Customer Experience: The Next Battleground for Group Insurance’s Competitive Advantage
Digital technology has revolutionized the way we work and live and has become a ubiquitous part of modern, everyday life. As a result, consumers have developed increasingly high expectations for the digital customer experience that they receive from most companies, even the group insurance carriers that provide their employee benefits. As a result, insurers have doubled down on the focus and budgets that they allocate to the digital customer experience. An enhanced digital customer experience has also become that much more important as insurers try to differentiate themselves in a market that has become overly commoditized. Offerings have largely become comparable, whether customized products, the “one-stop” shop model for service, or the recent focus on financial wellness. In addition, the overall digital customer experience is falling short across all key constituents. Brokers are simply buying on price, employers are dissatisfied with implementation and servicing and group insurance software, and employees have low engagement with benefits products that they find hard to understand.
In today’s group benefits marketplace, several specific digital customer experience trends have emerged. Consumers are mainly seeking fast, relevant, simple experiences and overall low-effort self-service. That said, an intuitive, personalized system that meaningfully engages group customers, whether internal users, brokers, employers, or employees, is the ideal solution.
The Digital Technology Opportunity
As a result of current market conditions and trends, there is an opportunity for insurers to leverage digital technologies to differentiate themselves in key impact areas across the insurance business value chain. At the quote and proposal stages, data-driven insights could be leveraged to help prepare census and benefit plans for more efficient and consistent analysis, and tailored proposal content could be digitally delivered. In contract administration, simplified employer onboarding through straight-through connections with real-time progress dashboards could be enabled, along with personalized and intelligent enrollment decision support to guide customers in benefit selection. For absence and disability claims, customers could initiate a claim using their channel of choice, and analytic-driven clinical chart review could be implemented to drive quality and assessment consistency. These are just a few examples of digital design that reimagine and enhance the experience for group insurance constituents.
Digital technology’s omnipresence is here to stay, and with that heightened customer experience expectations. For group insurance, business as usual will not be good enough to compete in today’s market. A recent Accenture research study found that there is a big gap between what brands and consumers feel is being delivered from experience design; 80% of brands think they deliver superior digital customer experience, but only 8% of their customers agree. As firms such as Amazon and other prominent companies repeatedly raise the bar on what customers can expect from a digital customer experience, group insurance carriers will need to continually build and enhance their own digital services to keep up with heightened expectations. Carriers that commit to customer experience design and enhanced digital technology will be able to provide superior service to their key constituents and create a differentiated, competitive advantage that will engender customer loyalty and subsequent long-term growth.
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