How insurers can remotely build new customer relationships

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Are your agents working more than usual to help your customers with their queries?   

Is the data they need available to them quickly? 

Are your customers happy with your services? 

Insurers have been facing pressing questions like these ever since the pandemic hit. COVID 19 has impacted how most insurers work, forcing them to think beyond traditional models of in-person meetings and paper forms. Insurers have been forced to look at a different way to deliver their services. They’ve had to find other ways to help their customers, address their policy-related queries, handle requests for policy renewals, claim submissions, and more.  

For agents unfamiliar with the online model, COVID 19 has put them in a situation beyond what they could’ve imagined. They’ve had to move to virtual meetings quickly, send forms to their customers digitally, make sales in a challenging environment, and monitor claims updates without historical data. As paper forms and offline documentation have been their primary data management method, not having access to these documents in their remote environments has put a lot of pressure on insurers and agents. There’s been increased difficulty in addressing issues in time, lessening customer satisfaction and retention. 

Results of a May 2020 survey of US insurance agents confirm the premise. It was found that almost 50% of agents said remotely building customer relationships was one of the biggest challenges they’ve had to face during COVID 19.  

Here, insurers are forced to think beyond their offline systems and models. When paper forms and the offline world are out of reach, how can insurers still help their customers get their claims, pay their premiums, and review their policy documents and more? Insurers must re-evaluate how they deliver their offerings, enable themselves and their agents to do their jobs, and improve customer relationships.  

Two factors they need to consider are customer relationship management and digitally enabling agents.  

How insurers can build customer relationships 

A majority of insurance distribution across geographic locations is a result of traditional in-person practices. The number of transactions via these channels has changed during the past decades after some customers preferred online models, but most services remain offline for most insurance lines.  

However, this has changed, and it’s been having a dramatic impact on customer expectations of insurance delivery. 

Adopting digital tools

 Agents who used to work mostly offline are recalibrating their services to meet the new digital demand and provide uninterrupted services to their clients. They are also thinking along the lines of acquiring new customers, as most customers they know had come to them offline. A Mckinsey survey outlines the dramatic shift in how meetings were held. In January 2020, around 90% of conversations happened in person, while in May 2020, that number dramatically went down to below 5%. COVID 19 has forced customers, agents, insurers to adopt online digital systems.  

Nuvento’s agency portal and digital wallet frameworks were built to help agents and customers get all the policy-related information they need on their own devices.  

The Agent Portal enables agents to conduct their business faster and easier. It gives agents quick access to insured policy, billing, claims information, performance against sales targets, and performance improvement information. Agents can manage policies, their commissions, sales, billing, and more on one single portal. The Digital Wallet enables customers to get quick and easy access to all their claims related information like renewal information, coverage information, and more. The platform also supports self-service capabilities to help customers get more done in the convenience of their homes.   

Self-service capabilities

 It is simply not enough that services go digital. Customers should find them convenient and easy to use.  

Using digital platforms with self-service capabilities is a great way to start. Self-service capabilities enable users to carry out specific actions on their own without relying on others. Responding quickly to queries with chatbots, allowing the customers to pay their claims on the portal, enabling agents to find answers to the questions on their own are examples of self-service capabilities.  

Gradually shifting offline processes to an online one

Currently, agents and customers are looking at how they can work around the procedures that were mandatorily done in-person, such as obtaining a signature. Insurers must invest in secure digital alternatives to meet this challenge and be prepared for the new normal of insurance.  

The coming months will be a crucial period for insurers. They’ll have to focus efforts on getting started on their digital journey with digital insurance accelerators, rather than waiting for perfection with a complete overhaul of their services. The ideal approach would be to focus on quick steps to scale and adopt digital accelerators to keep their operations going.  

These changes would help them and their customers move together in the digital journey, making adoption for both easy, building a stronger relationship.