Acquire with retention in mind.

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1 White Paper A Driver of Long-Term Profitability for Personal Auto Carriers Acquire with retention in mind. Use data and analytics to help identify and attract prospects with the highest potential for long-term profitability. April 2015 Risk Solutions Insurance

2 Executive Summary Customer shopping is on the rise. A recent LexisNexis shopping study found that in the property and casualty (P&C) insurance industry, shopping continues to increase with over 30 percent of insured households estimated to have shopped their auto insurance at least once in Notably, that shopping rate is increasing across all age groups, with the greatest gains among customers aged 50 and older an age group that has traditionally been a carrier s most loyal. To effectively retain customers in this environment, carriers should employ proactive customer retention strategies and nurture the carrier-customer relationship through multiple touchpoints. By leveraging data, analytics and predictive models, carriers can uncover insights into their customers changing insurance needs. When supported by a clearly defined customer experience agenda and communications plan, these insights can enable a carrier to offer tailored advice, recommend appropriate products and strengthen the customer relationship before the customer even thinks about switching providers. LexisNexis recommends three steps on the road to an effective customer retention program: 1. ACQUIRE 2. DEVELOP with retention in mind 3. UNDERSTAND each customer s individual needs a customer experience agenda Small increases in retention can translate to large revenue growth, and reaping the benefits requires a long-term vision. Effective customer retention is not about the dollars a carrier can save today. Rather, it is about the lifetime value of a customer and the products they value and will buy in three, five, ten years and beyond that will allow a carrier to increase profitability. About the author Tim Hogan is Senior Director of Vertical Markets at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. He joined the organization in 2011 and is responsible for developing new acquisition, retention and claims solutions leveraging LexisNexis core data and analytic capabilities. Prior to joining LexisNexis, Tim spent eight years at GMAC Insurance where he held a variety of roles, including senior positions in marketing, product management, national agency management and direct agent sales. While there, he was responsible for various affinity programs, new pricing and underwriting initiatives and the reengineering of the customer onboarding process. Tim also spent 13 years with SBC Communications (now AT&T) in multiple product, marketing and operational roles. Tim earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. from Webster University. Tim and his wife, Kathy, live in Johns Creek, Georgia, with their four children. 2

3 Why is customer retention so important? Customer attrition is an expensive proposition. An industry average of 20 percent attrition costs carriers billions of dollars each year in lost premiums and profit. As the insurance market becomes more and more competitive, customer retention must be a priority for a carrier to thrive. In order to address customer attrition, it is necessary to discuss some of its drivers. The shopping and switching spree For the past two years, LexisNexis has conducted a semi-annual insurance shopping study based on the activity we see across the insurance market. Our latest results show that shopping continues to increase across all age groups, with the greatest increases occurring with customers aged 50 and older (Figure 1). Year-over-year change in shopping rate* 12% 10% 8% 6% 4% 2% <30 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8% 9% Insured household shop rate** Figure 1. Shopping continues to increase among all age groups, with the greatest increase among customers aged 50 and older. *Year-over-year change was calculated using the rolling 12 months ending June 2013 and June ** Insured household shop rate is calculated as the number of insureds shopping per month, divided by the number of insured households, for the rolling 12 months ending June Traditionally, older customers were thought of as the most stable group within a carrier s portfolio. However, shopping rates for customers aged 50+ are growing faster than in other age groups. This is likely due to increasing techsavviness and exposure to advertising. In addition, increased shopping may be reflective of lifecycle changes as these customers consider retirement, downsizing or moving. Mass marketing, the Internet and social media In today s highly competitive P&C market, carriers are vying for the same pool of customers and as a result, carriers now spend billions of dollars each year on advertising. Notably, the top 11 carriers spend over $5 billion on marketing and advertising annually 1, further fueling the shopping spree. This has particular consequences for regional and midsized carriers, whose customers are often the target of the large carrier advertising. 1 Leslie Scism and Erik Holm, Auto Insurers Chase Drivers With Big Ad Spending, Wall Street Journal, January 30, 2013, accessed December 5, 2014, 3

