Last week, I looked consumers’ changing preferences when it comes to purchasing insurance.

It’s possible for personal-lines insurers to achieve profitable growth in a sluggish market—but not if they’re trying to be all things to all people. Accenture’s survey of 4,000 US personal-lines customers has convinced us that insurers need to focus on one of two business models: the online model or the integrated agent model.

So, is the Internet your primary sales channel? Or, is it your network of agents? Your answer will determine entirely different sets of capabilities and investment priorities. This week, I’ll take a closer look at the online direct model.

Attracting and engaging customers

Carriers that wish to compete in the online direct market should:

The Digital Insurer: Accenture US Personal-Lines Insurance Consumer Survey - What high-performance insurers are doing to achieve growth in a dominant market
View the PDF.
  • Transform to a modern platform and efficient processes.
  • Have an aggressive digital marketing strategy that optimizes Internet tools, such as search engine optimization.
  • Simplify their products and streamline their sales processes.
  • Persuade customers to buy add-on coverages, such as roadside assistance or rental car coverage.

Up-selling and cross-selling success can mean the difference between merely enlarging the customer base and growing profitably. But to quickly respond to customers’ preferences online, insurers need a highly streamlined back office and automated processes. There is an opportunity to use emerging digital technologies to provide relevant product selection advice on their website and seamlessly transition to a contact center agent via video, chat or phone. These enhancements would enrich the customer experience, differentiate the carrier and give customers a reason to come back.

Join me next week when I’ll explain how the integrated agent model can be enhanced.

To learn more, read Accenture US Personal-Lines Insurance Consumer Survey: What high performance insurers are doing to achieve growth in a dormant market (pdf; opens in a new window).

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