A recent study of insurance consumers ought to be an eye-opener for carriers that do not feel any urgency to go digital to solidify and improve their market share and prevent digital disrupters from siphoning off their customers. The study is telling, because it found that insurance buyers in a certain market want to see carriers develop significant digital capabilities and make additional technology upgrades to improve the self-service customer experience. The market? Europe. Why should insurers in North America find the results of the study, the 2016 Youbiquity 3 Finance report, instructive? It’s because European consumers shop online far less than do North American consumers, according to the results of a survey that retail management solutions provider iVend Retail released earlier this year. Even so, the more than 3,000 insurance consumers whom Youbiquity studied in the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain understand that digital technology would make their experience with insurers more satisfying. Notably, according to the study, 61 percent of insurance consumers in the United Kingdom, 76 percent in Germany and 79 percent in Spain say their insurer choice is influenced by the quality of the carrier’s claims-handling and customer service. That service would be improved if insurers enabled their customers to make more complex self-service transactions online than just getting a quote or making a payment, consumers said. For example:

  • 28 percent want to make an appointment to visit a financial adviser.
  • 39 percent want to file a homeowner’s claim.
  • 52 percent want to make a complaint.
  • 81 percent want to manage their investments.

Yet, many insurance customers who participated in the study reported encountering frustrating difficulties when they attempted to engage their carriers digitally over the previous 18 months. Almost 75 percent of the study respondents who attempted to purchase insurance online reported myriad problems. Those included print that was too small or unclear, 40 percent; the process was problematic or too complicated, 23 percent; the process took too long to complete, 22 percent; and no back button option was available, 20 percent. Among the study participants who attempted to file a homeowners claim online, the process failed for 14 percent, and 52 percent still had to contact their insurers in other ways. That resulted in 39 percent of those policyholders complaining that their insurers’ online process was “not easy.” Among the study participants who attempted to file a complaint online, the online process failed for 28 percent, and 72 percent complained the process was “not easy.” Next time: The self-service improvements insurance customers want. Learn more:

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