Comarch’s Latest Study Reveals Why It Is Critical for Insurers to be Digital Firstby Fintech News Singapore April 8, 2022
Changes in customer behavior are causing a fundamental shift in the insurance business. Consumers are embracing digital channels and online tools which are now becoming critical not only to ensure that existing customers get the experience they want but also to attract new customers.
These are the findings of a survey of 500+ consumers conducted in 2020 by software house and systems integrator Comarch for the “How Insurers Can Build Better Relationships With Their Customers” report.
The research which sought to understand the evolving relationship between insurance companies and their clients, found that policyholders have turned to the online world with digital tools now becoming the main, if not the only, touchpoints between the insurer and its client.
The survey found that the policyholders with access to customer portals were the most satisfied with their insurance providers.
Out of policyholders with access to online accounts, 68% indicated being active users of the accounts, and approximately one in four of the insured respondents said they actively use their online accounts.
Usage rate of online accounts was found to be the highest for respondents aged 25-39, showcasing millennials’ clear preferences for digital experiences and platforms.
In tandem, results show that the role of call centers continued to diminish throughout the years. Across all age groups, both among men and women, purchasing policy through a call center was found to be equally unpopular. This implies that policyholders are becoming independent and now prefer to buy their insurance online, all by themselves.
With a majority of policyholders (64%) stating that they have access to online channels, findings suggest that insurers have realised the need to invest in digital channels and interactions to differentiate themselves from competitors and boost customer loyalty.
However, results also show that many insurers have not sufficiently promoted their digital tools or made their clients aware of them, with 20% of respondents stating that they did not know whether or not they had access to an online account.
Policyholders were also asked about the areas they believed needed improvement. Two main areas stood out; the first one relating to policy coverage, online client tools and client communication, and the second one relating to COVID-19 coverage as part of the existing insurance policies.
These results show that customers are looking for simplified insurance experiences, notably when it comes to policy purchases and claims. 14% of respondents said their insurance provider should put more effort into making the processes easier, and 11% said they should invest more in online customer service tools.
The findings also indicate a gap in protection for pandemic-related risks and show that policyholders are still feeling heightened concern about both their personal and financial health.
Results from the Comarch survey are consistent with other research conducted around the world. A Swiss Re study conducted in 2021 polled 7,000 respondents in Asia Pacific and found that COVID-19 has pushed consumers towards digital channels, with the momentum expected to continue building in the future.
In H2 2022, just as many people bought insurance online (39%) as those who used an agent or broker (38%). These results suggest that consumers are now gravitating towards digital channels, with one in two respondents indicating that they were more likely to buy via online platforms than any other channels.
Since the start of the pandemic, one third of respondents on average across the region indicated having used some sort of digital platform or app to manage their health. Online management of an insurance policy (67%), online research of new/additional policy (61%) and usage of health and wellness apps (66%) were found to be the top three digital touchpoints.
Download Comarch’s How Insurers Can Build Better Relationships With Their Customers report here.