4 The Internet and social media channels exacerbate the issues. Rather than turn to a carrier or agent for advice, many customers now begin with online research. This may include the carrier s website, but also comparison sites and online reviews. Increasingly, it also includes social media, which allows positive and negative experiences to be reported and shared in real time. In general, these channels challenge a carrier s control over their brand and the customer experience. The cost of acquiring customers Acquiring a customer encompasses a host of carrier activities, from advertising and direct marketing, to onboarding and underwriting. In our experience, it can take up to four years to recoup the acquisition costs for a customer. What triggers customers to shop? All this begs the question: why do customers leave in the first place? Customer shopping is often driven by customer experience. Notably, poor customer service, such as poor claims experiences, or billing or system errors, can leave customers with a bad taste in their mouth and prompt them to look elsewhere. Premium increases and renewal notices must be approached carefully to avoid triggering a customer to shop. In addition, book rolls to another agent, or to another product by the carrier, can compel a customer to shop for a new insurance carrier. If a carrier has not been diligent in cultivating a strong customer relationship, communicating through multiple touchpoints and establishing a reputation as a trusted advisor, changes in customers lives may prompt them to consider a new insurance provider. In general, these cues and their consequences can be mitigated by the carrier. Other cues are more subtle and harder to manage. In particular, life event triggers are driven by customers and changes in their insurance needs. For example, customers may: Purchase a new car Experience changes in the number of drivers in the household Get married or divorced Retire or make other job changes Move to a new area Buy a house 4

5 A roadmap for improving customer retention One key to customer retention is to predict changes in a customer s life and insurance needs before they happen, and before the customer thinks of switching providers. Carriers can leverage data and analytics tools to gain greater insight into customer needs and when supported with a robust customer retention program, can minimize attrition and improve profitability. LexisNexis has developed a roadmap for improving customer retention: 1. Acquire with retention in mind 2. Develop a customer experience agenda 3. Understand each customer s individual needs 1. Acquire with retention in mind Effective customer retention begins with targeted acquisition. Carriers must understand their own capabilities, risk appetite and services, and acquire customers that they can serve well. The better a customer aligns with a carrier s profile, the greater the likelihood the customer will stay. To achieve this synergy, segmentation and predictive models are key. For example, solutions are available in the market that include: Lookalike models to help carriers understand the characteristics of their best customers, so they can attract similar prospects. Lifetime value models to help identify the potential long-term return of a prospect enabling a carrier to identify prospects with the greatest future potential for growth and loyalty. Prospect survival models to help predict whether a prospect will stay past the first renewal. In short, retention efforts should begin well before a customer is acquired. 2. Develop a customer experience agenda Having done the legwork to acquire a suitable customer, carriers should ensure they have a strategy for strengthening the relationship over time. Each customer touchpoint is an opportunity to nurture and extend value, and these touchpoints should be outlined in a customer-specific experience agenda/communication plan. Working together: Carriers and independent agents For carriers with an independent workforce, developing a customer agenda will likely involve agent input. Agents play a critical role in their customer relationships. To obtain buy-in, it is important to stress the outcome: retention materials and programs that provide exposure to both the agent and the carrier brand and strengthen the agentcustomer relationship. Carrier involvement doesn t end with the creation of a customer experience agenda. It is also important to help agents follow up with customers and follow the agenda. While agents have a direct line to customers, carriers should still make sure the right messages are in the marketplace. The customer experience agenda defines customer touchpoints, such as: Onboarding process. The onboarding process sets the tone for the carrier-customer relationship. For example, each customer might receive a welcome note with contact information in case of questions, or how to file a claim. These communications are separate from a carrier s requirement to deliver legal policy documents. 5

