The insurance industry begins the New Year with a sense of cautious optimism. While private healthcare has shown growth in certain markets, important challenges lie ahead in reaching out to the consumer and keeping pace with technology.
Showing the human side of Protection
If 2014 was the year to bring customers into focus, analyzing their needs and preferences, 2015 promises to turn analysis into to real, meaningful interaction.
The UK insurance market, where significant advances have been made in benefits for insureds, is a good indicator of changes to come. In its review of the progress made to date and the challenges to come, the Association of British Insurers notes that “one of the ways UK insurers are working to make markets more effective for customers, shareholders and the economy is by improving the customer experience.”[i]
Health insurance protection consultant Peter Le Beau supports this view, praising the industry’s position of “constructive activism” in 2014 and community outreach initiatives which show “the greater good that we as an industry provide.” Le Beau urges the insurance industry to reflect on ways in which it can work together to improve customer and adviser education and “demonstrate that we as an industry provide enormous social and financial benefit through the paying of claims.”[ii]
Technology to benefit the consumer
The sharper focus on the customer and the importance of technology are not new. Already in 2013, Ernst & Young, noting that by 2020 there will be more than 50 billion connected devices around the world, called for the insurance industry to pick up the pace.[iii] Indeed, in our December post on the future of company health care plans, we highlighted the vital role of technology as a tool to improve employee access to company health services.
And a recent report by State Street, a global financial services provider, shows that new technology-based best practices are being put into action and have a growing role. The report was based on a global survey which found that 78% of insurers are experiencing growing demand for new technology to reach customers. The report also highlighted increased investments in customer relationship management systems, social media and technology to capture new customer insights.[iv]
As companies continue to embrace these trends in 2015, highly personalized customer service and online access to a life-changing benefit such as Best Doctors can help keep customers at the forefront of their business and provide a truly meaningful and differentiating offering.