claims per year, decrease document preparation efforts by 50% and indexing by 75%, reduce fraud and cut improper payments by about 2%, resulting in positive ROI within six months.
The human touch is removed from these mundane, time-consuming processes, enabling insurance companies to respond to claimants or billing-related questions faster. This is improved CX, which customers don’t see, but where they reap the benefits and remain loyal. It’s the start of making the emotional connection that we all want. Now, insurance companies’ customers can relate to those happy, smiling faces they see on insurance websites.
For insurance companies, the data around CX should be top of mind. Bain & Co. surveyed close to 30,000 P&C customers and found that highly loyal insurance clients: retain at 97%, buy 25% more insurance, consolidate almost 90% of their insurance with one provider and refer 250% more than neutral clients. Bain found that loyal clients deliver 300% more lifetime value than neutral clients and 700% more value than low-loyalty clients.
See also: Bold Prediction on Customer Experience
These numbers alone should support the move to relate to your fellow humans. And, the funny thing is, it starts with uncovering and optimizing your data. Digital transformation and automation will lead you to CX and the first start of emotional intelligence.