6 Annual reviews. Most customers are either unaware of or confused about coverage options, so annual reviews are an ideal opportunity for the carrier to stay in touch with each customer and offer risk management advice. Proactive annual reviews also help position the carriers as a strategic advisor, not just a service provider. Cross-selling opportunities. Based on their understanding of each customer, carriers can identify opportunities to cross-sell additional products, such as homeowner s coverage, umbrella policies, or boat and motorcycle coverage. Several carriers have reported that the existence of a second insured product in the household, such as home or motorcycle insurance in addition to auto insurance, increases the retention of those customers by six percent. Payment reminders. Payment and renewal notices can trigger customers to shop, so managing these communications well especially if they include a premium increase is critical to retaining customers. Opportunities for discounts or automatic payments. Discounts offer an obvious incentive for a customer to stay, particularly when they are based on tenure, and automatic payments help customers feel more closely linked to their carrier. Carriers should also ensure that they maintain continuity across all channels, synchronizing their market messages across websites, display advertising, social media, s and direct mail. 3. Understand each customer s individual needs The customer experience agenda outlines when and how a carrier will communicate with its customers, but does not address an individual customer s unique needs. To better understand their customers and identify these needs, carriers should supplement their internal data with external data sources and predictive models. For example, carriers can work with a data partner to: Tap into third-party data sources to gain insight on a customer s life changes. External data can help carriers identify customers whose insurance needs might change: for example, those who are shopping for new cars or a new home, or filing for bankruptcy. Armed with these insights, carriers and agents can proactively contact customers and advise them on ways to mitigate risk. Look to the growing area of telematics information to identify driving behavior. Telematics offers an ongoing customer touchpoint, and an opportunity for carriers to deliver real value and insight. Poor driving behavior can trigger a carrier to offer coaching to correct the behavior; on the other hand, good driving behavior could be cause for premium discounts. Use models to better determine the risk of a customer leaving. In addition to using third-party data to help predict customers changing insurance needs, carriers can leverage predictive models. Market solutions are available that can help carriers predict the risk of a customer leaving, so that carriers can take action before customers leave. With data, analytics and predictive models, carriers can better identify the customers with changing insurance needs, and mount a response. An effective response will address the customer s specific needs and in an ideal situation, will deliver a tailored message at the right time. In addition, market solutions can enable carriers to establish event triggers that deliver automatic messages at the right time. For example, a carrier could establish an event trigger when a customer applies for a car loan. In response, an automated process would send the customer a note outlining tips for buying a car, while reinforcing the value proposition and discounts the customer is already receiving. It would also include a reminder for customers to update their insurance policy within 30 days of a car purchase to ensure the new investment is covered. 6

7 Automation ensures that messages are delivered efficiently, effectively and through the appropriate channel. It can also support a more cooperative carrier-agent relationship, as carriers can direct customer retention efforts while still empowering agents to connect with customers. In addition, automation better assures carriers that they are providing a consistent experience that is legally compliant. Following each automated message, the carrier or agent should follow up with the customer to reinforce the 1:1 message and strengthen the relationship. Where to start: Focus on the most valuable, at-risk customers Most carriers will have a set of common messages that apply to all customers, such as an annual review or crossselling opportunities. But beyond a basic customer experience agenda, it will very likely be cost-prohibitive for a carrier to try to retain every single customer. Likelihood of customer switching carriers Less likely to switch More likely to switch High value Customer s probable lifetime value * Low value Prime contact group Figure 2. Carriers can focus their customer retention efforts on their most at-risk and high-value customers. * Assuming customer is retained. LexisNexis recommends that carriers focus their customer retention efforts on their most at-risk and high-value customers. Carriers can better identify these customers by combining two predictive models: one that helps predict the customer s lifetime value, and a second that helps predict the risk of the customer switching carriers. From there, carriers can design a communication plan to retain the customers that are more likely to provide the most value down the line. 7

8 Summary In today s competitive marketplace, customer retention should be a top priority for every insurance carrier trying to grow its book of business. The most successful carriers will be those that plan their customer retention efforts before acquisition, then build and maintain a strong relationship through a customer experience agenda and multiple touchpoints. By supplementing internal data with external third-party and public record data, carriers can gain actionable insights into a customer s changing insurance needs to proactively offer advice, products and services that meet those needs, before the customer begins shopping around. Predictive models and advanced analytics are also key to driving retention results. They help enable carriers to effectively segment and identify customers with lifetime value potential, and to consistently deliver tailored messages throughout that lifetime. The result of a proactive customer retention strategy: long-term profitability. For more information: Call or About LexisNexis Risk Solutions LexisNexis Risk Solutions ( is a leader in providing essential information that helps customers across all industries and government predict, assess and manage risk. Combining cutting-edge technology, unique data and advanced scoring analytics, we provide products and services that address evolving client needs in the risk sector while upholding the highest standards of security and privacy. LexisNexis Risk Solutions is part of Reed Elsevier, a leading publisher and information provider that serves customers in more than 100 countries with more than 30,000 employees worldwide. Our insurance solutions assist insurers with automating and improving the performance of critical workflow processes to reduce expenses, improve service and position customers for growth. LexisNexis and the Knowledge Burst logo are registered trademarks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used under license. Copyright 2015 LexisNexis. All rights reserved. NXR EN-US

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