Part one of this series explored why the life insurance industry must reimagine its relationship with policyholders. Now, we’ll discuss the how.
Purchasing life insurance seems like a â€śno brainer,â€ť so why donâ€™t more people do it?
Decisions around purchasing life insurance can stir up negative emotions because of the nature of the topic (loss of life), while the complexity of the products and services can confuse potential policyholders. In addition, the benefits are intangible and long-term.
When reviewing online applications for 13 large life insurance carriers, 90% of their combined 269 questions asked prospects questions focused on coverage requirements, medical and health assessments, and administrative details such as beneficiaries and current financials/assets. Meanwhile, only 3% â€“ eight total questions â€“ are positive in nature or goals-focused with questions about future needs.
Life insurance companies must begin to change the core perceptions that influence peopleâ€™s decision-making. Shifting your engagement model to one that is more people-centered starts with gaining a better understanding of your customers â€“ both the policyholders and their families.
Below are five steps insurance companies should take today to begin transforming how they do business with current and future customers:
1. Develop personas for your prospects, policyholders, beneficiaries and employees. You likely already have policyholder and prospect profiles, but youâ€™ll want to develop personas for employees and beneficiaries as well. You need to understand behaviors, attitudes, communication preferences and needs to be successful. The best personas are the ones that cause an organization to continually re-visit when making decisions: â€śwhat would Barbara want?â€ť
2. Create journey and touchpoint maps to determine pain points, gaps and opportunities in each customerâ€™s experience. To take full advantage of this tool, ensure your journey maps:
3. Research how you communicate to prospects and policyholders across channels (CSR/agents, mailings, emails, websites, etc.) to determine how to streamline and enhance these touchpoints. Once you have the journey map documented, aggregate all of the relevant communications and post them on a wall. Walk through the materials with the aforementioned personas top-of-mind and ask:
4. Define an analytics and data strategy that addresses gaps in understanding based on the new model of engagement. Tap into social media channels and publicly accessible data to gain new information about your policyholders and beneficiaries that you hadnâ€™t previously needed. These can help simplify the application experience by eliminating redundant information requests as well as uncovering touchpoint opportunities based on the new insights.
5. Explore investment in technologies and process improvements that better support employees and enable you to interact with customers in new ways. If you fully embrace servicing customers in â€śthe life between,â€ť IoT and wearables can play a role in health monitoring similar to the health insurance industry. Long-term, product accelerators can reduce the speed-to-market for new products and enable agents to build a customized product in real-time with prospects. For sustainability, leverage a digital platform thatâ€™s flexible and can be supported by the ever-evolving insurtech eco-system. By limiting costs due to the shortened time to market and continuously iterating products based on customer feedback, youâ€™ll create a truly customer-centered suite of products with an end-to-end application-to-issue process that reflects this agility.
Invest in that customer portal to allow easy access to an online application, helpful calculators to guide in coverage selection, and self-service functions for payment and policy updates. However, know that your portal is only one step toward true business change and a customer experience transformation.
While the above steps may seem daunting, an effective way to get started is through a one- or two-day workshop to tackle a targeted business problem with key internal stakeholders. Using design thinking methods intended to identify root causes, think differently about solutions and prioritize outcomes and next steps and you can begin to shift your business model. The workshop is also effective at gaining internal alignment and socializing the concept of engaging customers in a new way.
Changing the perception of life insurance is the goal. The decision to engage with you should be simple, tangible, immediate and positive. Adopting a customer engagement model that is people-centered ensures youâ€™re making business, technology, process and communication decisions that support this goal.
Moreover, by gaining a better, more holistic understanding of prospects, policyholders and their loved ones, youâ€™ll more effectively service them and build a trusted, advisory-based relationship that results in greater loyalty, which also leads to more cross and upsell opportunities.