If your digital adoption by customers has slowed or stalled you may want to address the problem from the customer’s point of view by assessing customer intent.

Customer intent essentially is answering the question: why is the customer contacting you? What problem are they trying to solve or what information do they need? Customers aren’t contacting you because they have nothing better to do; they are reaching out for a reason.

Michael Vermillion  J D Power ( link at the bottom of this article)

This can be across any of the contact pounts a customer has with insurers from Buying, renewing, and MTAs to claims and settlement/payment. 

Digital adoption might address the challenges of improving efficiency and effectiveness, but these are internal pressures. The third aspect to improve is customer satisfaction which will be an outcome of better products, better service, and better communication and collaboration. Customers of all ages want a choice of both digital and personal communication.

Back in 2021, the LexisNexis Future of Claims Study explained this. 

2023 research from Sollers Consulting and Guidewire states that younger insurance customers ( in this case under the age of 35) prefer human interaction when buying insurance. 

"Younger customers' aversion to wholly online experiences was that they were 'afraid of the small print, the process, or products'" 

Hubert Mlodzianowski Business Architest Sollers Consulting.

Customers want both objective facts and advice that can be trusted along with sympathy for suffering loss and/or injury. They want the convenience of digital and the reassurance of human empathy and understanding. Knowing customer intent is vital when planning business models and technology transformation. Or as J D Powers' study shows: -

Sending customers down a path where they are likely to fail in their quest for an answer or problem resolution is a formula for low satisfaction and a low probability to return. So if a digital channel is not properly equipped to support a particular journey or use case, blindly directing all customers towards digital will create frustration and animosity among at least a subset of your customer base.

It is not just direct customers of course.  Brokers are essential partners for insurers providing expert guidance to personal and commercial customers. Cutting through the complexities of insurance policies, understanding their client's requirements, and matching capacity to the needs of insureds.

A recent and in-depth research study in the UK by Procurato showed that when it comes to digitisation and technology deployment by insurers they naturally prefer simplicity and clear business benefits over bells and whistles. And a mix of automation and personal engagement. 

Digital claims transformation must meet the needs of both policyholders and brokers. The latter will deal with more than one carrier and so the last thing they need is multiple claims platforms that add complexity and hassle. Any carrier planning to transform claims with new digital platforms had better understand the intent of brokers, plan transformation with them, and test, implement, test again, and iterate to deliver constant improvement. 

Digital transformation without business model transformation is pointless. At best it delivers efficiencies but at worst it alienates customers. Just having digital capabilities does not mean that the customers find them of value. 

Altus benchmarks 250 UK insurers' digital capabilities and recently has added usability scores- looking at digital transformation from the customer's eyes. 

Take AXA; it is #1 in the rankings for Home & Contents digital capabilities even though you can see there are still many red gaps and it scores just 59%. The AXA Usability score falls behind though as you can see. In fact, home insurance generally lags behind auto insurance even for the same carrier which suggests that digital transformation is planned and implemented by a business line rather than as an overall strategy.

You can rate all carriers across different lines of business- go to this link for a free 7-day trial. Compare overall results of Home & Contents V Auto.

For auto insurance,  Aviva tops the rankings with a capability score of 72% and a usability score of 90%. Direct Line comes close on Aviva's digital heels at #2. 

What about other lines of business? When it comes to Pet Insurance the newer insurtechs outshine incumbent carriers. Congratulations to Waggel and ManyPets. 

As insurers promote multi-product offerings you would expect a consistent customer UX across all lines of business. Maybe the core technology and claims platforms are too inflexible and costly to customise for all products and perils. Maybe the technology partners cannot support the technology ecosystem required to optimise automation and human engagement. 

So if you are head of digital transformation across the company, in charge of improving the buying, MTA, and renewal customer experience, or a claims leader seeking the optimal mix of innovation and digital/human engagement how do you transform the business model and technology platforms?

J D Power has a number of suggestions.

Step one is to do a better job of matching customer intent with channel capabilities. The next step is to understand the gaps in channel capabilities. If a digital channel has a low probability of success for a particular journey or use case, seek to understand what is causing failure.

What is it about the journey or use case that the digital channel is unable to support? What changes can be made or capabilities added to the digital channel to deliver a higher success rate?

Another approach would be to study the journey or use case and determine if products or policies or processes can be simplified in a way that gives the digital channel a better chance of success. 

Get the business model right and you will be better able to leverage the technology partners and platforms to achieve the business goals you set. Below you'll find the links to finding the optimal technologies and partners. 

Further Reading

What makes an optimal technology partner?

Creating value, finding focus and choosing the right technology partners


 AA launches new online vehicle claims journey for customers 

esure chooses RightIndem as its digital claims technology platform

Automating processes and speeding up operations: 30 companies we know