Geoffrey Insurance introduces new video technology in UK first

Kent insurer signs up with tech provider to become first UK business to use new interactive platform

Motor & Fleet

By Andy Phelan

Customers of Whitstable-based Geoffrey Insurance will be in the vanguard of change when the company introduces its new virtual video presenter.

Geoffrey, which rebranded from Chaucer Direct last month, has teamed up with US-based technology firm Pitney Bowes to become the first UK business to use the EngageOne video system, which it says will offer customers a customised journey, produced in real-time, that will explain their policy and offer information on relevant products and services.

Paul Baxter, Geoffrey’s head of direct, told Insurance Business the innovation came out of a recognition the company could do more to engage its customers and increase loyalty. He said: “When a customer goes online most of them go through a price comparison site – they click through to our website and put their payment details in then they go through the year and the vast majority don’t ever claim or change anything on their policy so they never speak to us. They come to their renewal, it’s all automatic, they still haven’t spoken to us – we’ve kept that customer for two years but have we done enough to really earn their loyalty?”

When Baxter found the Pitney Bowes product, he realised it could help his company tackle the issues they had identified. The challenge from then as bringing the deep personalisation the system promised to fruition – and that involved using an actor and a lot of customer data.

Baxter explained: “We send a video at two points – first when a customer buys a new policy, and when we send the renewal invitation out. What happens at those points is a little packet of data goes over to Pitney Bowes and they produce a personalised video for the customer – it uses their name, the make, model and registration of their car, how much their instalments are and when those payments will come out of their bank account. If they need to do anything like send us a document, it tells them about that, and it goes on to tell them about any policy upgrades they haven’t bought – we limit that to the two most relevant ones for them.

“We used an actor – our brief to the video agency was that he should be the kind of guy you wouldn’t mind having a chat with in the pub. We filmed him speaking the top 500 names from our database of existing customers which covers about 80% of first names, and we recorded pretty much all car makes in the UK - I think we have about 97% coverage. If it’s a name we don’t recognise it’s just ‘hi there’. There’s always a fall back and it doesn’t sound canned – the sentences aren’t pieced together, he recorded the complete sentence with the names in it.”

The software is in user testing this week and is scheduled to go live next week. It will be used initially only for the Geoffrey brand, but may be extended to the Zenith Insurance brand in the future – both brands are part of the Markerstudy Group, which also operates the Zenith Marque brand via its broker channel.

Baxter and his team have high hopes for the new technology, and will be tracking progress keenly. He said: “We have three or four metrics. Firstly, upsell on new policies – at any point a customer can click on a policy upgrade and we’ll tell them how much it will cost and the benefits of it. We’re also hoping renewal retention will improve because when a lot of people get their renewal through, they just look at the price, but this gives us the opportunity to explain why we’re a good company to renew with. We’re also going to track our customer satisfaction metrics – we measure at new policy and renewal and we’ll be able to see if it’s changed, especially for customers who have bought on the web.”

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!