As the capabilities of advanced technology around information and communications continue to expand, the customer experience becomes an increasingly important lever for driving growth and profitability in insurance.
Customers who have grown up with or have become accustomed to the advantages afforded by the constant availability of advanced technology at their fingertips have neither the patience for delays, the tolerance for errors nor the desire to put up with vague correspondence that is not targeted to their specific, immediate needs or delivered in the way they want.
Communications that miss the mark expose an insurance carrier to lost opportunities and consequently, a loss of income. Not only can mistakes lead to lost income, they can also lead to compliance fines and customer defections. Poor communications create unhappy customers, and unhappy customers result in lost opportunity and a high rate of defections.
The key attributes required for today’s business environment are accurate, timely and personalized communications with a consistent brand that is delivered where, when and how the customer needs and wants it.
These can be primary difference-makers in creating real benefits for individual customers as well as value for the brand and proper compliance management.
Great communications deliver value that can be measured by high levels of customer satisfaction, increasing loyalty and cross-sell/upsell opportunities, as well as higher levels of productivity and speed to market.
Key business results will be demonstrated in lower costs, more revenue and better overall performance for the entire company.
Communications in the Policyholder Lifecycle
A wide variety of communications are involved in the policyholder lifecycle. The following are several examples and a discussion of how the quality of those interactions can affect the customer experience.
Welcome kits – The welcome kit creates an extremely influential first impression in the mind of the new customer. The sterile feel of a form letter or inconsistent branding sends the wrong message.
Insurers that have implemented advanced communication capabilities are able to ensure that correct logos and brand templates are used, the information is correct for the insurance offerings being purchased and the insured’s locale and message is personalized for the parties and items being insured.
Policies – For every new policy issued, every endorsement or policy renewed, various documents and forms are generated. Balancing legal requirements with ease of reading for these complex documents is a struggle.
Some insurers have embraced leveraging new capabilities to adapt the forms, standard language and content with color, new formatting and a clearly marked branding image for the company. By making complex communications more customer-friendly, customer relationships strengthen.
Renewal notices – As insurance policies near their renewal dates, most insurers take a proactive approach to securing renewal business. Standard renewal notices often fail to capture the attention of the insured party and may be so generic that they are difficult to understand.
Coverage or premium changes may not be readily identified and explained adequately. On the other hand, personalized notices that target individual needs can significantly improve renewal conversions and often drive add-on business.
Changes to Scheduled items – Coverage for specific, scheduled items such as fine art, jewelry and antiques are often added and changed during the policy period.
For many insurers, a simple letter or static form states the coverages and exclusions. But, every piece of correspondence is an opportunity to make a negative or a positive impression on the customer.
A personalized letter that confirms the merit of the appraisal and recognizes them as a valued customer will be more likely to create a positive impression of the insurer.
Other correspondence – There are many different types of correspondence that touch the policyholder, and every letter or document sent to a customer may have positive or negative consequences.
Examples of other correspondence include beneficiary changes, claim letters, revised coverage letters, cash value statements, new product offerings and safety/loss control tips.
All of these require assembly of information from multiple applications and data sources. High-quality branding, accurate content, timely delivery and personalization can be clear differentiators for insurers.
As these examples demonstrate, the business capabilities that enable an insurer to deliver effective, timely, personalized and accurate communications will drive real value.
These business capabilities make the difference between customers who are satisfied or dissatisfied. They are the capabilities that result in customers who are loyal and come back for more offerings, and are the triggers that promote a long-lasting brand image in the marketplace.