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Customers go digital and prepared to get personal

Customers go digital and prepared to get personal with insurers for best offer

Increasing digital engagement with customers is essential to gain attention and ensure products and services stand out, according to PwC’s latest global report - Insurance 2020: The digital prize – Taking customer connection to a new level.Seventy per cent of insurance consumers now use a digital platform (price comparison websites, insurance sites and social media) to research before buying products or services.

PwC New Zealand Partner and Insurance Sector Leader David Lamb says, “What we’re seeing is just how strongly embedded digital already is within the global market and the potential for the New Zealand insurance industry to take the engagement and commercial possibilities further here.”

A quarter of global survey respondents have purchased general insurance online (using web or mobile devices). Meanwhile, social media and internet comparison websites are expanding customers’ ability to discover and compare products and services.

“Far from just being another channel, the impact of digital is transforming what customers expect which will create fresh opportunities for companies to get closer to their customers, moving insurance from a price to a value consideration for New Zealanders.

“Customers want policies tailored to their requirements and to only pay for what they need. The opportunities that digital is creating means that in the future, policies can be tailored to a specific person’s set of circumstances and preferences.

“There will also be potential downstream advantages if New Zealand has any more large scale natural disasters, companies will be able to utilise the digital channel for greater customer insight and engagement around claims, and be more able to meet customer needs, in their time of need.

“The market leaders in New Zealand will be the companies developing longer lasting relationships by using digital capabilities to gain enhanced customer knowledge and harnessing that information to profile customers more effectively, fine-tune underwriting and delivering customised solutions,” says Mr Lamb.

Getting close to customers
The survey suggests more than half of those surveyed globally would be prepared to provide their insurer with additional personal and lifestyle information to enable them to find the best deal. Other key findings include:

• Sixty seven per cent of respondents would be prepared to have a sensor attached to their car or home, provided the end result is a reduction in premium.
• Nearly 70% would be willing to download and use an app from their insurance provider.

The next level of ‘information advantage’ comes from extracting risk and customer data from sensors, GPS, purchases, social media and other digital trails people leave. The real value is enabling customers to understand how much risk they’re exposed to. Insurers can not only price risk more precisely, but offer more informed advice on how it can be reduced and mitigate.

Need for human assurance
When asked what would encourage them to purchase online, access to telephone support (35%) and online advice from a professional advisor (30%) were particularly important.

While the move to digital is compelling, customers still like the opportunity to interact with an individual. Web chat, co-browsing and video chat provide ways to enhance the digital experience and help customers.

Speeding up and putting things into action
According to PwC’s latest global CEO survey, 50% of insurance CEOs see new market entrants as a threat to growth – far more than any other financial services sector.

New entrants are a real threat to the existing market and general insurers need to be agile and use the increasingly available data to provide tailored solutions for customers, in a manner similar to telecom and technology companies.

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