Canadian Underwriter

Why this direct is emphasizing an advice-based approach

November 13, 2019   by Adam Malik

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TD is enhancing its digital offerings to consumers and putting greater emphasis on the customer experience as a way to increase its footprint; to do that, providing relevant advice will play a key role in building trust, the company says.

TD wants to “instill customers with the right trust and confidence that they are getting the right coverage, they are getting the right product and so on,” TD vice president of digital performance Espen Molin told Canadian Underwriter during the company’s recent Tech Day at its offices in downtown Toronto. “That is a key priority for us.”

The value of advice is nothing new to brokers: they have been promoting their advice-based distribution model throughout their history. But directs are now also starting to talk the talk, with TD saying that providing advice is critical to customers because insurance is a product everybody needs. “It’s also a service that is sometimes a little bit complicated or confusing to understand, so the advice piece is really important,” Molin added.

Why is advice-giving a key priority for a direct like TD?

“We are really in the business of trust,” said Molin. “So it’s really important for us that we have that trusted relationship with our customers.”

The emphasis on advice comes as TD enhances its digital offerings in response to growing consumer demand. In the last year, Molin said there’s been a 40% bump in active digital users and an increase of 60% in digital transactions within the insurance space. Mobile usage has more than doubled over the last year, making up half of all visitors to the company’s insurance platform.

For TD, a key component of “advice” involves creating strong digital content to educate consumers about a product. Creating positive digital experiences and good content, whether for an app or website, is important to “engage and deepen” relationships and boosting business, Molin said.

Easy-to-access information is another important aspect, from finding policy information to managing it. When customers can do that themselves, “it also lifts the conversation we can have with customers,” Molin said. Instead of questions like when the next payment is due, “we can really start to focus on bigger value-adds.”

When a customer or prospect comes across the website or app, a “holistic approach” is needed, Molin said. “It’s not only about the policy and the details of the policy, but it’s also really about how can they manage their home, and what can they do to improve things in the home that will both help them and help us from a claims perspective.”

There aren’t that many potential reasons for clients to interact with their P&C insurers, since – it is hoped – that accidents themselves are rare. And so how will customers take advantage of offerings if they don’t even know what’s available? That’s what makes engagement difficult but essential, Molin said. “We do live in a digital age where experiences are the key thing and less so the transactions.”

Transactions were the main focus of the banking industry when it went digital 20 years ago, Molin observed. But the situation isn’t the same for insurance now. Customers are comparing their experiences to that of Amazon and Netflix. “They really expect us to provide a personalized experience that fits their needs and is relevant for them,” he said.

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