Best Practices

4 ways insurance companies can improve their digital experience

Published Dec 8, 2021

Forbes recently reported that 97% of executives have accelerated their digital transformation programs by an average of six years as more and more of daily life is conducted online. This is especially relevant for large insurance firms, who have had to rapidly implement digital solutions for claims management, customer service, and other transactions as their customers’ preferences have begun to lean heavily in favor of virtual options. 

Despite the known benefits of modernization, digital transformation projects can feel daunting. Replacing core technologies and updating processes consumes IT and operational resources, often takes years to fully implement, and can disrupt day-to-day business.

These transformation projects are often anchored around the implementation and rollout of new software that requires ongoing training and support for employees. As a result, forward-thinking leaders are turning to digital adoption solutions that allow them to deliver training content and measure adoption and compliance right inside their apps. This digital support layer helps de-risk implementation, ease the transition for employees, and make transformation programs more successful.

As insurers embrace digital transformation, here are four key areas to address first:

1. Retool and retrain customer support

Much of the acceleration in digital transformation initiatives has been driven by a drastic increase in consumer access to devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones, which allow them to complete tasks digitally, any time, anywhere. That’s led to historic demand for digital solutions for tasks that were formally completed in-person.

For insurers, this means rapidly retooling and retraining their customer support agents, solving for challenges like call routing and driving the adoption of digital billing services. Although cloud infrastructure and SaaS providers have made standing up new software faster than ever, helping employees adjust to new tools requires a thoughtful approach to training and support. Embedded FAQs, reminders, and in-app alerts can be powerful channels for busy employees, delivering the content they need in context and on-demand.

Many firms have also launched consumer mobile apps and self-service web portals to deflect high volume, low complexity requests. Employees benefit from having more time to help customers, and customers can resolve simple requests faster–but only if they’re able to learn and use the new channels.

Insurance providers should also leverage in-app alerts to educate customers on available self-serve options, and guide new users through the process. When users still contact live support through digital channels, teams can look at usage analytics to identify the most common tasks they were attempting. This data informs how teams prioritize adding new functionality, or identifies where in-app messaging is needed to raise awareness of existing, but underutilized capabilities.

2. Improve the employee experience to drive a better customer experience

Typically, customers don’t have much interaction with their insurer until they have a claim. Improving how adjusters handle those claims makes a big impact on the customer service experience–and firms should focus on speed, efficiency, and communication.

While modern claims management solutions exist for everything from adjudication to digital disbursements, rolling out and implementing these solutions often hinges on instructor-led training and traditional documentation. Especially now, as many organizations are operating remotely or in a hybrid format and adjusters are primarily field based, insurers need to consider new models to support adoption and training.

When managing and supporting distributed teams, firms should use in-app training to roll out new tools and onboard new team members. If workflows change or new procedures are added, you can update training content right in the application so it’s easily discoverable. And, with detailed usage analytics, teams are able to track the impact of training programs and highlight areas for improvement. In the end, customers will only experience the benefits from improved tools and systems if your employees are properly trained and enabled to use them effectively.

3. Create new touchpoints for customer value

Outside of claims, a customer might only interact with their insurer during purchasing and renewal. In a low-touch environment, providers need to identify ways to differentiate themselves other than cost. To bolster their customer relationships, insurance leaders are exploring how to add proactive value throughout the contract term, outside of transactional touchpoints.

Many firms are starting to offer content on preventative maintenance, security, and other value-added services. This helps encourage better behaviors in policyholders, which reduces the overall incidence of claims and positions the insurer as a trusted partner. But creating content is only useful if policyholders find it and consume it, which requires an effective distribution and communications strategy. Mobile apps are a low-friction channel to reach consumers with this content, and firms can use in-app and push notifications to raise awareness of their new content offerings.

4. Embrace new models for innovation

Many firms are starting to encourage and embrace a “Digital Factory” or innovation hub model. By establishing small, independently-funded groups, teams are able to decouple from the constraints of the larger organization and approach problems with an experimental, agile mindset. The innovation hub is commonly used for developing products and solutions for policyholders and audiences outside the firm, but can also be useful for designing internal processes and assessing the technology needed to support them.

Innovation teams should embrace service design principles, treating the agent or adjuster as the “customer” and incorporating techniques like user research and acceptance testing as new ideas are tested in the field. To measure success, focus on speed. In successful innovation hubs, teams are expected to deliver production-ready concepts in months, not years.

As concepts are field-tested, teams need to embrace an agile, iterative approach to address gaps. But agile processes can only move quickly when teams can also get data quickly to evaluate what is and isn’t working. Teams that are self-sufficient in collecting and analyzing usage data operate with speed, while teams dependent on shared services are at risk to stall out.