RBC Insurance Fetes Online Auto/Home Insurance Growth

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1 Case Studies, K. Harris Research Note 29 October 2002 RBC Insurance Fetes Online Auto/Home Insurance Growth RBC Insurance's e-business successes are generating greater than $3 million in premiums per month. Meanwhile, others in the industry debate whether the Internet will be a successful channel for delivering insurance products. Core Topic Financial Services: Financial Services Drivers, Strategies, Direction and Vision Key Issue How will changes in technology and processes affect financial services' requirements and efficiencies? RBC Insurance Services, through its operating entities that include RBC Life Insurance and RBC General Insurance, is one of Canada's largest insurance providers. It offers creditor, life, health, travel, home, auto and reinsurance products through a variety of distribution channels to greater than 5 million North American customers. The company wanted to explore its online possibilities, and took on the task of evaluating available marketplace opportunities. The evaluation determined that consumers were interested in buying property and casualty (P&C) insurance products online. At the time of the evaluation, RBC Insurance was selling its home and auto products through direct telephone sales. Shortly after the evaluation, technology development began to find the best way to support a new approach to online marketing and distribution of home and auto insurance products directly to consumers through the Internet. The planned client-centered workflows required an informative and easy-to-use approach to the Web site, accurate quoting engines for the entire product line, and seamless call center integration. It took nine employees and 12 months to build the site ( which was launched in October Funding was provided through the corporate development budget of RBC Insurance's e-business group. To be successful, RBC Insurance's e-business, marketing and home and auto divisions had to work closely together and bring in a number of stakeholders, including business analysts, call center management, legal and compliance, and the technology areas that provided support for its administration systems. The company also relied on the systems and technology (S&T) group at RBC Financial Group to provide infrastructure services, Gartner Entire contents 2002 Gartner, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The reader assumes sole responsibility for the selection of these materials to achieve its intended results. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

2 including monitoring, intrusion detection, audits and other security-related services. Problem: RBC Insurance's home and auto products traditionally had been sold through direct telephone sales. The company needed to look at how to provide a broad range of Internet-based solutions and services to complement its home and auto sales platforms. Objective: RBC Insurance's goal was to offer products and services, where appropriate, across all of its lines of business, including using the Internet and other electronic applications to supports its more-traditional distribution network. After evaluating the options of buying, building or outsourcing, RBC Insurance opted to build the technology in-house to support these services. The company believed it was key to maintain the site itself and own the surrounding intellectual capital because future success would be contingent on site flexibility and continually improving services as new applications were launched. Approach: Engaging in an in-depth evaluation of its target market to determine online opportunities and viable core products and services to offer online. Developing relationships with the home and auto line of business and understanding that the IT and business requirements were key. The e-business and marketing groups worked with their stakeholders, such as business analysts, S&T staff and call center staff, to ensure a broad understanding of the business and strategy. Positioning all Internet applications on the RBC Insurance e- business infrastructure that connects through the RBC S&T infrastructure. RBC Insurance took a step-by-step approach, working closely with S&T to ensure that the established relationships and infrastructure could provide a sound foundation for future applications. S&T ultimately recommended the infrastructure that was to be put in place. RBC Insurance now relies on the S&T group for e-business infrastructure services. Leveraging RBC Financial Group's expertise in security and monitoring to maintain Web site security. For the Web site, RBC Insurance focused on: Maintaining consistent prices online and offline 29 October

3 Simplifying the online buying experience. As users go through the questionnaire process, an online help center is located in their view to help answer difficult questions. RBC Insurance ensures that there are only five steps, on average, involved in getting a quote, and that each step is concise. Special attention was given to ensuring that each question was easily understood by the customer and that online resources were available in a knowledge center to assist with areas that were unclear. The company wanted to provide guaranteed quotes on a full line of products, so it had to ensure it was asking enough and the right questions. Integrating the site. The site is fully integrated to the call center's administration system. Therefore, when a call comes into the call center, a sales representative can immediately access the information that was input on the site so that he or she can bind the policy. Customer service levels are raised because the client and company are accessing the same information and using the same quoting engine to ensure quote consistency across channels. Limiting the number of questions asked online. Much of the detailed information is gathered through the call center (for example, driver's license and vehicle identification numbers). Closing all online quotes through the call center to ensure continued direct customer contact at the time of policy binding. RBC Insurance does not support online sales closure at this time. Automating underwriting for auto/home insurance, except in high risk cases. Binding takes place in the call center (see Figure 1). 29 October

4 Figure 1 RBC Insurance's Auto Insurance Quote Site Source: RBC Insurance Results: RBC Insurance has reported success with this initiative and believes that the shortened process promotes a high online use rate. The first part of the application process is very short (only five screens for a quote on average). Other result highlights from the period of 1 November 2001 to 31 August 2002 include (see Figure 2): 105,000 quotes 2,700 policies issued 60 percent call close ratio (if client phones into call center to close) Minimal channel conflict because personal and commercial products are primarily distributed through the direct channel 29 October

5 Quote Volume 18,000 16,000 14,000 12,000 10,000 8,000 6,000 4,000 2,000 0 Figure 2 Home and Auto E-Quote Results November 2001 Through August ,111 3,686 6,753 5,457 8,496 14,861 13,400 12,593 15,145 16, Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Month Home & Auto Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Overall Results equotes 4,111 3,686 6,753 5,457 8,496 14,86 13,400 12,59 15,145 16, ,503 Calls ,585 Policies ,771 Call Close Ratio 43% 57% 48% 47% 51% 46% 64% 67% 68% 73% % Source: RBC Insurance Critical Success Factors/Lessons Learned: Lessons learned by the company include: There was a surprisingly high rate of use by RBC employees, who were visiting the site to compare quotes with their existing policies. Visitor rates were greater than expected. The importance of security. Several key issues were highlighted as RBC Insurance completed the mandatory security review by RBC S&T. The need to add more service functionality through the Internet. The company plans to extend the site to support limited client self-service and inquiry capability (such as policy, claims and billing). Bottom Line: RBC Insurance considers the Internet a key channel to reach customers in the Canadian market. Although the traffic is not heavy, it should provide a snapshot of the 29 October

6 potential for the Internet to sell simple insurance products, such as auto and home insurance. 29 October

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