Following attendance of the Protection Review 2017 Conference, we spoke to Insurance Analyst Danielle Cripps about the key messages from speakers of the day.
“Protection products are essential”: this is the overarching message that the protection industry sought to convey at the Protection Review 2017 Conference.
Insurers are often perceived as being detached and unemotional; however, what they seek to protect is highly emotional. The campaign ‘7 Families,’ which was designed to highlight how vulnerable people can be when illness or injury strikes unexpectedly, demonstrated this. Likewise speakers at the conference were full of anecdotes about families they have helped through the provision of their products.
Providers wish to narrow the protection gap. To educate and highlight the need for protection products is vital. There was also a call for help from the government in making protection mandatory when taking out mortgages.
The government has assisted pension saving through auto-enrolment, and opt-out rates have been lower than expected. This proactive step to encourage pension saving is thought to have been well received among consumers, being something they were aware they should be doing in their own interests.
Moving forward, the protection industry wants to make getting protection simpler. Proposed strategies in doing this include:
Removing policy jargon to improve communication and customer understanding – Traditional insurance policy documents and websites are wordy, unengaging, and overly technical. Start-up companies are simplifying the language used and are engaging with consumers as equals. Start-ups, like customers, are also industry outsiders and are coming in to try and fix industry problems. Traditional protection providers need to review their customer experience to remain competitive.
Improving the distribution of protection products – Digital channels are forecast to grow for the protection market, such as buying directly or through an aggregator. Solutions such as robo-advice will also grow for protection products and improve access to advice.
Streamlining the claims process – Claims are where protection products are tested for their worth. Providers must acknowledge that customers are going through a tough time when they are making a claim, and should make the claims process as easy as possible. There needs to be streamlining between different customer communication channels, such as phone and email when making or tracking a claim. If underwriting can be automated, so can the claims process. Providers should challenge and question current processes and not stick to them purely because that is the status quo. There is also a greater capacity for providers to practically help customers, such as offering rehabilitation services for critical illness instead of just financially compensating.
Ultimately providers must focus on the whole customer experience going forward, and keep consumers at the heart of their product and service design.
By Danielle Cripps, General Insurance Analyst