- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

How Do Consumers Want To Be Served? Do We Know, or Think We Know?

“How may I help you?” It seems like an innocent enough question, but our success going forward  may depend on knowing the correct answer for each prospect or customer we serve.  Specifically, we need methods to understand each consumer’s attitude about how much of his or her personalized information we can (or cannot) use.

This is not easy, but one place to get a leg up on how to approach this is the 2013 Technology Conference (ICTC).  In addition to a Social Media Boot Camp, new consumer survey data will be presented to help insurers and brokers develop coherent, flexible strategies.

Are Consumers Sacrificing Privacy Willingly?

It would seem so.  Earlier this year, we blogged on a survey conducted by SAS/Leger Marketing which found that a large majority of Canadian consumers were willing to allow companies to use personal, private information to supply them with more relevant, personalized marketing materials.

A recent survey conducted by Accenture on Holiday shopping patterns found  that 75% of consumers prefer retailers which use personalized information and 61% of consumers would trade more private information to further improve their shopping experience.

With respect to insurance practice specifically, gathering personal driving behaviour through embedded devices in the car or personal mobile devices is integral to usage based insurance.  And while this is not common in Canada at this point, there has been substantial uptake in the US, UK, Europe, and elsewhere.

Is There Any Consumer Resistance?

Nathan Golia, blogging at Insurance& suggests that some consumers may be less than enthusiastic about this trend.  He cites several articles in the media reacting (negatively) to increasing incursions on  privacy by insurers; attacking, among others, USAA,  the P&C insurer which has the highest user satisfaction ratings for personal property in the US.

Golia also finds a burgeoning industry for technology to block data accumulation in vehicles and on personal mobile devices.  He cites a company called Autocyb which markets a product to put a lock on vehicle data recorder to allow the user to control access.  Their site says: “most consumers are not aware that their vehicles are recording data that not only may be used to aid vehicle and highway safety analysis, but has the potential of being used against them in a civil or criminal proceeding, or by their insurer to determine rates.”

Golia cites several other examples and concludes that while insurers are using technology to expand data collection and analysis, “there’s still a minefield of distrust with the industry among consumers that must be navigated with care if these strategies are to gain adoption.”

So What’s an Insurer To Do? The 2013 ICTC can Help

Are consumers asking for better marketing targeted to their needs or rejecting further invasions of privacy?  The answer is likely to change from one consumer to another.  Celent’s Mike Fitzgerald recently blogged that insurers should prepare to collect data in order to “respond to consumers as they expect their insurance purchase to be as easy as their other buying experiences.”

What do you think?  Do you have strategy to support various approaches?  We’d appreciate your comments below.

If you are looking for more information, The 2013 Technology Conference will be the place to be on March 18-19.  In addition to a Social Media Boot Camp which will explore the expectations of consumers in this new environment, Mike Fitzgerald from Celent will be presenting new information from a consumer survey which both supports and challenges commonly held assumptions about customer experience requirements.