5 TIPS ABOUT MULTICHANNEL FOR INSURANCE COMPANIES. Stanisław Piechowicz. General Manager. Rhythm Enterprise

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1 5 TIPS ABOUT MULTICHANNEL FOR INSURANCE COMPANIES Stanisław Piechowicz General Manager Rhythm Enterprise

2 In recent years, consumers have come to expect a wide range of choices in sales points they use to purchase products and services. The insurance industry, due to the complexity of its products, has been somewhat insulated from this trend. The structure of insurance sales shows that still the most important are insurance agents and brokers. But it may not be long before the industry faces a tipping point where the internet and other cutting-edge sales channels become leaders. Although new direct channels such as website still account for only a small portion of total insurance purchases, their share has increased sharply. Tip 1: Multichannel to Adopt a Different Approach to Young and Elderly Young consumers based on experiences they get from the internet and mobile services are interested in a mix of web channel, call canter, automated voice response, social media and high-touch consultative interactions with a consultant or virtual agent. The ability to provide them with a friendly and easy to use self-service in all of these channels is a major challenge for insurance companies. Ideally, all of these channels should be fully integrated to provide consumers with a seamless buying experience that aligns with their individual preferences. The expectations of young customers are growing very quickly. They want a better service. They require new customer touch points and access to policies and claims anytime and anywhere. On the other hand selling and servicing complex insurance products still requires face-to-face sales channel. In response to the aging of Europeans society insurers are focusing on offerings targeted at senior citizens (e.g., medical insurance, long-term care insurance, asset management), for whom the personal contact is the most important. Popularity of personal contact is also certified in Ernst and Young survey Voice of the customer Time

3 for Insurers to Rethink their Relationships. The finding of survey shows that it is particularly true when consumers are renewing, extending cover or making a claim. In Europe at least 50% of customers prefer personal contact, both at renewal, extending cover and making a claim. In some countries the share of customers who favour personal contact is even larger. In a part-online, part-offline world delivering convenience and value has become more complicated. Facing this challenge means integrating online and offline channels seamlessly to meet changing customer needs over your products life cycle. To summarize, Insurers should consider selling through low-cost channels targeted at younger consumers (websites, comparison sites offering the chance to compare quotes from a range of providers, insurance aggregators, etc.) and in the same time support sales tools for their value sales agents and brokers who are serving better with renewals of existing policies and with supporting senior citizens Tip 2: Multichannel urgently needed for complex insurance products Unlike car insurance and home insurance that are annually renewable, life insurance or pension plan requires deep consideration, long-term perspective and large premium payments. Many consumers apparently feel uneasy about completing the life and health insurance purchase process online and want to consult with an agent when applying for these products. This holds true even for young and active consumers that gather information themselves and prefer to use self-service.

4 Recognizing that life insurance is a complex, long-term product, many consumers apparently want to use the online channel, which is convenient for gathering information, in combination with a personal contact which is helpful for personalized consultation. Would your company benefit from meeting both: information and consultation needs? There is no doubt about it. But are you aware that when consumers decide they want personal interaction, whether face-to-face, by telephone or web chat, they want a prompt response? They do not want to waste their time due to insurer s own process inefficiencies or internal requirements. This implies that your company should use technology that is integrated across several sales channels, and is serving your agents/brokers and your customers as well. Imagine a scenario when consumer starts browsing your health insurance policies on ipad using rate and quote app which your company has implemented recently. Unfortunately the scope of high quality diagnosis and private medical treatment is not clear for him. Instead of abandoning the quote he can have a link to send to his agent. In an hour agent calls customer to explain the details and together they look at the very same quote customer in his notebook at work, agent in a CRM system. As the agent suggests that premium model of chosen policy will cover customer s health expenses better especially with regards to dentists and opticians bills customer decides to extend the quote. At the same time he notices that a discount for the online purchase (up to 10%) is given, so he requires switching reconfigured quote to web-shop. Finally, the customer satisfied with the value for money, makes the purchase online. This example shows significant opportunity to facilitate decision and increase sales thanks to sales channel blending - technology that ensures advanced cooperation between individual channels.

5 Tip 3: Strengthen Indirect Sales with Effective Multichannel It is worth to mention also that many insurers do not sell directly but still continue to rely on intermediaries. In almost all of the 19 EU countries for which exists detailed information on the relative importance of different insurance distribution types, insurance partners (brokers, banc assurance, car dealers, etc.) are very important group, in all cases accounting for more than 50% share of total insurance (life and non-life) sales. According to European Insurance in Figures Statistics N 46 prepared by Insurance Europe Federation banc assurance is the main distribution channel for life insurance products in many European countries. If you want to succeed with them remember that they will deliver on its promise only if they are accompanied by better service and operations. Other intermediaries also are watching for efficient and convenient channel to support their operation such as collecting information, access to the latest product information, contact with customers and insurance company, create quotes under multiple coverage scenarios, provide timely and accurate responses. Usually both insurance company and its partner are interested in efficient cross-selling particularly in exclusive distribution arrangements. It means that your company has to cope with the biggest challenge integration of direct and indirect channels. Very often they are separated from each other because your and partner s channels are based on different technology. In these circumstances managing inconsistent multichannel environment takes a lot of time, and costs a lot of money. Order dropout rate increases and additional validation hast to be done. Creating effective multichannel sales strategy allows starting selling in model that reduces the burden of administration and fulfilment work, so brokers

