Industry disconnect between carrier and customer

Industry disconnect between carrier and customer | Insurance Business America

Industry disconnect between carrier and customer
The insurance industry has a fundamental disconnect between customer and carrier, says one insurtech exec.

Sofya Pogreb, chief operating officer at Next Insurance, a year-old small business insurance company headquartered in Palo Alto, California, says the industry needs to reconnect the buyers to the sellers.

“I think that the problem with the industry is a structural problem, and I believe that relates to the disconnect between the customer and the expert making the decisions,” Pogreb said. “What we see happening is the people that are making these decisions and have been making them for decades – very smart people, very experienced – never really come in touch with the end point, the customer.

“And the feedback that may be coming from the customer doesn’t really propagate, because the feedback hits the agent and the agent doesn’t talk to the underwriter or the product designer ever, in most cases. The agent has a different set of incentives, understandably.

“We think that, really, is the heart of the [industry] problem.”

Celebrate excellence in insurance. Nominate a worthy colleague for the Insurance Business Awards.

Next Insurance offers products targeted to small business niches like photography, janitors, and yoga instructors.

The answer to fix the disconnect between what customers want and what carriers offer could be as simple as communication, Pogreb says.

“I think [the solution] is by delivering to the customer the right coverage,” she said. “So that’s not: this is a small business, this is what you need. But rather: let me understand more about your needs and concerns, your business, and deliver to you something much more customized.”

And once the conversation between carriers and consumers takes place, with products then more accurately translating to desired outcomes, brokers could take on a different role, she notes.

“I would love to see agents leveraged for their expertise rather than as manual workers,” she said. “Today, in many cases, the agent is passing paperwork around. There are other ways to do that – let’s do that online, let’s do that in an automated way. And then where expertise is truly wanted by the customer, let’s make an agent available.”

Related stories:
When and why you should consider rebranding
5 key lessons from popular corporate branding