Today, the owner of a lawn service company has the ability to order a customized piece of equipment for one of his lawn mowers and have it delivered overnight. Yet if that business owner tried to insure his business, change a type of coverage, or file a claim, in many cases, he’d be faced with a cumbersome process that was introduced over 30 years ago, causing unnecessary delays and frustration

Due to the fast-paced world of digital technology, that customer now expects more robust service delivery in less time. The only question is; is the insurance industry prepared to meet customer needs and make the process easier and more flexible?

In Accenture’s recently published research Broker of the Future, we examine how customer expectations, technology convergence, and external investment are disrupting the face of distribution in how, where, and when insurance is purchased. To be successful in today’s world, carriers need to understand how their distribution partners are evolving, and change to meet those needs by focusing on three key items.

1. Know your customer

It is not unusual for carriers to debate who the target customer is.  Is it the distribution partner or the policy holder? To be successful, carriers need to use data, insights, and analytics to better understand what each group specifically needs. Most customers are accustomed to getting exactly what they want at the time that is most convenient for them.

The lawn service owner needs equipment that meets his specific needs, along with reliable customer service. He also expects the same level of interaction from his insurance carrier, yet, in most cases, what is offered is a one-size fits all solution with services that are on the carrier’s schedule. Whether it be tailored products, lower costs, or flexible plans, customers have expectations that need to be met by their insurance company or those prospects will likely take their business elsewhere.

2. How Customer-Focused Service Wins

The solution for the customer is not just the product, or even just the buying experience.  Winning insurance players will also understand how customers want to be serviced, what digital channels they  use, what kind of support they need, and what level of transparency they want. Combining data and design, innovative carriers can develop refreshing and dynamic experiences that will help them win and hold on to customers. Carriers need to be exploring and testing new data sets, new services, and new products to better serve their customers and distribution partners. For example, some key questions could be:

  • Could we provide usage-based insurance on a per-lawn basis?
  • Could we work with a manufacturer to cover the equipment?
  • Could we price seasonally?
  • What if we offered an app that estimates the exact lawn size?
  • How will we delight customers and their distribution partners as the market evolves?

3. Designing Services for the Future Now

In today’s digitally-connected world, customer service expectations are changing, making competition for their attention even greater than it’s ever been. Digital disruption is happening across numerous industries, and the insurance industry is not immune. To compete, major insurance carriers need to build and implement a suite of services ultra-tailored to customers, using state-of-the-art digital technology, while never taking their eye off the critical role of customer service (be it human or digital).

The future is now.  The companies that build an adaptable—and scalable—digital business model focused on the customer, have the best chance of increasing profits and keeping those customers happy over the long term.

You can contact me with your comments, questions and feedback.

Special thanks to Morgan Thome who helped me with this post.

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