While technology continues to shape most areas of society at breakneck speed, gains in the property and casualty insurance industry have been forthcoming, but at a more cautious pace. Experts think that approach should change this year, as recent trends show that clients can be better served when providers use the latest technological applications, such as mobile, chatbots, and on-demand services.
Laura Drabik, Vice President of Business Innovation for Guidewire Software, wrote that insurers can no longer dictate how their clients access information. Instead, she suggested insurers embrace a strategy that emphasizes communication through mobile devices. “A mobile-first strategy speaks to society’s demand for anytime, anywhere service,” Drabik wrote on Property Casualty 360’s website. “Insurers must be ready for the mobile customer, and take care of them on their device of choice.”
No client likes being placed on hold to have a simple question answered. Chatbots, loosely defined as automated text-based virtual assistants, have helped serve that need in recent years. “Chatbots are easy to use and many customers prefer them over calling a representative on the phone because it tends to be faster and less invasive,” wrote Blake Morgan, author and self-described “customer experience futurist” in Forbes. “They can also save money for companies and are easy to set up.”
In addition, chatbots handle standard questions, allowing live customer service reps to focus on clients’ specific issues. “With the chatbot’s pre-formed questions and answers covering these types of calls, agents are free to focus on incoming calls that require more complex answers,” wrote Drabik.
As companies increasingly offer short-term services—think Uber, Amazon Fresh, Netflix, and TaskRabbit—there are numerous opportunities to change the way the insurance industry does business. Short-term travel insurance, for example, can help travelers ease concerns about renting a potentially flawed house while on vacation or assist drivers who consistently rent or share vehicles.
A recent KPMG report regarding on-demand insurance pointed out that it is still a small industry but has shown signs of growth, especially as companies like Trov and Cuvva emerge. Short-term insurance can be especially appealing to new clients who are already used to pay-to-play services. “Customers can feel confident that they have the protection they need, while only paying when that coverage is actually required,” wrote KPMG partner Paul Merrey.
Get in the game
Never mind what your company has done in the past; it’s no longer time to sit by and wait for your competitors to test out potential applications and approaches that could dominate the insurance industry in the future. Customers will seek out those companies that offer them ramped-up services and improved accessibility, whether in mobile technology, chatbots, or on-demand services. An informed, ambitious approach to today’s top trends could pay huge dividends in the future.