…but insurers find one size does not fit allA recent blog by Novarica’s EVP Rob McIsaac recognizes the power of technology to open new avenues of client access and interaction. Learn more here.
Increased competition, changing consumer expectations, and technology are transforming insurance marketing. As the pandemic continues, traditional insurers are investing in IT, digital, and Agile operations. These changes are likely to be with us long after the pandemic fades and we adapt to a new operating model—likely something very different than what we remember from 2019.
Several trends in the insurance industry are increasing the importance of marketing. Policyholders and agents expect transparency, ease of doing business, and intuitive omni-channel experiences. Insurers are no longer selling products; they are selling experiences, which extend to lead generation. Marketing success is not just about providing value to the business in terms of growth and quality leads. It is also about gaining customer loyalty. Consistent touchpoints and experiences are becoming more important. Insurers can also leverage real-time data and deploy predictive analytics to optimize customer experiences.
Targeting, Brand Advertising, & Journey Orchestration
The pandemic has catalyzed new relationships between consumers and the brands they do business with. Consumers are visiting insurer websites (rather than going to agents) to understand how COVID-19 affects their policies. Thought leadership and education are critical as the brand becomes more important to consumers. Marketing is at the center of brand favorability, lead generation, and business continuity; being a trustworthy source and communicating expertise with consumers should be coordinated in digital marketing.
Increased direct interaction with consumers has also renewed interest in using digital data to personalize experiences and improve customer journeys. Researchers often talk about the impact of operational transparency on customer satisfaction. A simple progress bar that allows customers to set expectations of when they’ll hear back about the next step is critical across various business processes (e.g., underwriting, claims adjudication). Gathering intelligence on the target market through journey mapping, workshops, and prospect surveys is key to increasing user experience satisfaction.
Rebalancing Agency-Carrier Relationship
The need for transparency—continuous communication, alerts, and on-demand reporting and updates—also applies to agencies and agents. The pandemic has pushed insurers to re-think relationships with agencies and agents and re-evaluate what’s most important on an individual basis to maximize value.
This past year has shown that different agents have different needs. Some agents prefer personal relationships, while others respond better to textual information. Providing transparency within the distribution partner preferences is critical and emphasizes the need to have a good CRM to store these profiles.
Historically, insurers tended to want one best answer to a generalized problem. Then, they would focus on optimizing a “one size fits all” solution. Today the world is experiencing rapid changes and significant demographic shifts. “One size fits none” is a real danger; recognizing this, and being flexible, could be the difference between winners and losers in the long run.
Horizontal Solutions vs. Insurance-Specific Solutions
Insurance-specific solutions are starting to collide with horizontal players, especially when it comes to providing digital experiences. Major players are acquiring marketing lifecycle solutions, including analytics, automation, orchestration, CRM, digital asset management, and web personalization. Insurers, in turn, need to be aware of integration requirements. One of the challenges insurers face is ensuring that insurance-specific solutions can interface seamlessly with horizontal solutions. As insurers adopt technologies with specific marketing functions, how they decouple and recouple solutions may be important for the future.