A recent Ernst & Young survey called “Voice of the Customer: Time for Insurers to Rethink Their Relationships” provides useful insights for carriers on a number of fronts. For example, one of the top findings of the survey is that although most insurance carriers are making it easier for consumers to research, shop for and buy insurance online, most consumers want to know that they can still receive individual attention from a living, breathing person when they need it.This online self-service versus personal attention balancing act is important for insurance carriers to understand and get right as they aim to cut costs and make the claims process more efficient for policy holders. Being able to research coverage, pay bills and create a ‘pre-loss’ contents inventory are all conveniences that consumers want, but knowing that someone will be there to help you when you’ve experienced a loss is extremely important. As other industries have learned, there are some things that computers can’t do well. Personally reassuring a policy holder after a loss both on the phone and on site during the inventory process are perfect examples of when the human touch is crucial.
Another important finding of the survey is that good claims service is a given for most consumers today, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into better customer retention. Carriers must build a strong customer service foundation as a baseline, and then further differentiate themselves from competitors. For carriers still using outmoded claims technologies and processes, now is the time to not only catch up, but also invest in other ways to innovate and persuade policy holders to stay with you.