The State of Insurance Customer Experience Management: Improving the Customer Experience

By Paul Cole and Warren Moollan of inQuba and Robin Spaulding of Capgemini
First published in Claims Magazine, June 2016 issue.

Interaction between a policyholder and their insurance company tends to take place only during the purchasing cycle and when a claim must be filed, and the lengthy gap between those two events leaves very little room for the insurer to develop any sort of meaningful customer relationship. This limited model of engagement is seriously outdated and does not resonate with Gen Y consumers – and insurers’ greatest challenge today is to change the Customer Experience to build loyalty with this demographic, by developing meaningful interactions during that gap period.

According to CapGemini’s “World Insurance Report 2016,” Gen Y tends to have lower Customer Experience (CX) scores than older people, with only 33.9 percent of Gen Y customers reporting positive experiences with insurers compared to 55.4 percent of non-Gen Y customers. This more engaged, more demanding demographic wants more frequent interactions. They expect to have multiple channels, including digital, at their disposal, and they expect to have more participation throughout the duration of the policy.

Understanding context

When the policyholder needs to file a claim – the point at which they need their insurer the most – they will be in an emotional state of mind, and the fact that they may have had little to no interaction for several months or years makes the process much more difficult than it has to be. Furthermore, the rigid and linear process is bound to make the Customer Experience frustrating, because that process does not take into account the context in which the claim is being filed. A more flexible interaction model takes into account the different states of mind the policyholder may be experiencing, as shown below:

claims01

What is required is a move away from interacting with a client from a Journey Map to interfacing with a client based on the client’s context. This requires empathy, or understanding the client’s context and having the ability to say the right thing at the most appropriate time to the correct person.

Into the Valley of Desolation

The period of time between when a client purchases an insurance product and when they need it – the “Valley of Desolation” – is far too passive and does not meet the needs of today’s more highly engaged consumers. Even during the purchase period, there is very little customized communication; rather, much of it is tedious due to the regulatory and compliance environment. During the gap between purchase and claim the only interaction may be during renewal time or if there is a change in pricing, leaving the policyholder with the impression that the only time the insurer contacts them is when they are asking for money. This approach cannot build loyalty, especially among the more highly engaged Gen Y audience.

claims03

The other end of the Valley of Desolation – the claims process – is also typically very difficult to manage, often because the client has had no engagement or meaningful relationship with the insurer, and they may not know how to navigate the system.

Some of the more obvious but difficult to fulfill challenges of a claims process are the following:

  • The clients don’t always enter the system at the same point. They may use the call center, company designed application, Web, etc.
  • The nature and complexity of the process leads to a very different experience for each incident.
  • The timing of the registration of the claim.
  • The client complains about an incident on social media. The insurer now must be flexible enough to communicate via social media channels.

The CXtended Communication Strategy

If companies base their strategy on process rather than each client’s unique situation, then how they communicate and ask for information from a client will not address the client’s state at the most critical time. Instead, the system should be intelligently designed to understand the client’s state of mind at the time, and be flexible enough to communicate appropriately while giving the client a range of options based on context, with interventions designed to suit each client situation. For example, if a client whose vehicle is undriveable calls to register a claim, respond by saying, “We apologize for the inconvenience caused by not being able to drive your vehicle due to the serious nature of the accident. However, your policy does include Hired Vehicle benefits.”

A more comprehensive and empathetic context map is depicted below based on the inQuba CXtended philosophy of “Listen, Learn and Engage” with the right customer at the right time, saying the right thing. Each client will have an entirely different strategy and operating model depending on an understanding of Context. This model solves both problems facing the insurance company today: The “Valley of Desolation” gap period of no communication, and the confusion that results when a claim must be filed.

claims02

Designing strategies to interact with the client during the quiet periods will not only alleviate the tension around the claims experience but also ensure a smoother, less cumbersome, and less costly claims experience for both parties.

The CXtended view would include tactics such as:

  • Trigger personalized email asking client how he/she what they would do to improve the product
  • Introduce Special offers
  • Thank client for regular payments
  • Remind client of No Claim Bonus
  • Introduce client to Value added products
  • Provide Tips and Advice

A CXtended view that engages customers during that often lengthy “Valley of Desolation” period brings insurers two significant benefits: It reinforces loyalty, and at the same time it helps create a smoother and less cumbersome claims process, since policyholders will be more familiar with and more comfortable with interacting with their insurer. Greater consistency, more communication with clients, and greater involvement ultimately ensures that the client will be able to take the right action at the right time when they are at their most vulnerable.

 

Paul Cole is President, inQuba North America, a customer experience management and customer engagement SaaS provider. Based in Los Angeles, Paul has led customer management strategy, technology and operations practices at Ernst & Young, Mercer and CapGemini. Contact Paul at paul.cole@inquba.com. Dr. Warren Moollan is a highly experienced insurance specialist and business strategist at inQuba. He has led and managed insurance operations of several organizations, and has served on several executive management teams responsible for the strategy and planning to enhance the customer experience, including global businesses. Contact Warren at Warren.Moollan@inquba.com.

Robin L. Spaulding, CPCU, AIC, is a Principal within Capgemini’s Global Insurance Practice. Robin is a 25 year insurance industry veteran and an experienced system delivery and strategy consultant. She provides Capgemini’s clients with industry in-sights and best practices. Contact Robin at robin.spaulding@capgemini.com.

