We use cookies to improve this site and enable full functionality. You can change your cookie settings at any time using your browser. Our cookie policy.

How has COVID-19 impacted the expectations of customers in the insurance sector?

How has COVID-19 impacted the expectations of customers in the insurance sector? | Insurance Business

How has COVID-19 impacted the expectations of customers in the insurance sector?

How insurtech is transforming the insurance sector is the billion-pound question - quite literally so according to report from Willis Towers Watson, which found that funding commitments to the sector reached over £5 billion in 2019. According to Martyn Mathews (pictured above), the senior director of personal lines, insurance, at Lexis Nexis Risk Solutions (UK and Ireland), the insurance industry has always tried to be at the forefront of new technology wherever possible, an aim which is serving it well during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: The UK Insurtech Special Report

Like much of the industry, Lexis Nexis Risk Solutions spends a lot of time working with and listening to its customers, Mathews noted. From reports to original research, providing insight to customers and partners is hugely valuable, both to help canvass the opinions of the wider market and also to discern the most pressing issues facing organisations as they look to the future.

“We have found that this helps us bring services and products to the market and that it actually helps drive the market in a certain direction,” he said. “For example, we did a lot of work around whether customers would be willing to share their data in return for some tangible benefits in insurance and the answer was overwhelmingly ‘yes’. This was a really good example of where canvassing the opinion of the end consumer is helping to drive the market forward.”

This is more relevant than ever during the uncertain times precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, Mathews said, and companies throughout the insurance sector must be listening to their customers and partners to make sure that they are in tune with customer expectations. The key questions these businesses should be asking as they face an uncertain 12 months ahead are how to make the buying experience better for their customers, and how to retain those customers who are most essential to long-term success.

“It is absolutely critical for all our clients in the insurance space, but for brokers in particular, to work incredibly hard to make sure that they’re offering the service that their customer expects but also the service that helps them retain that customer for longer periods as well,” he said. “Brokers will always be looking for the latest technology to make sure that they can place the risk appropriately but also looking for the opportunity to make sure that they fully understand their customers so that they can cross-sell their other products.”

Across the board, Mathews has seen his clients across the insurance industry re-examine how they communicate with the organisations that they work with, and also how this inevitably feeds through to customer interaction as well. Customers will likely expect a different level of communication now that technology has become their norm, but convenience has always been something that consumers crave. Technology will be able to enable that kind of convenience and it is incumbent on insurance companies to make sure that they offer these kinds of services.

For Lexis Nexis Risk Solutions, the drive has always been to facilitate an open channel of communication between insurers and their customers through its operationalisation of data. Insurers do strive to treat customers fairly, Mathews said, but there are always ways in which transparency can be improved. How the data that comes directly from a vehicle can be used to understand a customer’s driving habits, and how this practical data-driven feedback can influence an individual’s driving score and thus their premium, is a great example of how data can be used to evolve this transparency.

Read more: LexisNexis team on disrupting the vehicle build dataset

Consumers are continually looking at more innovative ways to operate and to run their lives, and insurance is a part of this, Mathews said. In turn, insurers are continually striving to create a better relationship with their customers by finding more reasons to engage with them and the likelihood is that this will only increase due to the impact of COVID-19.

The pandemic has emphasised that situations can change so quickly, and often when you least expect them to, Mathews said. The insurance industry may have thought it was headed for a period of relative stability this year, but everything has changed so significantly, and things may never look the same again.

“Those organisations that can adapt to such circumstances, whatever those circumstances are, will survive and thrive,” he said. “And, from a business sense only, it has been fascinating to watch this unfold. The whole idea of change and adaptability has been brought to the fore in a way that I don’t think anyone could necessarily have guessed. And that really comes down to how you service your customers at all parts of the lifecycle, from how you acquire, to new customers, but also to how you adapt to serve them during these periods of change as well.

“It will be fascinating to see where we are in another 12 months. There’s lots more change to come, I’m sure. And if I could sum up the lasting legacy of this, I think it would be the change in the speed of change that’s possible.”

To read more insights from Mathews, and to learn more on how brokers can capitalise on insurtech to boost their businesses, download the completely free UK Insurtech Report now.