How digital tech can increase customer touchpoints

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Insurers that are looking to connected devices like telematics and wearable technology to increase their touchpoints with customers are on the right track. That’s according to Celent’s recent survey of more than 500 U.S. consumers, “Got Data? Gauging U.S. consumer willingness to use smart technology and share private data.”

Celent analyst Mohammad Mahfuz, who authored the survey, says that distinct customer segments are emerging based on their willingness to use digital tools to conduct business. The survey asked respondents to note how many digital tasks they perform from a list of 14. That list included a wide range of tasks, from buying clothes online, to using online chat with customer service representatives, to pairing Bluetooth devices.

Overall, 57% of consumers fell into the “digital norm” or “digital savvy” category, indicating that they performed six or more of the tasks regularly. It’s those consumers, Mahfuz says, who insurers need to reach with value propositions for using connected devices.

“Insurers need to determine which of their customers are already in the digital space well enough that they would want even more from it,” he says. And although Celent did also compare these categories with traditional age, income, or household demographics, “there are 50-year-olds who are super into this stuff,” Mahfuz says.

For example, 86% of “digital savvy” and 65% of “digital norm” consumers are willing to share driving data such as that collected through telematics. Only 54% of “digital followers,” the remainder group were. Similarly, 71% of the digital norm group and 82% of the digital savvy group were willing to let insurers have access to smart smoke-detector devices, compared to 57% of the digital followers.

But digital comfort isn’t a skeleton key that unlocks all data for insurers. Across segments, customers indicated discomfort with data that tracked their actual location. For example, there was about a 30% gap in the amount of “norm” or “savvy” consumers that would share generic “health data” with insurers and those that would share “exercise data.”

“I think it gets to the ‘creep’ factor a little bit,” Mahfuz says. “If it’s too closely tied to location, they don’t want [insurers] to know where they been.”

For now, the best thing insurers can do to find those digitally ready consumers is to refine many of their existing programs in the marketplace. Mahfuz says that policyholders, in many cases, aren’t aware of several programs insurers have that allow them to get discounts or other perks for sharing certain data.

“More than 82% of people in the digital-savvy realm prefer to use smart tech, but then there’s still a large percentage who don’t even know if their insurers have the ability to use it,” he says. “Insurers should also make their offerings a little simpler if possible, because many didn’t feel comfortable using them if they found them.”

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