Customer Centricity is Accelerating at a Faster Pace
Prior to the COVID pandemic, Mutual Insurance carriers had roadmaps in place to address the ease of doing business for their agents and had plans to invest in their digital capabilities during the next few years. Now, six months later, they may be forced to re-evaluate their priorities due to the impact COVID has had on consumer behaviors.
During the pandemic, business operations and accessibility have changed, and consumers have become accustomed to instant or near-instant responses across many segments of their lives. Doctor appointments are virtual, curbside pick-up is ready in under an hour, pharmacies are offering drive-thru pickups, and personal shoppers are running errands and delivering goods right to your door.
Agents will be no different – they will increase their demands in straight-through processing.
In response to consumers’ growing demands for improved ease of doing business, agents will require quicker, easier, and more streamlined interactions with underwriters in order to close deals. They will look for the easiest solution that meets their customers’ needs and will swiftly move onto the next new business opportunity. Agents will begin shifting their budgets to innovative marketing techniques since traditional methods may no longer be as effective. They will be looking for ways to do more with less staff by leveraging the Carriers’ investments in technology and ease of doing business.
What does this mean for Carriers?
Carriers need to quickly identify how to improve the ease of doing business for agents and more appropriately align the speed of the quoting/issuing process with risk complexity. This will drive more authority to their agents, opening up parts of the Carriers’ books that had only been written previously with an underwriter’s review. This is a delicate balance, which can be costly in a deterioration of loss-ratio points if not executed with the right data, analytics, and business expertise.
In order to increase straight-through processing for agents while maintaining underwriting discipline and profitability, successful Carriers will need to do the following:
- Portfolio Manage Books – Review books of business and understand key drivers of combined ratios over time, as well as new business quote and hit ratio metrics.
- Maximize Pricing Segmentation – Review their existing pricing models and compare them to key competitors to understand their rank in the marketplace for specific types of risks.
- Demonstrate Technology Agility – Ensure that everything they build and deliver to market is modular and flexible to change in the future so that re-usability and speed to market can be optimized.
- Monitor and Adjust Frequently – Diligently monitor their market position for key segments and profile mix in order to stay ahead of the curve and quickly adjust either product, pricing, or technology as issues arise.
Customer centricity has created rapid re-prioritization of capabilities, leaving many industries, including the Mutual industry, trying to determine how to effectively address needs at a faster pace. National carriers have been working on homegrown analytics in this arena for several years and will continue to invest heavily. Mutual Insurance carriers that embrace analytics and use them in conjunction with deep business experience will be able to apply the right business solutions to these problems and will continue to compete and win in the marketplace.
The pace of change in agents’ expectations of carrier capabilities has accelerated, and we do not expect it to slow down anytime soon.