Other parts of this series:
Emerging digital technologies such as extended reality will enable insurers to build personalized, long-lasting relations with policyholders.
New digital technologies are opening the way for insurers to draw much closer to their policyholders so they can give them the customer experience most consumers crave.
Closer relations with policyholders are going to be vital for insurers as they contend with growing competition and increasingly fickle consumers in the ever-more-digital insurance industry. Insurance providers have long been hamstrung by their infrequent, and often unsatisfactory, engagements with their policyholders. Efforts to close the gap between themselves and their customers, through conventional advertising and marketing, have frequently proved expensive and inefficient.
Emerging digital technologies, especially extended reality, will enable insurers to at last get close to their customers. And stay close.
Many insurers are starting to recognize the potential of extended reality. Eighty-five percent of the insurance executives we canvassed for our Technology Vision for Insurance 2018 report believe it’s important to use extended reality to overcome physical distance when engaging with customers or employees. A similar proportion of executives want their organizations to be pioneers in the development of extended reality solutions.
Extended reality encompasses both virtual reality and augmented reality. Virtual reality allows users of specially-designed headsets and hand-held controls to engage with a simulated environment. By contrast, augmented reality overlays images and generates sounds in real locations. It provides users with augmented experiences in a variety of different environments.
Potential insurance applications for extended reality are almost boundless. They range from delivering advice to claims adjustment and immersive staff training. However, the ability of this technology to transform the customer experience is currently its biggest attraction for insurers. Already, several firms in the insurance industry are rolling out smart applications that use extended reality to build closer, more dynamic relations with customers.
Zurich Insurance in Switzerland is using extended reality to increase the efficiency of its risk engineers and field inspectors. It has equipped these specialists with smart glasses that allow them to conveniently consult site plans, record work in progress and communicate with remote experts. This application will cut costs and improve the company’s customer service.
Zurich Insurance affiliate, Farmers Insurance, has begun an extended reality pilot program to train claims adjusters in US. The interactive program, developed with immersive technologies start-up Talespin, allows Farmers to lead home-insurance claims adjusters through 500 different damage scenarios with a variety of difficulty settings. The program could eventually save Farmers as much as $300 000 a year in travel costs.
Indian life insurer PNB MetLife has launched an extended reality customer service platform. ConVRse allows customers of the insurance company to engage with a simulated advisor, named Khushi, to gain information and advice. It was developed with MetLife’s Singapore innovation center, LumenLab, and is currently available at 15 PNB MetLife branches.
Insurtech firm Symbility Solutions in Canada is exploring the possibility of using extended reality to enhance its video collaboration technology. Symbility Video Connect allows policyholders to record damage that has occurred to their homes by using a smartphone or tablet to link remotely with insurance claims adjusters. The insurtech firm believes extended reality could speed the resolution of claims by enabling claims adjusters to use the policyholders’ videos to calculate the extent of the damage. The technology could also be used to provide policyholders with examples of what the repairs might look like as well as cost estimates of proposed restorations.
In my next blog post, I’ll discuss how some progressive insurers are enhancing the experience they offer customers by using artificial intelligence to improve the performance of their employees. Until then, take some time to look at these links. I think you’ll find them very useful.