Research shows that 80 percent of consumers are willing to share their data for personalized services, lower prices and faster claims processing.

With the ever-increasing expansion of digital experiences, personalized insurance services have become a necessity rather than a “nice to have.” This shift has been driven in part by innovative offerings in other sectors by giants like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (often referred to as GAFA), as well as companies embracing the sharing economy, like Uber.

Our research backs this up. In our recent Accenture Global Distribution and Marketing Consumer Study 2018, we looked at the trends toward hyper-relevance, hyper-convenience and trustworthiness across industries. Highlights included the following.

Insurance customers want intelligently personalized services, offers and alerts

The majority of respondents reported being interested in personalized pricing strategies tailored to their behavior, such as insurance premiums linked to safe driving or healthy lifestyle habits. Interest in behavior-based pricing was highest among 25 – 44-year-olds.

Most consumers (80 percent) are between “somewhat” and “very willing” to share their data in return for a range of benefits, including lower prices, more relevant, personalized offers and alerts, and quicker claims processing. This has increased since 2017, when only 57 percent were willing to share data with their insurers in return for new benefits. Respondents aged 18-34 were most willing to share their lifestyle data.

Consumers value the person in personalization

Research shows that customers are happy to access product information and conduct standard transactions through online channels, but that they prefer to talk to an in-person advisor for more complex transactions, such as making an insurance claim. Although this applies across all age groups, I was surprised to see that 18 – 24-year-olds are slightly more likely to prefer face-to-face contact for these activities than older customers.

While three quarters of respondents said they are satisfied with the in-person service they receive, they were also open to other ways of accessing this one-on-one service. Almost half of those interviewed said they would be interested in remote face-to-face contact, via internet-enabled chat or video, for example. This bodes well for a move toward artificial intelligence (AI)—where in-person services are costly and difficult to scale, AI makes it possible to offer personalized engagement at scale. This is especially true for simpler transactions, where it can free up and support agents to deliver higher quality service where it matters most.

Personalization is a priority

Although there’s a clear consumer appetite and a strong business case to be made for highly personalized products and services, and some insurers are already on board, there is room for improvement. Customers are crying out for personalized, real-time, digital or mobile services, and forward-looking insurers can see the value in these types of services for reducing costs, limiting customer switching and improving customer retention and loyalty. For insurers still sitting on the fence, the time to act is now.

In my next post, we’ll look at how the GDPR impacts insurers as they gather customer data.

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