6 can spend more time to learn which product will appeal to consumer and focusing on providing advice, which is the most valuable. Tip 4: Use Multichannel to Assist Existing Customers Better Many companies invest in new sales channels in order to seek new customers. But abandoning current customers is a recipe for failure. The cost of obtaining new customers is significantly greater than the cost of retaining, so customer satisfaction and loyalty is crucial for ensuring longterm success. 46% Would like to buy new insurance from their current providers Accenture Multi-Channel Distribution Insurance Consumer Survey carried out in early 2010 has shown that only one of three consumers are satisfied with the service they receive. No more than 46% said they want definitely buy new insurance from their current providers. This attitude is testified by relatively low level of repeat and additional purchases. To achieve growth on the insurance market, which is a mature business, you need to make opportunities for renewal and additional sales to current customers as effective as possible. By definition, a repeat customer is someone you know and you use to stay in touch. Nurture your relationship with customer by presenting your proposals in a personalized way. For instance integrate suitable internal and external systems to provide customer with renewal reminder, demonstrate that renewal is either easier or a better value than going to another insurer. According to Capgemini analysis conducted for World Insurance Report 2012, consumers are willing to renew their existing policy if the process is easy and time-saving. Multichannel strategy focused on mobile or online

7 sales channels may help to assist in these needs without increasing insurer s cost. Renewal is a good time for your customer to review policy, make changes to coverage, etc. It can be used as an opportunity to up-sell if your company is able to contrive customers that gives them the best offer, otherwise they will shop around to find and get a better deal. You should also remember that customers often expect a discount for holding more than one product, so insurers need to develop a pricing model that allows this. Tip 5: An effective remedy for problems with implementing complex products One way to increase competitiveness is to shorten the time it takes to release new products. The insurance industry, due to the complexity of its products, is particularly vulnerable to long-lasting process of new product release. The modelling of the new product starts at analysts desk, in pricing and underwriting department. Product structure and pricing framework usually are formed in Excel spreadsheet. When the model has been completed the company s IT department starts programming, testing, and deployment. IT staff essentially duplicate the computable work, increasing the possibility of mistakes. Testing is carried out in isolation from those who prepared the product and pricing expertise. These factors make the process more difficult and expensive. Imagine that your company can put the full process of creating new products in the hands of one team - people making the actual products and pricing decisions. Conceive of an application that bypasses the need for the IT to code products and price structure in a programming language. With

8 CPQ class solutions it is feasible. These applications include administration tools that allow easily model products, implement pricing policies, create multiple product variations and options. New product is set up once, and deployed across all sales channels. This ensures that customers access product information consistently and in the exact same way, no matter what their preferred channel is. The timeline for a new product release and all of its associated tasks can decrease from an estimated 3 months to 3 weeks. Your company can also expect significant savings in labour costs due to the shortened development cycle. Instead of 7 man-days it can take half a day of IT person assistance to set up new product. Summary Insurance companies sell their products either directly or through a variety of indirect distribution channels, of which the most familiar are brokers, car dealers and banc assurance. The distribution of insurance products has evolved recently. Technological developments, such as the internet and mobile phones, have opened up new distribution channels and insurers are increasingly developing multichannel strategies. Composer CPQ fits perfectly into insurance sector. This solution gives a standardized support for all sales channels used by insurers. When direct sales have to be coordinated simultaneously with intermediary sales activities and customer self-service over the Internet or mobile devices, only best solutions are effective. Where a lot of specific products (car insurance, assistance, home insurance, motorbike insurance, accident and health insurance, life insurance, etc.) need to be sold through multichannel environment, only the application that enables data consistency between

9 Contact the different channels, ensures a seamless and harmonized approach to sales should be considered. Insurance companies compete and strive to deliver their products faster, at lower cost, and with higher quality than competitors. With Composer CPQ which establishes the successful multichannel distribution, insurance companies could largely cover the market, achieve the loyalty of customers, and cut down the cost. Insurance companies should continually innovate and integrate many distribution channels to 'touch' customers in the most appropriate way. Composer CPQ with no doubt offers them this ability. If you have any questions or comments regarding the white paper, please contact the author: Stanisław Piechowicz

10 Contact details Rhythm Enterprise 182 Pulawska Street Warsaw Poland phone fax Company Rhythm Enterprise was established in 2010 by Consultant specialized in product management area and order/application processes. Rhythm Enterprise can be classified as a corporate spin-off, because it roots can be found in research and development department of Outbox the biggest CRM integrator in CEE region. Main Rhythm Enterprise values are innovation in approach to customer touch points and high quality delivery of designed services. Creating spin-off enabled the application architects achieve independency from CRM platforms and concentrate on designing systems that could be implemented separately or within existing customer CRM. By such assumptions we have created product that could fit established Tier 1 enterprises and start-up companies who are more agile and concentrated on movement speed.

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