A product is only new once, unless you continuously adapt and improve it
by Denise GarthMs. Garth is senior vice-president of marketing for Majesco, industry consultants with over two decades of experience in providing technology solutions, products and services for the insurance industry across lines of business – Life, Annuity, Health, Pensions, Group & Worksite Benefits insurance and Property & Casualty (General Insurance). Reprinted with permission. Learn more here.
April 8, 2021 — The script has played out time and time again. A company rolls out a coveted new offering, meeting a need in the marketplace. But over time, to retain and grow customers while also expanding market reach, the product must adapt to new or shifting customer and market demands with value added services that make the experience more relevant and indispensable.
Take Tesla, for example. The car company has been at the forefront of innovation, creating a line of electric, autonomous vehicles that are sleek and fast — proving that vehicle owners don’t need to compromise on speed or style to forgo a gasoline car. But they are not stopping there. In 2019, Tesla rolled out its own insurance product for Tesla owners. Elon Musk saw an opportunity to provide more cost-effective insurance for his customers, adding to Tesla’s offerings while bringing additional value to Tesla customers. [i]
Tesla continues to enhance their premier product, by adding additional value from including insurance in the purchase price to other value-added services such as maintenance and repairs that create a whole new experience for their customers.
Not every company is Tesla, but every company should continuously examine the market and their portfolio to add new value-added services. As our customer research has consistently shown, value-added services are increasingly one of the top areas by customers reflected in the 60-75% interested.
One area of growing interest is integrated absence management for disability insurance. We discussed this growing trend in a webinar with The Standard, a leading insurer who has provided integrated disability and absence management to their customers for a long time. You can watch a replay of the webinar here.
Delivering a Superior Employee Experience
As industries and companies embark on their digital transformation journeys, the customer experience becomes front and center. Apps and interfaces are now designed through a customer-first approach, not a product-first approach. The implications of this shift for disability insurance is the ability to provide a superior employee experience when it comes to filing disability claims or requesting leaves of absence, making it easy given all the regulatory nuances.
Customer self-service is a must-have. Majesco’s latest thought-leadership report, Strategic Priorities 2021: Despite Challenges, Leaders Widen the Gap, found that leaders, followers and laggards have prioritized digital customer self-service. But not all tools used are created equal – or provide that customer-first capability. As noted in the report, digital insurance platforms transform the older siloed and transaction approach to one that provides a compelling, holistic experience whether for customers, channel partners or employees.
For disability insurance voluntary benefits, employers are looking to their insurance companies or third-party administrators (TPAs) who manage their disability programs to provide a digital experience like this for their employees. An intuitive platform where they can easily submit a leave request, view their time remaining and upload or download any necessary documentation to have their leave or claim approved.
Insurance companies and TPAs with a digital solution that provides integrated disability and absence management are well-positioned to address this significant market need, while providing customers with a single point of contact for their benefits, avoiding duplication and simplifying the employee experience.
Simplifying the Increasing Complexity of the Leave Landscape
It’s hard to talk about the leave of absence landscape without using the word complexity. But it’s for good reason. It’s increasingly difficult to stay on top of federal and state paid and unpaid leave laws. And there’s no sign of that slowing down with new regulations in the works.
As if managing leaves of absence wasn’t challenging enough, the transition to remote working is adding an additional layer of complexity with employees scattered across the country working from home, expanding the number of state regulations that must be managed.
As Lincoln Dirks, a Senior Compliance Analyst for Absence Management at The Standard, put it during the webinar, “You take the already complex aspect of dealing with federal, state and municipal leaves in a given state and then you multiply that by 50. The issue becomes that no two of these states run their programs in even close to a similar manner. Rules, regulations, processes, procedures all vary by state.”
This complex landscape, though, has created a significant market demand for absence management – making it the big trend for 2021! Employer customers need it because spreadsheets and sticky notes aren’t getting it done. And increasingly, insurance companies are expanding their offerings to include it as an integrated value-added service, differentiating them in the market.
The Value-Added Service Opportunity for Insurers
Across the industry, we’re seeing customer demand for new products and services. The acceleration of change and market demand for voluntary benefits, including disability insurance, has propelled insurance companies to fast-track new products, digital experiences and value-added services to create a compelling new offering. Insurers must reevaluate their current technology platform that will make their products, value added services and processes more cost-effective, while also digitally making them attractive to the next generation of buyers.
These trends offer a significant opportunity for insurers to expand their offerings with an integrated disability insurance and absence management solution that their customers are seeking. In the 2021 Strategic Priorities research, Majesco found leaders are distinguishing themselves by prioritizing modernization and optimization of the existing business, alongside focusing on creating the business for the future, executing a two-speed strategy.
Insurance companies like The Standard are capitalizing on the integrated disability and absence management market opportunity, taking a leader position in creating the business for the future. Are you taking advantage of this market opportunity to position you as a leader? Or will you fall behind?
“Having a robust digital absence management system helps employers deliver an automated compliance experience, which is critical as leave of absence regulations are evolving at the federal, state and municipal level,” said Ella Luce, Absence Management Consultant at The Standard. “And absence management is especially challenging to stay compliant when employers have employees that work across the country.”
Are you meeting new customer demands and market opportunities? Your decisions today in taking advantage of this opportunity will define your leadership position for the future. Watch the entire webinar and hear from The Standard on how they’ve elevated corporate programs with their integrated disability and management offering on the Majesco website here.
[i] Team, The Tesla. “Introducing Tesla Insurance.” Tesla, Inc, 28 Aug. 2019, www.tesla.com/blog/introducing-tesla-insurance.