Slideshow Debunking 5 Myths Within the P&C Sector

  • September 04 2013, 12:04pm EDT
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1. The future is online

Indeed, the responses in the Americas region indicate that the migration to online exchanges, in terms of insurance, is moving at a glacial pace. And even then, customers want to maintain a channel with personal interactions. Twenty-three percent of customers in the Americas are currently using a range of online channels, including providers’ own websites and blogs, to research purchases. However, compared to other areas, the use of online channels is relatively low across the region. In Europe, 32 percent of consumers are already using online sources for research, and in Asia-Pacific, the mark stands at 39 percent. The Americas region also lags when it comes to the percentage of people purchasing insurance through online channels: Seven percent in the Americas versus 14 percent in both Europe and Asia-Pacific. Even within the Americas there is some discrepancy: Consumers in Latin America are on average 20 percent more likely to consider buying through an online site than their counterparts in the United States and Canada. The report suggests that because of the well established direct channels that already pervade the U.S. and Canada markets, newer, online channels aren’t being turned to as quickly. Perhaps this is why the report also emphasizes the fact that personal contact is still essential—especially when it comes to claims, as 50 percent in the Americas want personal contact throughout the claims process. As a result, the report advises insurers to integrate online and offline communication channels while adapting to customer expectations across multiple platforms.

2. It’s only about price

While price remains a key driver for purchasing decisions, younger consumers are increasingly concerned with the stability of a company’s brand (i.e. well-known, trustworthy), even if it comes at a premium cost. The third key driver overall was customer service.

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3. Good claims experience builds loyalty

Across the Americas, a bad claims experience doesn't mean a customer will leave (respondents were roughly split on whether they would consider leaving), and conversely, a good experience doesn't guarantee loyalty. As was mentioned in the previous slide, other factors are creeping up in importance as generations transition. However, there is substantial opportunity for improvement in claims services in Brazil. Within the Americas region, in the United States, 71 percent of consumers said they were satisfied with their claims experience, followed by Mexico (68 percent) and Canada (66 percent). But in Brazil, satisfaction stands at 31 percent, which indicates an opportunity for entrants to gain competitive advantage.

4. Customers don’t respond to cross-selling

The report found that customers actually prefer to buy multiple products from the same provider because “it just makes it simpler” (65 percent), it’s cheaper (51 percent) and they think it will lead to better service (36 percent).

5. Insurers can’t influence customer retention

Among P&C insurers, customer retention efforts—including the cost-to-serve of different customer segments and channels, and the predictive models that will enable insurers to effectively use that information—need to be more proactive, including targeted efforts and loyalty programs.