Insurers rethink shopper and dealer methods heading into 2021
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“We have this interesting hybrid innovation approach. We use focus groups and primary and desk research like everyone else, but we have the benefit of having all of these financial agents – our advisors – doing essentially constant testing. They’re always trying to figure out how to best serve their customers so we can leverage that on the ground, ”said Christian W. Mitchell, EVP and Chief Customer Officer at Northwestern Mutual.
He added that Northwestern also has a unique position in the market as a mutual company. With this in mind, he stated: “We are currently considering which metrics can be used to measure whether it is better for a customer to have worked for us as opposed to working for others and embed this in our company metrics, which we use to do so Report to the board and where we hold ourselves accountable. “
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At Tokio Marine HCC, the focus on innovation during the recent crisis and beyond was on improving the experience of stakeholders – whether brokers, policyholders or employees – by providing digital “basics” such as First Notice of Loss and Self-Services and O online for brokers who are thinking more specifically about the renewal and filing processes.
“Extending renewal is a great way to improve the results of a specialty insurance company. How can we simplify this process and get a higher retention rate?” said Susan Rivera, CEO of Tokyo Marine HCC. “With the COVID situation, [we’re also] Viewing Triaging Submissions – How can we bring in submissions more effectively, complemented by third party information, to make it easier for the broker and to be able to get back to brokers promptly on new business submissions, whatever suits our appetites and what not our appetite? “
When carriers think about a post-COVID world, some key elements come to the fore, including ongoing commitment to digitization and customer loyalty in a variety of ways – all faster than ever. After all, one of the lasting effects of COVID has been acceleration, noted Mitchell. Fortunately, insurance companies have already proven they can move much faster than they would have thought possible before the pandemic.
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“We’re going to work faster … and from a customer perspective, I’d like to highlight the need for a multi-channel approach to customer service,” continued Mitchell. “As the boundaries between home and work are blurring for everyone, customers will now demand to be able to interact with their advisor or company and make a change of address or read content whenever they have a free moment – that could be at 10am be, that could be at 9:30 in the evening. “
He believes COVID will also put a higher premium on financial and brand strength as people want to work with companies after the volatility they can trust and know will be there for the long term. A great reliance on data will also be part of the future of the insurance industry, added Rivera, particularly in the specialty insurance space. Customers want their insurance partners to know them – for example, that they already have two policies with a freight forwarder or that they are about to make an acquisition.
“They want you to have that knowledge and bring with you an insurance policy that is more complete and responsive than their needs,” said Rivera, adding that she also sees an increasing reliance on risk management tools and other resources to help clients do this Can Reduce Losses Whether it’s employee compensation, wearables, or cyber insurance, with a full suite of software and training to help reduce risk.
“You want a real partnership because [nobody] want something to affect their business, ”she continued. “They want to accelerate and move forward. So how can we make sure they avoid some of those unnecessary bumps in the road from a risk perspective?”