Do Insurers Hate their Customers?

It is that time of year when universities begin their academic years around the world. Bright-eyed students leave home to go off into the big world without Mum & Dad. My third son Ben is embarking on this journey, and we have been preparing him for the new journey his brothers have travelled before him – his Mum gathering together all the things he needs and me setting up student bank accounts, getting a new laptop and arranging his insurance.

Coincidentally, this past week I also had a meeting with a P&C insurer to talk about implementing analytics and decisioning. He complained bitterly that unlike banking, telecoms and other industries, his business had only once a year interaction with their customers, unless there was a claim. “The chance for a dialogue when you could build long lasting relationships was just not there “– he moaned.

That set me thinking about what opportunities there are for an insurer who wins a brand new customer like Ben who they have the potential to keep for decades if they only developed a strong brand, based on relationship, value for money and a good service.

The average student tends to be a little naïve to the risks they face as an adult and this event provides a splendid opportunity for the insurer concerned to simultaneously help and advise their new customer, build brand loyalty and reduce the risk of claims by making them more aware of what could happen.

Of course, the starting point is giving good advice on the cover they will need. I take that as a prerequisite. But at virtually no cost, the insurer can commence a steady trickle of dialogue with their new insured starting with advice on how to maximise their security, both personal and property. Who better to show what really happens on the ground to people like them than the organisation who has to pick up the problem afterwards? What about making it personal and providing references to government crime statistics on thefts of property in their immediate vicinity, showing the types of property which is most often targeted? Knowing from my two oldest sons the experience of their contemporaries, phones and laptops are the usual target for opportunistic thieves and burglars in student dominated areas.

Regular reminders via email to keep windows and doors locked and valuables hidden away is always a good idea. Suggesting labelling high value goods with ultra violet marker pens, or registering them on police sponsored websites (e.g. Immobilise in the UK) are all chances to interact. Regular updates on what to do in the event of loss, advice and perhaps even specially negotiated deals for software available for tracking stolen goods, could all help to recover that laptop with all their course work and files on.

Email prompts to remind them to backup regularly and keep the backup somewhere safe away from their phone or laptop together with newsletters tailored to the things that interest students generally and that individual student specifically cost very little to do.

These are just a few things I have thought about over the space of a couple of days that insurers could do to build brand loyalty and help protect their customers. But they don’t do it – why?

"Do insurers not care, or is it just apathy?"

Is it really too hard? Do insurers not care, or is it just apathy? When all other industries are constructing their customer experience on maximising interaction and customer contact, particularly digitally, why is the insurance industry so far behind? Do they just not want to have to deal with the people who are paying their salaries?

Next year, when Ben’s renewal comes up, what loyalty will he have? You don’t remain loyal to a supplier who doesn’t care enough about you to even try to communicate.

Come on insurers, you can do better than this!



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