How outsourcing can support insurers through unprecedented change

Insurance has undergone huge challenges since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the industry had a reputation for being a little slow to adapt to change in the past, the last 18 months has seen years’ worth of progress – in terms of digitisation, product innovation, and on many other fronts – take place in a matter of months as insurers adapted to a rapidly evolving set of circumstances and customer requirements.

While lockdowns are easing and economies are beginning to emerge from the pandemic, the pace of change looks unlikely to relent – as such, insurance companies will have to continue developing too. Here are five of the most prominent trends shaping the industry in 2021 and what they could mean for insurers during the remainder of this year and well beyond:

  1. Keeping it simples

Aleksander Orlov sums up what many insurance customers want in one word: simples. According to a Deloitte survey of more than 8,000 people from the UK, US, China, Germany, and other markets, insurance customers favour products that are easy to understand, purchase, and use. Customers showed a particularly strong preference for product simplicity, providing insurers with food for thought on how they can simplify how customers view and interact with their products and brand, making the experience as straightforward as possible. 

  1. Let’s get ‘phygital’ 

The pandemic has seen more people adapt to the digital world, undertaking activities and buying products online that they normally would in person. But, it has also underlined the positives of in-person experiences in certain circumstances or at specific stages of a customer journey. Hence, the physical and digital are combined to create ‘phygital’, using the best of both worlds to enhance the buying process and customer service. Insurers are increasingly looking at how their many consumer touchpoints can be brought together to improve interactivity, enhance the overall customer experience, and drive trust. Our experience has shown that, while many companies are looking to move enquiries online, speaking to a customer care adviser for specific insurance requests can make a significant difference to customer satisfaction results.

  1. Supporting customers’ wider financial needs

Research from EY also points to a need for insurers to think about their customers’ finances more broadly. While insurers are transforming themselves and offering modern digital platforms with access to human and automated advisers, there are still concerns about customer choices from regulators – which will only have increased on the back of the pandemic’s impact on many people’s personal finances. Insurers have a role to play in helping customers to determine their financial needs and offer objective advice focussed on improving their overall financial wellbeing, which could see some of them venture into new service areas.

  1. Embracing technology

Customer needs have changed substantially over the past 18 months. Expectations of digital offers are becoming more demanding and new entrants to the market – largely in the form of insurtech firms – have shown what is possible in traditional markets. More insurers need to embrace the new tech that is becoming available, underpinning simplification, resilience, and better customer experiences. Data analytics, AI, robotics, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are just some of the disruptive forces defining what modern insurance is about. 

  1. Working remotely

We might all be talking about going back to the office after the summer, but in some industries’ cases it might not be a necessity. A McKinsey Global Institute report found insurance was among the top sectors suited to working remotely three or more days a week in the long term. According to its analysis, there is no productivity loss for three-quarters of the time spent on activities in the insurance industry when it is done from a location outside of the office. As we showed in the retail sector, customer service is one of the operations that is particularly suited to remote working through the use of technology. 

COMDATA’S PREMIUM SERVICE FOR INSURERS

These are just a handful of examples of the many trends and unprecedented level of change shaping the future of insurance. Nevertheless, they are placing a significant amount of pressure on insurers at an already challenging time. 

To help them focus on how they adapt their services, one option insurers should consider is outsourcing some of their services to specialist provides – and customer service could be a good starting point. Comdata has worked with some of the biggest names in global insurance, ranging from Aviva to Zurich in markets across the world.

We provide a broad range of services to match our clients’ needs, from providing front line inbound support in the form of new quotations and renewal management, to outbound renewal campaigns, customer satisfaction surveys, and up-selling extended warranties. We also provide a spectrum of back office support, including document check and validation for life insurance policies, settlement management for damages insurance, IT helpdesk support and training, along with contract document management and legal storage.  

In addition, Comdata has the flexibility to adjust our headcount at pace to meet our clients’ customer service needs. Some of the businesses we work with see volume spikes at short notice, particularly on the back of the pandemic and the constraints this has placed on companies in terms of office space. We can quickly hire and train advisers, specialising in acquiring the right staff at the right time and ensuring they are experts before they begin answering calls. 

We also have all the required compliance checks necessary to work in insurance and the wider financial services market, including ISO and PCI accreditation.

HELPING STONEBRIDGE ADAPT 

One of the insurance companies we have supported in the UK is Stonebridge International Insurance, part of Aegon Group. The business is a specialist in accident insurance and dedicated to developing and providing uncomplicated plans to protect its customers and their loved ones. 

Having to make fundamental changes to its customer service provision, Stonebridge required a partner with multi-lingual capabilities at scale in the UK, with the highest levels of quality. The company also needed assurances over the safe migration of customer records and an outsourcer with experience of managing TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) regulations.

WHAT WE ACHIEVED 

Comdata provided Stonebridge with:

  • Inbound customer care for 300,000 accounts, with quality assurance (QA) and complaint handling;
  • A new customer relationship management (CRM) and QA system;
  • Customer satisfaction monitoring surveys to track and utilise voice of the customer feedback for the first time;
  • 56 reconfigured processes to work with new tools and technology.

The results saw our partnership with Stonebridge nominated for the Outsourcing Partnership of the Year at the European Contact Centre & Customer Service Awards and we achieved:

  1. 95% customer satisfaction and net promoter score tracking at higher than 50 month on month
  2. 4,000 calls, 1,500 letters in five different languages each month, speaking to customers in English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian
  3. An average call quality score of 98.1%
  4. One million customer records safely migrated to our new system

In the wake of the pandemic, the only constant looks likely to be change. Insurers will have to continually adapt their services and focus on their core offering more than ever, all while managing costs and maintaining operational efficiency.

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