In a market where every percentage point of growth has to be fought for tooth and nail, customer retention is a key priority. Insurers have always known that the claim is their defining moment, and many have invested significantly in improving the claims experience.
Accenture’s Claims Customer Survey reveals that—at least in one respect—insurers have succeeded: only 14 percent of customers are dissatisfied with the way their last claim was handled. And yet the research also shows that the battle is far from won.
Findings show that:
- Retention is more difficult than ever. Almost one in three insurance customers are likely to switch to a new provider in the next 12 months, whether they are satisfied with their current provider or not. Younger customers are more likely to switch, particularly if their insurer does not deliver claims service through their preferred digital channels.
- The claim is a defection trigger. Insurance customers who claimed in the past 2 years are twice as likely to switch providers as non-claimers, and of those claimers who were dissatisfied with the claims process, 65 percent are likely to stop doing business with their insurance provider.
- Claims settlement speed and transparency matter most. Slow processes and poor communication are most likely to result in unhappy customers. Other factors affecting customer satisfaction include the customer’s ability to contact the insurer anytime to find out the status of the claim, and timely communication from the insurer that keeps the customer informed.
- Recommendations on social media are the basis for insurance buying decisions made by more than 50 percent of customers under the age of 35. Younger customers are also much more likely to share their negative claims experience and “punish” their insurers by withholding recommendations.
- The contact center is king. It remains customers’ preferred channel for all actions related to their insurance claim—36 percent of customers prefer to interact with their insurer through a call center when they submit their first notice of loss, 34 percent to check their claim status and 30 percent to check the status of repairs or replacement.
- Insurance apps would be great if customers knew about them. Only 11 percent of customers use insurance apps, 43 percent have never heard of them and 46 percent have heard of them but know little about their purpose or benefits.
Anything insurers can do to increase the numbers of satisfied customers will have a direct benefit in terms of retention. If, in addition to that, insurers can use their claims performance as a differentiator, establishing their reputation (especially on social media) as a provider that is committed to settling customers’ claims quickly, fairly and transparently, this proficiency will not only increase retention but will improve their chances of acquiring disaffected customers who are looking for a new provider.
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