 

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    Bruce Eidsvik

    inQuba President, North America

    Bruce is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience in sales and marketing mainly within the customer experience space. Bruce has held senior executive roles at Genesys, a private equity backed cloud customer experience company and OpenText, a NASDAQ listed information management company, where he led their Global Growth Marketing and Sales Development organizations. Prior to these roles, Bruce was the Managing Director for the APAC region at Genesys, based out of Singapore. Bruce is also an entrepreneur and a co-founder of Insight Venture backed VoiceGenie Technologies Inc, which was successfully exited in 2006.

    This work has led Bruce to points around the globe, helping both Fortune 100 and SMBs alike. Bruce is a frequent keynote speaker at CX events worldwide, where he is more than happy to share his experiences and best practices to help others. Bruce is a team builder, has a passion for driving creativity, developing leaders and getting stuff done. Bruce strongly believes that fun is an important component of driving great results. Outside of work, Bruce is an avid skier, road and mountain biker, triathlete and in love with the mountains.

    Bruce holds a Bachelors of Science degree with Honors in engineering physics from Queen’s University. After 14 years abroad, Bruce and his family are back in Canada and living just outside Banff, Alberta.

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    Liza joined inQuba shortly after inception in 2011. She has held various roles and responsibilities during the time and has been vital to the success of the business. Since 2016, Liza has headed up inQuba’s global Inside Sales function, responsible for identifying, qualifying and nurturing new business relationships. She also plays a fundamental role within inQuba’s marketing function, being jointly responsible for all key, global marketing events. Liza also manages the relationships of inQuba Partners, specifically the Microsoft Partner Relationship for which she is the MSFT Alliance Partner Manager.

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    With a professional career spanning 10+ years, Dasha has extensive experience across CX, Marketing, Campaign management and Data management and analysis. Dasha holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Information Systems Technology) degree from the University of KwaZulu Natal.

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    Kobus is responsible for overseeing all technical operations including customer support and general operations activities ensuring the inQuba’s customer platform is optimal and stable. He has extensive Systems and Business Analysis experience gained from industries such as Banking, Information Technology and Mining. He has gained solid knowledge in Project Management, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity management as he managed the Disaster Recovery site for one of South Africa’s Big Four Banks for a significant period. In 2016, Kobus joined inQuba as a Senior Analyst and has subsequently been promoted to Head: Service Operations, bringing with him the technical platform knowledge as well as customer management experience gained through the management of large, strategic inQuba clients. Kobus holds a Certificate in IT Service Management (ITIL) and SDIP. He also holds an ‘Essential skills for the Business analyst’ certification.

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    Previous to joining inQuba, Allan’s five years at On-IT-1, developing software solutions for the Bosasa Group, have given him broad perspective on design, development and deployment of software applications across various industries, including aquaculture, youth rehabilitation, fleet management and device integrations for biometric and programmable logic controllers. Allan brings this valuable experience to bear on the challenges of developing a globally distributed SaaS platform.

    Allan completed his treatise in 2006 and holds a honours degree in Bachelor of Commerce (Computer Science and Information Systems) from the Nelson Mandela University.

    Warren Reed

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    Warren is responsible for high-level software design choices and selecting the best tools, platforms, and technologies for developing and delivering inQuba’s CX software platform. He helped build the inQuba platform from the ground up, including products such as Engage, Case Management, and Journey Analytics. He implemented the continuous delivery pipeline that automatically deploys inQuba’s software solutions globally. Prior to inQuba, he spent five years at Bosasa architecting and developing systems for vehicle maintenance, youth development centres, access control security, and job recruitment. He also spent two years at Korbitec developing legal practice management software. Warren holds an honours degree in Computer Science and Information Systems from the Nelson Mandela University.

    Jon Salters

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    Jon brings with him a wealth of experience in market research and technology enabled services in the insights domain.

    Prior to being strategic advisor to inQuba, Jon spent four years at Vision Critical, the world’s leader in Insight Community solutions where he launched Vision Critical’s presence in Africa, re-launched their partner program internationally and was also integrally involved in the team that executed the spin-off of Vision Critical’s Research and Consulting business unit which became a cornerstone of the newly formed Maru Group.

    Jon holds a GDE in Engineering Management and a B.Sc Mechanical Engineering (industrial Option) for the University of the Witwatersrand.

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    Antony has ten years’ experience in market research across the African continent and across all major industries. Prior to inQuba, he headed up digital research at an agency, Yellowwood Future Architects, which specialises in strategy, research and design.

    Antony completed post-graduate Leadership Development studies at Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), following a Bachelor’s degree (Industrial Psychology) at the University of South Africa.

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    Trent is responsible for all operational delivery, professional services engagement, product conceptualisation and delivery of inQuba software. Prior to joining inQuba, Trent was the CIO for Discovery Health and in 2003, was appointed as COO of PruHealth, Discovery’s UK joint healthcare venture with Prudential. He also spent several years consulting on various systems integration projects for Deloitte and Accenture.Trent holds a B.Sc.(Mech) Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Graduate Diploma in Industrial Engineering.

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    Michael holds an MBA from the University of Cape Town, an Honours Degree in Computer Science and a Bachelor of Economic Science Degree, both from the University of the Witwatersrand.

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