It’s become pretty clear that digital consumerism holds certain sway when it comes to insurers’ investments. This is largely the result of insurers’ recognition that the customer wants the same type of experience from their insurance provider that they already enjoy with their bank, retailer, or favorite airline. And they are already getting that type of experience from the major tier one P&C carriers.

And, there’s no doubt that there are a multitude of opportunities for insurers to differentiate themselves by improving the customer experience, chief among them using the mobile channel.

“For carriers with the resolve to see their business through the eyes of the customer, each interaction becomes a way to live up to their brand promise; functions come together in new ways across customer journeys; and technology and digital become accelerators,” note the authors of “The growth engine: Superior customer experience in insurance,” released by McKinsey.

In fact, there is heavy pressure on insurers to embrace digital/mobile technologies to improve policyholder interactions by making it as easy as possible for customers to function within an insurer’s mobile app, whether to add coverage, pay a bill or report a claim.

But are insurers really making it as easy as possible? With every mobile strategy is a looming security challenge, and even with the strongest security policies and software in place, mobile devices can become plagued with viruses and malware. In the most basic example, consider customers operating on open Wi-Fi networks; insurers must address authentication in order to secure data sent to/from mobile applications, as well as data stored on the devices.

“According to our research, customers have to remember more than 14 passwords on average and increasingly complain about the inefficiency and complexity of the authentication experience. Yet, ironically, consumer perceptions of security have worsened. Digital security and privacy are eroding consumer trust online,” say the authors of “Is cybersecurity incompatible with digital convenience?,” McKinsey’s just released report. The result is that insurers are being forced to respond to the increased frequency and complexity of cyber threats by inadvertently putting higher security burdens on customers. As a result, says the report, the quality of the digital experience for customers has decreased dramatically.

So here’s the logic: Pressure to make it easy for customers to engage with insurers using mobile devices, combined with required security protocols that make it anything but easy, equals customers—already distrustful about security levels—having a poor experience.

The challenges associated with managing the security of notebooks, laptops and smart phones, which are the targets of theft (mainly for their valued data), as well as compromised user names and passwords, difficulties in certificate management, and problems with encryption performance are not going away any time soon.

This means that security must be a significant part of every insurer’s investment in the customer experience. And it must include whatever it takes to improve the digital security experience and enable their customers to operate in a trusted environment.

At a minimum it means including end-point protection to prevent a hacker from using a policyholder’s smart phone to ultimately access the insurer’s data, which is already part of many insurers’ security practices. But to ensure the customer’s ability to engage with their insurer in a trusted environment, it may soon mean investments in biometric logon, such as 3D facial or Iris recognition.

For those insurers shaking their heads at the cost/benefit aspects of this discussion, consider McKinsey’s claim that companies that successfully deliver a remarkable digital experience while also keeping customers’ data safe can see a potential 20 to 35 percent boost in customer-satisfaction scores.

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