Many insurers currently don’t offer self-service Websites to support customers, but that will change by the end of 2013, according to the phase 1 results of iPipline’s “Surveying Customer Servicing in Life Insurance: Insights into carriers’ operational tasks, priorities and technologies.”

According to iPipeline, 84 percent of the 25 major North American insurers surveyed say improving the customer experience is top priority, outranking call volume reduction and operational/back-office cost cutting. However, 96 percent said they are required to demonstrate cost savings in order to receive approval for technology expenditures to improve customer experience.

The research documents the challenges facing life insurance customer-service organizations, and offers insights into the operational tasks, priorities and technologies used to support policyholder services. Each response was gathered in a 30-minute live interview.

Highlighted results:

Carriers receive one phone call for every two in force policies or contracts annually.

60 percent of phone calls come from customers, 40 percent from agents calling on behalf of customers on average. Multi‐line P&C carriers received a higher percentage of agent calls. Life/annuity carriers received a little higher percent of direct customer calls.

Of carriers with a self‐service portal, only 7.8 percent of customers, on average, have registered. One carrier’s annuity division had 20 percent; only two other carriers were above 10 percent for site registration/adoption.

Respondents included 15 life/annuity, six multi-line P&C and four life/health companies, and iPipeline interviewed a range of carriers, including those with fewer than 250,000; 250,000-to-600,000; and more than 600,000 in-force policies.

The report presents the costs associated with common policy change requests, statistics on self-service website usage, the average number of service requests made per policy, call center insights and a comprehensive opinion poll on customer servicing, the company says.

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