The insurer-customer relationship has changed—and not just because of COVID-19. Insurers around the world are strengthening customer trust during with cross-industry digital collaborations.

As the insurance industry navigates the COVID-19 crisis alongside other sectors, the individual user experience is now front and centre for carriers. In an odd synergy, the first trend of the Accenture 2020 Tech Vision for Insurance is The ‘i’ in Experience. And in order to dot the “i”—now and post-pandemic—insurers need to see themselves as a digital partner in their customer’s life.

In my last blog series, I looked at the benefits of open insurance and ecosystems. Ecosystems and application program interfaces (APIs) use generally involve partnerships outside the fold—insurers have been hesitant. But the need for a swift response has resulted in cross-industry partnerships that show customers they are the priority.

The insurer-customer relationship has changedand not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The majority of insurance leaders believe they need to up their customer relationship game, yet the industry has been slower in adopting systems to help. While not the most ideal scenarios, the COVID-19 pandemic has made digital offerings essential to keeping customers and employees safe. This poses a challenge for many companies but has also created opportunities to build customer trust through new partnerships.

Allianz Austria and Instahelp collaborate to provide online counselling during COVID-19. 

In order to mitigate “corona stress” and support mental health for Austrians, Allianz Austria has partnered with Instahelp to provide easy access the online platform’s network of clinical and health psychologists. In a gesture of support towards customers, Allianz Austria assumes a large percentage of the cost for the first consultation. Even after the COVID-19 crisis ends, Allianz Austria and Instahelp will continue their partnership.

Reliance General Insurance and Paytm launch “COVID-19 Benefit Insurance Policy” to cover loss of pay.

Indian digital payments leader Paytm made its timely insurance debut in April with the COVID-19 Benefit Insurance Policy. In partnership with Reliance General, the digital policy covers loss of wage, quarantine expenses and health treatment costs for COVID-19 patients. Patients apply for coverage on the app and a year-long policy is generated within minutes.

Discovery in South Africa partners with Vodacom to set up a free online virus consultation service.

Discovery of South Africa has teamed up with mobile provider Vodacom to offer a free, online medical consultation service to all South Africans with pandemic-related concerns. The two companies will split the 20 million rand ($1.11 million) cost of the first 100,000 consultations. Doctors were asked to voluntarily sign up and more than 5,000 have registered so far.

Allianz Automotive and Wunder Mobility partner to connect essential mobility services.  

Allianz Automotive and Wunder Mobility have launch WeAllMove with Hertz Germany and the World Economic Forum’s COVID Action Platform and Global New Mobility Coalition. WeAllMove is an open digital platform that connects essential services and SMEs. The platform aims to reduce dependency on public transport and minimize exposure to COVID-19 infection. Anyone can access it to find initiatives in their cities. 

AIA Singapore partners with WhiteCoat to pay for 50,000 video medical consultations.

AIA Singapore has given policyholders peace of mind and continued access to quality healthcare from home by paying for 50,000 video consultations with telemedicine provider WhiteCoat. Through the AIA Healthcare App, policyholders can consult with a Singapore-registered doctor from home. Coverage also extends pre-authorisation to all private hospitals and healthcare providers. AIA has also negotiated a rate of less than $10 USD per consultation once the 50,000 cap is reached.

These are only a handful of examples of insurers stepping up for their clients. These cross-industry partnerships show a transition to that will keep the industry resilient, agile—now and in the future. The COVID-19 crisis is the catalyst for those yet to fully adopt digital to do so now. Companies that can adapt and apply new virtual tools and models will achieve competitive advantages, now and later.

In my next post, I’ll explore what makes for resilient systems during times of crisis. In the meantime, find out more about ecosystem partnerships by connecting with me here or download the latest Accenture thought leadership. Please also visit the Accenture COVID-19 resource hub for further information and insights.

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