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  • Changing the Game: How Life Insurers can Compete in a Digital Environment

    September 6, 2016 by Joe Miranda

    In today’s instant-gratification-driven digital environment, it’s hard for ANY company to stand out from the crowd. That goes double for insurance carriers trying to bring complex financial concepts to life. We’re vying for consumers’ attention against companies like Apple and Amazon, who set the bar for the customer experience. However, in establishing goals for our business, we often just shoot to outperform the competition. A report on digital strategies for life insurers from Ernst & Young summed it up perfectly: “Customers expect the same intuitive and streamlined experience from their insurance carrier’s website as they do from their favorite app, search engine or online retailer.”

    By fostering an innovative and agile culture, recruiting creative talent, implementing next-generation technology and commanding key data, carriers can reach more consumers where and how they want to be served. While some consumers are comfortable researching life insurance options themselves, LIMRA reports that more than half still want to buy in person. Many want to work with a trusted advisor who already understands their unique needs, so carriers need to offer guidance and online training for financial professionals to support them in educating their clients about the life-long value of life insurance. The same digital resources can also be helpful for consumers doing their own research.

    Digital advancements can improve our interactions with consumers at various “touch points.” Consider, for example, that our customers could spend months researching and purchasing a policy. Outside of buying a home, purchasing life insurance is an anomaly in that regard. Given the important role that our products play in protecting Americans’ retirement savings, we need to make it easier to get coverage — and digital can help.

    Consumer demand for a personalized experience and faster service has driven a shift to cloud-based data storage. In a cloud-based model, information is collected and housed in one central location, giving carriers a holistic view of their customer in real time. This shift from linear to exponential data aggregation allows insurers to make new business and underwriting decisions more quickly. The result is a faster and more convenient customer experience with numerous benefits, including less invasive testing, a shorter application and reduced wait time for customers. 

    Advancements in technology enables customer centric cross-selling opportunities. Remember: our customer doesn’t see us the way we see ourselves. They don’t view their 401(k) and life insurance policy as two products serviced through different businesses, processes and systems. They want a financial services company that provides a wide range of products as part of one holistic retirement strategy.

    The companies that are open to new ways of working are the ones that will survive and thrive in the digital age. By transforming our operations to match our digital capabilities, we can help Americans take an important and necessary step toward protecting their financial future. Instead of aspiring to outpace the competition, we need to set our sights higher and change the game entirely. 

    Originally Posted at LinkedIn on September 6, 2016 by Joe Miranda.

    Categories: Industry Articles
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