Forward-thinking insurers are reassessing their role in an emerging economy where service is increasingly personalised and real time, measured by outcomes and delivered through powerful digital ecosystems. They see disruption as an opportunity for new growth, and they’re hungry to learn from digital leaders in other industries. The recent Insurance Times Innovation & Disruption Conference 2015 provided a great opportunity to do just that.
The event assembled a broad spectrum of digital seers and doers who pointed the way to a new insurance reality. Ken Segall, Apple’s former Creative Director, set the tone by underlining the power of simple. Driven by Steve Jobs’ obsession, Apple has embedded simplicity in everything it does, from innovating and organising to selling and communicating. It’s an object lesson for insurers as they focus on reinventing (and simplifying) their customer engagement propositions.
Apple is a master of simplicity, in large part because it’s a master of data. The company harnesses data and analytics to deliver 360° customer insights that bring personalisation to life: keeping propositions focused and, above all, relevant. It’s an urgent objective for insurers whose ability to understand customers is still constrained by product-siloed structures.
Being willing and able to change how they engage with their customers is key to differentiation in a hyper-competitive marketplace. This was the theme for one of the most keenly attended panels, which brought together seasoned customer experts and digital ‘jedi’. We heard from organisations like Yahoo and Google, two companies that have built vast businesses on harnessing customer data and are now using this prowess to enter new markets (insurers beware!).
And we looked at the mindset that insurers need if they’re to get closer to consumers. Openness is essential. A defining feature of success will be their ability to work effectively within ecosystems – where customers, competitors and partners all have a vital part to play. In other words, you don’t have to go it alone. Accenture’s experience demonstrates the power of partnerships in two areas: at the enterprise level, providing the capabilities needed to distribute products and provide excellent customer service, every time; and via outcome-based arrangements, where data-driven insights are used to identify partners for co-delivery of value-added services to shared customers.
The event also underlined the huge interest that is growing across the industry in mobile engagement. The key message? It’s not just about having a mobile presence…it’s about having the right presence. That means aligning mobile engagement with physical/verbal engagement so customers can be dealt with in a relevant way across all touchpoints.
Companies like Uber show how seamlessly engaging customer experiences can upend and redefine whole marketplaces. In the US insurance industry, USAA is doing the same thing through a total commitment to understanding customers and identifying services that create traction and loyalty – earning NPS scores 100 percent ahead of its nearest rival. Examples like these show what can be achieved when digital vision and focus come together.
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