As consumers increasingly turn to the Web to purchase insurance, carriers need to ensure the responsiveness of their portals, a new study finds.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for OpTier, a New York-based provider of business transaction management (BTM) for the enterprise, found that 83% of Americans are likely to resolve any issues they experience in purchasing or processing an insurance claim online by reaching for the phone. The study found consumers with a college degree (89%), a household income of $50,000 or more (86%), and those who are married (86%) are most likely to abandon the computer to resolve an issue experienced online.
With the time of customer service representatives a finite resource, online customers moving to other channels can be an expensive proposition for insurance companies. Indeed, a February 2010 report from Forrester Research Inc. titled "Increasing Online Insurance Self-Service Adoption," estimates that "for every 20,000 calls deflected to online self-service, a carrier could realize $100,000 to $200,000 in potential cost savings."
Moreover, the survey states that insurance companies that participate in comparison-shopping sites face the greatest pressure to deliver estimates in just a few seconds, as glitches in site performance add up to lost revenue.
Demographics also plays a role, as people aged 18-34 are 10 percentage points more likely than older consumers to have already purchased or plan to purchase or research health insurance online (25 % vs. 15 %, respectively). As this segment of the population ages, it is possible insurers can expect more consumers turning to the Web to compare and buy health insurance, the survey states.
"Insurance companies today need to be sure that their online operations can perform at peak levels without degradation in service to keep pace with needs of their customers while keeping costs down," said Motti Tal, EVP of product, marketing and business development at OpTier. “OpTier BTM monitors consumer transactions through the entire IT infrastructure and pinpoints and alerts staff to problems in real time so issues can be resolved before they negatively impact the end-user experience."
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