Building Consumer Trust and Lifetime Value for Profitable Growth in the Life Insurance Sector

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1 AN EPOQ WHITE PAPER Building Consumer Trust and Lifetime Value for Profitable Growth in the Life Insurance Sector

2 Increased competition, challenging market conditions, disaffected and more demanding consumers are making it more difficult for life insurers to gain market share. How can insurers differentiate themselves from the competition? How can they be perceived to be adding value to their customers? This paper identifies the issues surrounding a competitive market place, but also introduces new ways for deeper engagement with your customers.

3 Introduction Background Today s highly competitive marketplace is dominated by the challenges of technological upheaval and fast-changing customer expectations. It s a scenario that requires every business to be alert to the needs of its customers and agile enough to respond to the opportunities these present. Quite simply, their future prosperity depends upon it. Nowhere is this more true than in the insurance industry, where ongoing new business from traditional products has slowed down under the impact of changing consumer attitudes and growing internet competition. The economic downturn and a growing disaffection with financial institutions generally has pushed insurance down the household agenda. Conversely, a better-off and longer-living population provides fresh opportunities for growth. The challenge for insurance providers is how best to manage this volatile operational environment and turn it to its advantage. As the Chartered Insurance Institute has noted 1, the ability to deliver a wider portfolio of value-added services in association with affinity partners will be essential to the industry s future success. In this white paper, we look at the market forces affecting insurance providers and how they can satisfy demand and build ongoing productive relationships by adding value to their customer offer with a range of legal services. Insurance industry forecasts do not make encouraging reading, with life insurers set to endure shrinking markets and continued low profitability 2. The industry s difficulties are perhaps best summarised by an AA/Populus study (May 2014) which found that nearly six in ten adults aged do not have life insurance cover at all, despite being the most likely age group to have both a mortgage and children under 18 to provide for. Nearly six in ten adults aged do not have life insurance cover There are many reasons for this stagnation, but the principal ones concern: a changing market environment; increasing customer disengagement; perceived product complexity.

4 The market environment The life insurance market was significantly disrupted by the 2012 Retail Distribution Review (RDR), which introduced adviser charging in place of commissionbased sales or recommendations. This has left more and more consumers faltering at the prospect of paying for financial advice, which, traditionally, saw life insurance offered alongside a pension, savings product or mortgage. As a result, banks, IFAs and other advisers have reshaped their advised sales into a higher net worth proposition. This leaves a mass market recently estimated as high as 5.5 million consumers 3 unable or unwilling to access financial advice for both investments and life protection. While advised insurance sales have been adversely affected, RDR has nevertheless opened up a substantial opportunity for direct product providers. These are exploiting the internet as both a source and buying channel for life insurance by creating compelling propositions for consumers. According to a 2014 Accenture survey 4, 38% of consumers had purchased life insurance online in the previous 12 months, while 61% were interested in conducting their financial planning in the same way. A further 19% said they had bought a life policy on price comparison websites, thereby confirming the major in-roads made by this channel following its success in the motor insurance market. Such findings suggest that the battle for new customers is being won by those with a better understanding of the way in which online availability is influencing our buying decisions. Rather than resorting to increasingly irrelevant product copying, tinkering or rates cutting, online providers are exploiting the power of the internet to offer customers greater choice, accessibility and easier interaction. By so doing, they are reaching out to thousands of under-insured consumers turned off by advised channels. 38% 61% 19% you can t simply wait... to create new openings as more proactive competitors are going to get in ahead of you. You have to be nurturing the new markets, designing the smart new products and forging the partnerships needed to capitalise on these opportunities now. PwC: Life insurance 2020: Competing for a future

5 Customer disengagement Complexity of product Death and dying have always been uncomfortable topics for discussion and have been easier to avoid, thanks to the fallout from the recession. But even before the economic downturn and the impact of the RDR, life cover was an undersold product both in the number of policies bought and the amount of cover provided. The scale of the problem is such that Swiss Re 2 has calculated the UK life insurance protection gap at 2.4 trillion, equivalent to around 100,000 a person. The amount of underinsurance is greatest among those likely to need life insurance the most: single parents, couples with children, and those aged 35 and under. Life insurance protection gap 2.4 trillion Furthermore, as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has stated 5, there is often little or no relationship between insurers and their customers. Insurance is seen as a purely transactional business, rather than something that adds value to customers lives. Despite this, the recent Global Customer Insurance Survey from EY 6 found that consumers are demanding more frequent, meaningful and personalised engagement with their insurer. This suggests that stronger, twoway relationships with customers will engender future success if the industry can respond. The bottom line is that customers have no faith in the industry. Poor customer communication from a collective failure to promote the importance of protection products to not engaging in ways that customers value is compounding this situation further. So much so, in fact, that customer distrust of life and pension providers is widespread, with dissatisfaction levels significantly worse than those of current account banking services 3. With literally hundreds of insurance products for potential customers to consider, life insurers are failing to meet the value for money and clarity criteria customers are looking for. Demands on our individual time have never been greater, so it s incumbent on any provider to make sure their product propositions are clear and easily understood. Yet research suggests that consumers see current insurance offers as too complicated and unnecessarily confusing 3. This criticism applies equally to non-advised sales channels, including price comparison sites. Here, the inability to provide relevant answers leaves prospects less likely to explore the options available or make a purchase. All providers... need to think anew if we are ever to properly strengthen our market and make it more attractive. Emma Thomson: Think outside the box, Money Marketing, 22 January 2015

