Insurers playing catch-up on digital engagement

Australian insurers have made inroads into digital engagement with customers in the motor sector but lag in other areas, according to a global survey by Ernst & Young.

“You can get quotes and buy car insurance online, so that’s relatively mature,” Performance Improvement Leader for Insurance Andrew Taggart told insurance

“But other categories such as life insurance and home and contents are less mature.”

Australian insurers must act fast to keep up with consumer expectations, especially younger ones, he says.

“In Australia, the increasing level of churn within both life and general insurance can’t be ignored.”

The industry is conservative by nature, with a history of “low customer touch”, he says. It must reject the mindset of talking to customers once a year at renewal time and once every seven years for claims.

The report says fast-growing mobile technology is under-exploited, with only 43% of insurers worldwide providing mobile quotes.

In neglecting such channels, insurers are turning their backs on the future, especially in a market such as Australia where mobile use is high, Mr Taggart says.

About 72% of insurers issue quotes online, according to the global survey of 100 companies in July.

But just 1% offer online rewards, discounts, apps or “live” website help; 27% expect to do so in future.

Nearly 80% of non-life insurers worldwide – against 66% in life – use Facebook to interact with customers and agents.

Insurers have a low presence on Twitter (42%), LinkedIn (35%) and YouTube (34%).

While Australian insurers use digital processes to reduce costs and drive efficiency, they are missing opportunities for richer customer engagement, Mr Taggart says. They should experiment with social media for marketing, big data and analytics.

One insurer that uses social media effectively is Youi, according to the report. It allows customers to post feedback and reviews – good or bad – on its Facebook page.

The survey finds 80% of insurers do not consider themselves digital leaders. Industries such as banking and telecoms provide higher levels of digital service, Mr Taggart says.

Repost of an article from Insurance News

Published 28th October 2013

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