Five trends from The Future of General Insurance event

Describing key insurance trends at The Future of General Insurance event
Describing key insurance trends at The Future of General Insurance event

This week I spoke at The Future of General Insurance event about our latest Insurance Industry Technology Trends report at Endava. Here’s a brief summary of the presentation.

Endava works in many industries, and we can see what companies outside of insurance do really well, that insurers can learn from. We have found 20 ‘trends’, of which we covered five most relevant ones to general insurers at the conference:

  • IoT (Internet of Things) are slowly redefining how consumers perceive ‘insurance’
  • Moving to mobile first interfaces
  • Using social media
  • The use of digital marketing in the insurance industry
  • Building self-service into systems

IoT (Internet of Things) are slowly redefining how consumers perceive ‘insurance’

Qivicon's platform plays household white noise when the security system is alarmed
Neighbourhood Watch German style: Deutsche Telekom’s Qivicon platform plays household white noise (and rustles the curtains) when the security system is alarmed

We are deploying more Internet-connected devices into our homes. These include heating thermostats, lighting, security systems, Sonos sound systems and doorbells (as well as toothbrushes and fridges for a handful of people). These devices can act together to lower the risk of burglary or flood damage – the most common claims of contents insurance.

When a user who has Deutsche Telekom’s Qivicon platform activates their security system, the system can switch lights on and off, play sounds through the Sonos system, activate cameras, or even open and close the curtains – making it appear that someone is at home.

Insurers are busy trying to sell contents insurance, whilst non-insurers are lowering the risk of contents insurance before offering ‘cover’ to their own customers.

The bottom line: This demonstrates how the competitive landscape has changed. Insurers now compete against other utilities – from the outside in.

Moving to mobile first interfaces

Deloitte’s recent Mobile Consumer report shows how ingrained smartphones have become in our everyday lives and even nights. Over 80% of the UK’s population own a smartphone (or at least one of them). Most of us wake up and check our phone quicker than we can get dressed and make a cup of coffee.

Other industries are creating great mobile experiences but insurance companies are slow to adopt this not-so-new technology.

Yet insurance companies would find mobile technology very useful. We developed a car claims form that didn’t require any keyboard entry – all fields used GPS, or the phone’s camera.

The bottom line: Don’t just build a mobile version of your website, build a mobile interface which makes use of the smartphone’s features to make the customer’s life easier.

Using social media

A week before The Future of General Insurance conference, Admiral insurance got themselves in some trouble by offering policyholders a discount if they allowed Admiral to scan their Facebook interactions.

Social networks can be very useful when used correctly. We’ll sometimes use Facebook and LinkedIn advert managers to check the size of a demographic group (to some level of detail), often ‘live’ in front of one of our customers.

Facebook pages can be very useful for marketing messages, competitions, sign up forms and to gather customer feedback – as long as the messaging is correctly targeted of course.

The bottom line: Social media can provide massive amounts of customer research and analytics. There’s a balance when using social media data between data privacy and benefiting a customer.

The use of digital marketing in the insurance industry

Before the event, I searched through the last few years of emails from the myriad of personal insurers I have. This included motorcycle insurance, home and contents, travel, phone, car and health insurance.

The company who has contacted me the least is my motorcycle insurance. I have a total of three emails from the company – I used them in 2010 and again this year. In fact, for this year they seemed to lose my email address (despite me purchasing the policy online) and I didn’t get this year’s policy documents until I asked for them.

Three emails over two years of policies.

Contract this to retailers who email me with weekly and monthly offers – which I’m happy to receive because they always feel relevant and include vouchers.

I showed a slide saying “What are you afraid of?”, and had people speak to me later in the conference one to one to answer the question. Insurers are worried that by contacting customers, they might lose the customer rather than retain them.

Insurers spend some budget on Google Adwords and other pay-per-click advertising. Increasing the conversion rate of these adverts by a small percentage could make a significant difference to the insurer’s revenue.

The bottom line: Websites such as MoneySavingExpert.com give advice such as “You can switch mid-year, don’t wait for renewal”. With insurers afraid to contact their policy holders mid-term, they are proving the Money Saving Expert advice works.

Building self-service into systems

The most used mobile apps in the US, first half of 2016
The most used mobile apps in the US in the first half of 2016 from SurveyMonkey

Look at the graph of the top mobile apps in the US. How many of these apps have you downloaded? And of these apps, when was the last time you called their customer contact centre?

How many products have you bought from Amazon (or favourite internet-only retailer), and how many times have you called their call centre?

The reason why we don’t need to call these companies is because almost all support queries can be handled by the user themselves – we call it self-service.

Why, in 2016 do customers need to call insurers for the following services?

  • Forgotten email/ password
  • Change my payment details
  • Cancel this product/ service
  • Upgrade/ downgrade my product/ service
  • Order history and receipts

The bottom line: Insurers should be making their systems self-service, and designing self-service from the beginning for new products.

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