6 Remedies So what should the life insurance industry be doing to address these issues? Three key actions are called for: Deliver lifestyle Foster greater customer solutions to customers engagement online Streamline the product offer Developing these strategies for success will create a blueprint for capturing market share and increasing customer value. Offer lifestyle solutions If the life insurance industry is to differentiate its offer from the newer market entrants, then it must intently focus on customers and personalising the service, to better meet their desires. In short, the offer should be about lifestyle protection and not just life insurance. Linking lifestyle protection and legal protection There is an obvious synergy between lifestyle protection and legal protection. Life providers already have conversations with customers about planning for the future and protecting their families, so adding relevant legal services to that dialogue stands to improve the customer experience. Services could include helping to write policies into trust, advising when a will should be written or assisting with the preparation of a power of attorney or cohabitation agreement. Communicate online We live in the always on era of mobile communications, via devices such as tablets and smartphones, making it incumbent on providers to improve their online offering. The power of digital communications needs to be harnessed and utilised imaginatively to make insurance propositions more relevant and attractive. This applies especially to those aged 35 or under a core group of potential life customers who are currently underserved and expect to interact digitally. The online opportunity is to engage and interact with customers when and how they want, rather than just reduce transaction volumes and costs. Giving online access to tools that help customers manage everyday legal needs, for example, can help start an ongoing conversation and build a stronger, more long-term relationship between customer and provider. Of course, becoming a lifestyle partner in this way will require a partnership or collaboration with an ancillary provider. It will also need the industry to step up its online capabilities to capture the right data with which to identify new sales opportunities, as well as providing customers with online servicing capabilities to review and update their wills or insurance cover as and when required.

7 Create a streamlined and integrated customer experience Consumers are on a quest for value for money in all their transactions, especially when constrained by economic circumstances. The insurance industry has to respond accordingly by developing recognisably simple and flexible products that deliver the outcomes customers are looking for. Adding relevant additional services to a life policy can give greater value to the customer, but only if they are delivered in a seamless and integrated way. Including relevant legal services will transform the insurance proposition into one of overall lifestyle protection, and, if delivered online, will answer the needs of time-poor customers. Furthermore, their delivery through a variety of relevant and responsive channels both human and digital will create an integrated experience that is attractive to both prospects and customers alike. In a pricedriven market, it is very hard to differentiate service offerings, but insurers need to find the touch points which are important to customers in order to move away from bargain basement prices being the sole driver for customer decisions. Graham Handy, Global Customer Insurance Leader at EY, 12 November 2014 Conclusion This is a time of change for the insurance industry, but fresh opportunities for growth and development are still very much present. To take advantage, insurers need to reinvent themselves as lifestyle partners, rather than remain passive providers of products whose relevance and desirability have become obscured by the dark clouds of recession and the industry s historic lack of customer responsiveness. By looking to affinity partners to add complementary services, the customer offer can be radically overhauled so that it profitably meets the demands and expectations of the online age.

8 About Epoq Formed in 1994, Epoq is a pioneer in the development of online legal document services, which are now the most widely used solutions of their kind in the UK. Typically white-labelled and delivered to customers by insurers, banks and affinity groups, our services are making access to legal services simpler than ever before. Our services include over 300 easy-to-prepare documents, contracts and letters, including wills, powers of attorney, and employment and tenancy agreements, as well as jargon-free, online law guides and legal advice lines staffed by experts in both consumer and business law. References 1 The Chartered Insurance Institute: Beyond 2020: Skills required for future success in UK Life, Pensions and Health Insurance 2 Swiss Re: Term & Health Watch Deloitte: Bridging the Advice Gap: Delivering investment products in a post-rdr world, Accenture UK Life & Pensions: Winning the race for relevance with insurance customers, FCA General insurance add-ons: Provisional findings of market study and proposed remedies, March Reimagining customer relationships: Key findings from the EY Global Consumer Insurance Survey 2014 Contact us Epoq Legal Ltd Middlesex House High Street Edgware HA8 7UU Tel: Web:

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