Online insurance sales: Is it enough?

Insurance companies have long begun to digitise their processes. In recent months, however, it has turned out that not in all sales-related areas insurers have done their homework. Is it enough to provide the customer with the opportunity to buy insurance online? By Katarzyna Boniecka, sales specialist DACH region, Comarch

2 December 2020

The current epidemiological situation has become a driving force for many customers to change their buying habits. Also in the case of insurance: those who buy policies increasingly want to do it online. According to the Capgemini report, as many as 75 percent of the insurance company's customers worldwide would change their insurer if the after-sales service of the policy was not available in all channels: on the website, in the mobile application, call centre and through agents and brokers. On the wave of such changes, well-functioning online insurance sales may become the new standard.

Simplicity above all
If the online sales process turns out to be too complicated, there is a risk that the customer will quickly become discouraged and look for an alternative product from the competition.

To prevent this, apart from providing an intuitive and functional interface and digital coverage of each stage of the sales process, especially the electronic signature of documents, it is worth to implement an omnichannel system. Such a system ensures the sale of products in various cooperating channels, ie on a PC, tablet or smartphone. It also allows for more effective and comprehensive use of available information and reaching the customer at the right time, with the right message and through the communication channel most appropriate for a given customer.

Loyalty at a premium
Increased availability of online policies can also mean greater transparency and comparability of offers from different insurers. The customer will make decisions consciously and based on more information than before.

The available IT solutions dedicated to loyalty programs allow companies not only to retain the customers, but also to learn their habits, personalise offers and increase their knowledge. According to Accenture, customers are willing to share their data in exchange for lower prices or personalised services. Loyalty programs can also be utilised to create a positive corporate image. In particular, after the first wave of the pandemic, when some insurers refused to cover the costs associated with the coronavirus, it is worth trying to regain the lost trust in the insurance industry.

Predict the future
More and more often it is pointed out that in the future an important role in the development of the insurance market will be played by personalisation - understood not only as adjusting the offer to the changing needs, but even anticipating them and creating offers in advance.

The solution may be a modular structure of the offer enabling the customer to easily modify it within the sales platform. The important function of such platform shall be an integral option of requesting agent's support. Such an approach will allow to build relations between customers and agents even within the framework of online sales. Moreover, it is a good idea to implement a Business Intelligence (BI) solution, which on the basis of various data sources (eg CRM and ERP systems, risk management systems or the aforementioned loyalty programs) will support predictive processes concerning changes in trends and customer expectations. The intelligent use of the collected data may be a foundation for creating smarter products and services as well as significantly reducing their time-to-market.

The key is the relationship
In times when long-term competitive advantage practically does not exist and creating an innovative and difficult to copy product is a huge challenge, it is not about launching an online insurance sales channel. It is all about creating long-term customer relationships. There are many ways to do this with IT solutions. Data is currently one of the most valuable resources in the world.

Data-driven business models will allow to quickly respond to individual customer needs and market changes. However, it is worth to choose the right IT partner, who has both great know-how in creating and implementing IT systems, as well as experience in the insurance industry, what in combination will help create a flexible operating model, that will be difficult to copy by competitors.

For more information go to Comarch for Insurance

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