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Customer Experience in P&C Insurance is a Marathon – but the Finish Line Keeps Moving

New SMA Blog by Mark Breading, Partner, Strategy Meets Action

Much has been written and much has been done in the past decade regarding the customer experience in P&C. Progress has been made in better understanding customer needs and journeys, implementing digital solutions for mobile and self-service capabilities, and improving interactions with agents and policyholders. However, anyone involved in strategies and improving the CX in P&C is likely to admit that the industry is still in the earlier stages of the journey. It is clearly a marathon, not a short-term, once-and-done project. But now, as a result of the pandemic and the momentous events of the last year, the race has changed in significant ways.

A new SMA research report, Customer Experience in P&C: Transformation in the Pandemic Era, assesses the journey of P&C insurers. Companies covering the personal lines, small commercial, and mid/large commercial market segments are profiled based on a survey of executives and SMA’s analysis of customer experience projects with insurers. The new SMA research is chock full of insights on the level of maturity of each P&C segment, the state of CX officers, and the project priorities of insurers.

About one-quarter to one-third of insurers are in broader rollouts of customer experience strategies, with the personal lines segment being the most mature. There is also a correlation between the status and maturity of CX officers and the level of overall segment maturity. There are two categories of CX-related projects that are vital to track: those that are strategy/organizational in nature, and those that are oriented around technology capabilities. For example, flipping the lens from a customer service to a customer experience orientation and establishing a customer-centric culture are the top two project areas, signaling a recognition that these are foundational elements of a good CX strategy.

The project plans recognize the change that is underway. It is becoming fashionable to say the pandemic changed everything. While that may be hyperbole, it is true that the pandemic and all that it has entailed has altered customer expectations in important ways and has caused insurers to rethink and reprioritize plans. The short-term focus has been on enabling and improving self-service, digital payments, and digital intake for both sales and service. Improvements in these areas will continue, but in the meantime, P&C insurers have been taking stock of their customer experience journey – and this is where they are running a marathon. What once was movement at a steady pace has now taken on a steadily increasing momentum. Virtually every insurer is accelerating digital transformation, and customer experience is an important element of the acceleration.

However, now that the expectations of agents and policyholders have risen to new levels, the finish line for the marathon has been pushed out. It is not as if there was ever a firm finish line where a company could claim they were “done” with customer experience. But the race is now taking some new turns, will require adaptability, and may require a longer sustained effort to remain competitive.

For more information, see our report, Customer Experience in P&C: Transformation in the Pandemic Era.

About The Author

Mark Breading, a Partner at Strategy Meets Action, is known for his insights on the future of the insurance industry and innovative uses of technology. Mark consults with insurers and technology companies on forward thinking strategies for success in the digital age. His inventive methods and his ability to incorporate InsurTech and emerging tech into business strategies are unparalleled. Mark also leads SMA’s research program, has overseen the publication of over one hundred research reports, and directed custom research projects for insurer and tech clients. His thought leadership in the areas of InsurTech, emerging technologies, customer experience, and digital strategies has earned him rankings as a “Top Global Influencers in InsurTech” by InsurTech News and Onalytica and a place in the 10 finalists for the “Top Global IoT in Insurance Influencer Award.”

Before joining SMA in 2009, Mark spent 25 years with IBM, where he co-developed IBM’s Account Based Marketing program and led the global project office to implement ABM across all industry verticals worldwide. Mark has held both technical and business roles in sales, consulting, marketing, and business strategy and has advised insurers around the world for almost 30 years.

He is a frequent speaker at industry events; an InsurTech mentor with the Global Insurance Accelerator; and a frequent contributor of articles to Insurance Thought Leadership, Insurance Networking News, LOMA Resource, and many other industry publications.

About SMA

Exclusively serving the insurance industry, Strategy Meets Action (SMA) is an advisory services firm offering retainers, research, consulting, events, and innovation offerings to both insurance companies and solution providers. Learn more about SMA at www.strategymeetsaction.com.

SOURCE: Strategy Meets Action (SMA)