Lesson 3: Customer Service

Low price and customer focus are two lessons that small commercial insurance carriers can learn from their personal lines counterparts when they consider selling policies online. In this post, we’ll look at a third lesson: customer service.

In the personal lines market, price remains an underlying factor, but increasing competition is affecting the service aspects of the business as well—both in the initial sale and in post-sale service.

From advertisements, we see insurers going after initial sales:

  • GEICO: 15 minutes can save you…
  • The General: The anonymous quote…

We also see insurers considering post-sales customer service:

  • Allstate: Touts its claims app, which allows customers to take a photo to file a claim.
  • The General: Highlights its speed and electronic delivery of proof of insurance.
  • GEICO: Boasts that its insurance app has been #1 for two years in a row.

Moving to a direct channel is not just about selling the same product and service online. It means recognizing that customers expect online services and interactions at their convenience, and it means building services to meet their needs. Offering great service is not enough. To be competitive in the online channel, insurers need to deliver great service through the means and methods and with the convenience that online buyers expect.

In my next post I’ll look at a fourth lesson to be learned from personal lines: if you can’t build it…

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