How to be Customer-Centric, Not Just Customer Facing
by the ITC Vegas Team | March 10, 2023
Speakers at ITC Vegas emphasized fast-changing insurance customer expectations and the role that technology will play in meeting them.
Customer expectations have changed radically over the past ten years. Gen Z is radically different from any previous consumer era and a world away from the mindset of the Boomer generation, at which insurance products are still developed.
The next generation of customers are less interested and more demanding. They have been weaned on the one-click Amazon experience, quick response times and expect service to be simple and immediate.
“The next generation of customer has high expectations in response time and instantaneous service, and they have a very low-interest level in the products we sell,” said Steven Zuanella, group chief digital officer, Generali.
Startups need to take risks and make good bets on them, emphasized Michael Levin, CEO, and co-founder, Ideon, which means keeping a close ear to the ground on generational trends, such as attitudes to data privacy, versus seeing information as an enabler.
Subscription models rather than ownership models are in vogue.
“The younger generation doesn’t consume to possess things. There’s more focus on having access to a product,” said Neeren Chauhan, industry thought leader and former C-suite, Zurich, Allstate, McKinsey.
However, previous generations are still the biggest insurance buyers, so products can’t just cater to these new digital natives.
The core value of insurance remains to provide a strong service when there is a claim, not just a lifestyle app, noted Mike Schubert, vice president of technology, Unum.
The first wave of insurtech innovation was – like so many technology entrepreneurs – focused primarily on consumer-facing business, which then still relied on manual processes.
“Insurtech 1.0 was focused on retail consumer-facing insurance,” said Rabih Ramadi, global chief risk officer, and co-founder, Unqork.
A new wave is now paying more attention to commercial lines, he suggested, but their ideas are just as customer-centric as their trailblazing predecessors.
“This is not a solution play; it’s an ecosystem play. You bring in the technology but also the data vendors, and open architecture, to make it one seamless experience for the client and bring efficiency to the operation of an insurance company,” Ramadi said.
Swathes of the traditional commercial lines operations are still bereft of automation and artificial intelligence (AI), speakers suggested, with big carriers and brokers using words like bespoke for what are, in effect, inefficient legacy processes reliant on emails, PDFs, and spreadsheets.
The same is true of the life market, where so many workflows remain undigitized.
“It’s still shocking to me that much of these are paper. Beyond digitizing all those processes, there are opportunities in distribution where you can build new software experiences and tie them to embedded insurance,” said Adam Erlebacher, CEO and co-founder, Fabric.
The commercial lines market is particularly ripe for digital transformation, with digital broker placement for large programs becoming the norm, Ramadi said.
“My expectation in the next few years, the market is going to be extremely different. One is super expensive, takes a long time to issue a policy, obviously not a good customer journey,” he added.