Every business is about customers, and insurance customers are changing. What innovations are helping insurers create the new service models?

Philadelphia Insurance has implemented a successful Voice of the Customer program that aims to provide actionable insights based on customer feedback. It’s a highly automated system, and it’s proved to be effective. Between 2010 and 2013, it has raised customer satisfaction from 93 percent to 95.4 percent, increased the renewal rate by nearly 3 percent, improved customer retention by 3 percentage points, and increased the net promoter score from 52.7 to 55.3.

(Net promoters are those customers who would recommend the business to others—in other words, the source of the elusive and highly prized word-of-mouth recommendations that build strong customer bases.)

jFloat is a UK auto insurance company that provides an online mechanism through which customers can band together to self-insure. About 80 percent of premiums go into a pool that pays out on claims below a certain amount, with the remaining 20 percent going to a reinsurer to cover claims above that amount. This innovation is all about providing a viable option for customers with higher appetites for risk and a strong independent streak.

Another interesting example of the peer-to-peer insurance business model.

Heading east, Chinese insurance group Ping An (one of the world’s second-largest by market value) is piloting a mobile financial service platform. Called “Yiqianbao,” this platform aims to offer users a way to make payments to each other, pay bills online and also exchange text messages and pictures. It currently has ties with three banks, but will expand to include more. It appears that Ping An has already noted that helping enable its customers’ lifestyles lies at the heart of success in tomorrow’s insurance markets.

The Digital Insurer Accenture 2013 Consumer-Driven Innovation Survey: Playing to win
Read the report.

A final service-model innovation, this time from UK insurer Aviva. It has taken the bold step of sharing customers’ claim reviews on its website. Research shows that customers are influenced by reviews, and so this is a way for Aviva to tap into this trend—but it’s risky because the company is playing “open cards” with its customers and prospects. In essence, it’s rather like the customer reviews posted on hotel and other accommodation sites on the Web.

The reviews are obtained by a third party, and are used to improve the service to customers. From my cursory look through some of them, the process seems to be genuine, with some negative ones listed along with the raves. This type of transparency is increasingly what customers and consumers generally are demanding, so perhaps Aviva is wise to begin building experience in this service model early.

In my view, the success or failure of this (and similar) initiatives will hinge on how effectively the company can feed customer views back into its processes, and embark on a “virtuous spiral” of continuous improvement.

Next week, we’ll conclude with a look at the final two innovation categories of people/ roles and communication/ brand.

For more on today’s insurance customers, and the innovations they are forcing, please download the Accenture 2013 Consumer-Driven Innovation Survey—and you can use our online tool to customize data for yourself.

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