Canadian Underwriter

How P&C can keep human connections within digital insurance

August 20, 2021   by Canadian Underwriter Staff

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While the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated P&C’s digitization investments, the need for human connection within digital insurance should not be overlooked, a digital identity firm says.

“As the insurance industry accelerates its pace towards digitization, we must keep in mind that insurance is a trust product,” said Mary Ellen Power, vice president of marketing at Montreal-based OneSpan Canada, a firm specializing in digital identity and anti-fraud solutions.

She explained that while customers want a streamlined online experience, “they still want the advice and consultation that comes with so many of our complex insurance products. The human interaction element is still key to keeping the trusted advisor role front and centre,” Power said earlier this week during a webinar titled How To Bring the Human Connection to Digital Insurance.

COVID-19 significantly impacted insurance buyer behaviour, Power said, with more customers now doing research online before deciding to buy coverage.

In Canada, 37% of policyholders are interested in using, or currently use, the camera feature of their smartphone to file an insurance claim or get an insurance quote, according to a Forrester and Venture Scanner report.

Brokers who have used digital technology like video and chat during the pandemic have seen these solutions giving them a “much higher touch-point with their customers,” Power said.

When the human touch is a must

With the role of the trusted broker advisor evolving, Power said there will always be a reason for brokers to “continue to provide customers with a ‘white glove’ experience and address their questions in real-time.”

She said areas where the human touch is a must include endorsements, renewals and changes to policies (they can be completed online, but with human assistance); new policy applications (auto for personal lines); claims submissions; and customer service (which can be done using chat or video).

Brokers are especially integral in helping digital clients with new policy applications for home, specialty and commercial insurance and claims resolution processing, Power said.

Digital tools to help brokers

While digital solutions for consumers have their advantages, removing the human element has its pitfalls. One of the biggest challenges in digital insurance is identity fraud, Power added.

Nearly 30% of U.S. consumers surveyed in health, life and P&C has had their identity stolen in 2019 and 2020, according to an Aite Group survey.

Within a virtual workspace, brokers struggle with things like secure access, identity verification and authorization, account maintenance, real-time communications and claims processing, Power said.

When adopting solutions like e-signatures and video-enabled communications, brokers can use several identity authentication tools like multi-factor authentication and biometrics to address both the customer experience and security issues, she suggested.

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