In my previous post, I spoke about how international insurers should use digital transformation as an opportunity to harmonize their international operations. Now, I’d like to look in greater detail at the role customer-centric interfaces have to play in helping international insurers transform their businesses.

Most insurers today have legacy IT systems and business processes that are engineered around their own products and the business logic that these products dictate. Now, however, they must put their customers at the center of their businesses. This means shifting their business models from selling cover towards becoming advisors and helpers to their customers in times of stress and need.

It also means that they shouldn’t tell customers how, when and where to interact with them, but instead offer customers a consistent and compelling experience across a range of service and sales channels.

It’s a difficult shift to make, but those insurers that get it right can evolve from providing a product their customers consider to be a grudge purchase towards becoming a part of their customers’ everyday lives. No longer will users only remember they have a relationship with the insurer when they pay for cover or claim after something has happened to them.

They will use their mobile phones and computers to interact with insurers every day; they’ll share information about their needs and behavior that will enable insurers to personalize their products and manage risk more accurately. And they’ll bundle products and services based on an assessment of the individual’s needs.

This sort of customer-centric thinking is especially important for P&C insurers, since they face the reality of high customer churn. It is imperative for them to win customer loyalty by building humanized relationships with their customers – perhaps providing not only cover, but also advice and guidance that helps customers to avoid risk in their everyday lives.

Of course, the human face of the insurer is often the agent, who sells its product and has a trusted advisory role in the customer’s life. The role that the agency channel has to play in the changing insurance landscape is the subject of my next post.

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