It’s been said many times before that the only constant is change. There are new companies and business models continuously challenging the status quo. Some examples are Amazon, Netflix, Zipcar and most recently, Uber. These businesses created a market and quickly delivered capabilities people didn’t know they needed or valued. As we see the digitization, democratization and adoption of new products and services, we need to think about how our industry needs to evolve to keep up.
We can’t limit ourselves to just leveraging websites and apps; we must redefine the relationship we have with our customers. As consumers bring new technologies and capabilities into their lives, we need to be on their journey with them. Whether it’s their agent answering a question, providing electronic proof of insurance, paying a bill via an interactive voice response system or as advanced as settling a claim with photos, our customers have an expectation that we’re going to be there when, where and how they choose.
We need to look at new and impactful ways to be there for our customers, not only in times of need but in times where we can help build peace of mind. In a recent example, we at Allstate launched a program for our customers with teen drivers that teaches them safe driving skills. Car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens. This program, called Star Driver, puts new technology into the hands of teens to help them learn safe driving habits through a smartphone app that offers feedback on trips, updates progress toward driving goals and rewards good driving with points and badges. Most importantly, it facilitates a dialogue between the teens and their parents about how they’re driving.
Parents can “virtually” be in the car with their teens when they drive and can discuss their performance periodically to reinforce safe driving skills. Teens can earn trust with their parents by showing, via the app, they are driving safely and responsibly.
This is just one example of how we want to redefine the ways we help our customers and their families using modern tools to empower them to build habits and skills that will last a lifetime.
Just a few years ago, achieving this would have been difficult at best. As the advancement of smartphones, mobile connectivity, Internet services, automobiles and other tools continue to accelerate, we have an unprecedented opportunity ahead of us. I am looking forward to what the next 18 months will bring—and maybe a smart watch too.
Kevin Rice is Allstate's director of mobile, Internet and social technology.
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