Canadian Underwriter

Why insurers should invest in omnichannel strategies

December 19, 2018   by Jason Contant

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With strategic investment in digital initiatives and omnichannel, insurers can become more customer-centric, achieve growth and lower costs, Ernst & Young (EY) said recently.

Digital and omnichannel is one of five key issues and trends that should be on the radar for insurance company leaders, EY said last week. The other key trends that could benefit from strategic investment are big data and analytics, legacy system transformation, cybersecurity, and insurtech and blockchain.

“Are you as customer-centric as your customers want you to be?” EY asked. “Consumers have more complex needs and are more knowledgeable about their choices than ever before. They want personalized offerings and tailored communications – that’s why insurers must digitize services and optimize all interactions.”

EY has identified three market developments and key questions for insurers to consider related to digital and omnichannel:

  • Consumers want to research and buy products online and expect to communicate largely through mobile channels. Insurers should ask: How do digital and mobile channels help me achieve growth and profitability targets by finding new customers and retaining existing ones?
  • Consumers want more frequent, meaningful and personalized communications. Ask: Which are the best first steps to close the communication gap and strengthen relationships with unique customer segments?
  • Agents and brokers want better data and tools on carrier portals to better serve their customers and compete for new business. Insurers should ask: How can we build on first-generation agency portals with new capabilities to support the entire distribution management lifecycle?

Omnichannel distribution is crucial to improving both the quality and frequency of customer interactions. EY’s Global Consumer Insurance Survey had found that 44% of customers reported no interactions with their insurers during the prior 18 months.

Moving towards an omnichannel strategy and meeting consumers where they already are is one of the trends that will reshape the Canadian insurance industry in 2019, a market intelligence agency predicted earlier this month.

The application programming interface (API) mindset and integrated omnichannel marketing strategies will become drivers to better distribution as products become fast, seamless and embedded experiences, Mintel Comperemedia said Dec. 11.

“Moving forward, insurance carriers must focus on meeting customers where they already are through API technology, which allows insurance firms to add value and gain new clients through a more seamless customer experience than traditional distribution options,” said the agency, which has an office in Toronto. “Expect to see carriers optimize the customer experience by moving to an omnichannel strategy that will help customers move effortlessly between devices without disrupting their experience.”