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Customer Experience as an Ecosystem: New Opportunities, Old Bugbears

Customer experience (CX) is becoming critical as insurers and brokers look for ways to maintain and grow relationships. One aspect that is less understood is the relationship the client has with other providers. Getting a larger perspective on the ecosystem offers a broader landscape with which to work but can be challenging to operationalize.

The client ecosystem is dynamic

In the UK, 73% of insurance purchases involve price-comparison websites, according to a recent report from Target Group.

While this trend “is having a significant impact on how insurance products are distributed,” the report authors say that this change in consumer habits may itself be threatened. It turns out that some segments of insurance are looking for value, not just the lowest price.

The authors note that these price comparison sites – which are carefully branded and advertised – currently have the “balance of power” with consumers.

However, these sites do not have access to policy and service options from all insurers, and this may open a door to disruption.

According to the authors:

By offering a more personalized service which might include more suitable product line, … insurers can make increased customer expectations and customer care a cornerstone of their offering.

Of course, UK insurers have significantly more flexibility in providing bespoke covereages for the automobile product than the highly regulated products in Canada. But we are seeing customer requirements actually making changes to the automobile insurance products in some Canadian provinces.

CX drives cooperation among suppliers

Sharing economy innovators – such as Uber and Airbnb – are blurring the boundaries between personal and commercial risk profiles. Based on the uptake of such services, consumers have voted their approval.

However, since its launch in Canada, there has been an overarching concern that Uber drivers – and their passengers – were in undefined risk territory. And, for a time, it seemed that this limbo might not be resolved.

However, consumer focus drove changes. Recently, government agencies such as Alberta’s Superintendent of Insurance and the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) have brought forward regulatory changes which are intended to align with the new risk profiles. It seems that governments are taking note of CX.

And, as it turns out, insurers had analyzed the market and were investing in product development even before the regulators had spoken. As a result, insurers – such as Intact and Aviva Canada – have introduced products to meet the insurance requirements almost in parallel with the announcements from the regulators.

CX promotes inter-organizational alignment

Brokers and agents have always focused on customers. Now, in the digital age, they are doubling down on CX, utilizing the same tools as insurers and sharing information with the markets to ensure correct alignment with the underwriters.

Unfortunately, standardization of data and access methods has not hit a critical mass and continues to be a barrier for brokers.

We had the opportunity of visiting with one broker who is actively utilizing CX to develop highly personalized marketing and service programs. We will post on it in the near future.

What do you think?

It seems that CX as an ecosystem permeates many aspects of the insurance industry. However, in spite of evidence that cooperation in understanding clients improves individual results, operating in silos seems to be a default option.

I would be very interested in your thoughts.

 

Editor’s Note:  Customer Experience is the overarching theme at the 2016 Insurance-Canada.ca Executive Forum (#ICXF2016) on August 30,  2016 in Toronto.  Details at http://insurance-canada.ca/executive-forum/ICEF2016-overview.php

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