Having a comprehensive view of customers in a digital environment is essential to being differentiated from competitors. Kelly Preston, data analytics manager at SilverBridge, says insurers must prioritise this or risk becoming irrelevant.
“While it is not specific to insurance, gaining a 360-degree understanding of what the client needs has long been considered the Holy Grail for organisations in this sector. After all, this understanding will result in better tailored offerings that address specific customer requirements. Such a personalised approach has become vital in a connected world,” she says.
Of course, Preston argues, there is a difference between accessing customer data more comprehensively and knowing how to draw value from it in a meaningful way for the business.
With insurance often considered to be a grudge purchase, the organisation needs to utilise all the resources at its disposal to show the consumer the value of purchasing it. A complete view of the customer is not limited to better marketing and more unique products, it is something that fundamentally changes the approach of the insurer.
In a blog published a few years ago, Gartner argued that by 2022, the customer would be the one with complete insight into the business, and not the other way around. It wrote that the personal analytics environment would have evolved to such an extent that end users would be in control of the relationship between themselves and their service providers.
“In the past, and to some extent today, organisations feel they are able to manage their customers. This is especially the case when it comes to insurance, where people need to have the peace of mind that they are covered in the event of a loss. However, changes in this relationship have arrived much sooner than Gartner and many others could have predicted.”
People already have a much better understanding of what was once considered a complicated solution. Insurance is evolving into something that is much more democratised thanks to the emergence of insurtechs that are more nimble and open to change than many of the incumbents.
“This knowledge leads to a reduction in brand loyalty. In general, people do not value brand reputation and legacy as highly as they used to. The digital world is all about getting the solutions they want at effective prices, all whilst creating as little administration hassle as possible. Customers want to take ownership of as many of the elements in the insurance process as is reasonable. They do not want to phone or email to change policy details, they want to access a website or a mobile app where they can take care of it.”
In this different environment, insurers need to manage an explosion of data coming in to their back-end systems from a host of consumer devices and sources.
It is through being able to analyse and understand this influx of information, that an insurer can begin to get the understanding required for a complete customer view.
“Data and analytics are therefore not some nice-to-have components for an insurer — they are critical elements. Decision-makers need to embrace this changing environment and be open to getting insights faster than previously possible. The rate of digital transformation is only set to accelerate, especially in Africa, where there are so many opportunities. It is essential to get ahead of the curve and start implementing those tools necessary for a 360-degree customer view,” she concludes.