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Why digital insurance completely depends on the communications

The industry and customers are in agreement. It’s better to purchase, manage, claim and renew insurance with the least amount of human interaction possible. Less customer effort means increased customer satisfaction.

The term digital insurance has come to encompass this movement towards non-human interaction. Interpreted literally, it means any web-based purchasing and servicing of an insurance product. But the industry has quite rightly re-defined the term to any automated process relating to the purchase or service of an insurance product.

And when it comes to customer communications, that’s a critical distinction. Because there are many instances where web-based communication – think email and app notifications – won’t get it done.

Here are three examples of digital insurance, where customer communications should be automated but not web-based:


Customer journey #1: Travel insurance follow up confirmations.

  • Ideal experience: A text to customer on date of departure containing policy number, details, and a contact number.
  • Why it’s great: Despite being advised to bring a copy of their travel insurance policy with them, most customers fall into the ‘worry about it later’ category. Customers love this proactive approach where the policy details are sent direct to their pocket right when they need it.
  • Why it shouldn’t be web-based: Travellers are significantly less likely to have web access during their travels. This includes while in transit, in the air and while overseas.  While it’s true that Wi-Fi hotspots are more and more prevalent, the cost of mobile data roaming and Wi-Fi security concerns still restrict web access for many.


Customer journey #2: Account recovery (password resets, change of mobile number)

  • Ideal experience: Fully automated inbound phone call, where a customer phones in for 3-factor identification based on account ID, SMS passcode and voice biometric authentication (“my voice is my password”).
  • Why it’s great: A fully automated customer journey that provides the most comprehensive authentication possible, through multiple channels, all without human interaction.
  • Why it shouldn’t be web-based: Having customers change their online login or mobile number via the online customer service portal is simply not acceptable from a risk perspective.  If someone has their online password they can assume total control of the account and all its details.


Customer journey #3: Automotive insurance purchase confirmations

  • Ideal experience: SMS confirmation of new policy is sent via SMS with policy details.
  • Why it’s great: Many used car purchases are impulsive or somewhat unplanned.  Sometimes it’s an auction purchase, other times a spur-of-the-moment decision made when driving past a car yard.  Either way customers need real time confirmation that their investment is covered for the drive home. And what better way to provide that than with SMS? It allows relevant information to be delivered quickly to customers, even if they are on the move.
  • Why it shouldn’t be web-based: Customers always call up to purchase car insurance when they are out on the road. It only makes sense to stay in this communication channel when sending a confirmation. An email is less tangible, probably won’t get read until later, and just won’t provide the same peace-of-mind.


Why communication can’t be an afterthought

As the insurance industry continues to embrace digital insurance, the big winners will be the providers that pay attention to the execution of the communication elements. Those that expand their automated communications beyond web-based channels will benefit most. SMS and voice offer automation too, but bring with them better message delivery rates, cut through with customers, and security.    


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