Accenture’s 2020 Market Pulse Survey (MPS) for Consumer Insurance in Belgium interviewed 1462 end consumers about their insurance experience and future expectations. The study reveals that making a claim is the key moment of truth for a customer, but insurers are not taking this opportunity to win customers over. On the contrary, our survey clearly shows that customers with a recent claim experience are significantly less satisfied with the service provided by their insurer than those without. Given that respondents also say that a disappointing claim experience is the most important reason for them to leave their current provider, insurers cannot afford to ignore this issue. In this article, we lay out three solutions insurers should consider.

 

A slow drop in satisfaction

This year’s MPS results reveal that insurance customer satisfaction has been dropping since 2017. While 83% of Belgian insurance customers were still (very) satisfied with their insurer in 2017, this number has dropped to 75% in 2020. In terms of distribution channels, direct insurers have the most satisfied customers – mainly because they succeed in accurately answering their customers’ needs and make it very easy to become a client.

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77%

of direct insurance customers are (very) satisfied with the ease of becoming a client, compared to 73% of customers insured via their bank, and only 67% of customers insured via an intermediary.

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When it comes to quality and range of products offered, it also appears that direct insurers are doing better at answering customer needs: 76% of direct customers are (very) satisfied vs. 68% for those working with an intermediary.

Age categories also have a big impact on customer satisfaction. Only customers aged 50 years and above are net promotors of their insurers. Moreover, the digital capabilities of insurers fail to convince customers of all ages. For instance, a bare 53% of customers are (very) satisfied with their insurer’s offering to buy insurance products digitally.

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75%

of customers aged 50 years and above are satisfied with the speed of payout of their claim. This number falls to 59% for the customers younger than 30.

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Making a claim is the key moment of truth

Failure to provide a good claim experience is negatively impacting customer loyalty. When we asked customers what would influence their decision to leave their insurer, their top three reasons relate to making a claim: 18% say they would leave if their claim is not handled as they expected, closely followed by not receiving a correct reimbursement to cover the damage (15%) and a payout that takes too long (14%).  

Customers who recently made a claim are significantly less satisfied with the service provided by their current insurer than customers who have not made a recent claim. If they could start all over again, 58% of customers without a recent claim would choose the same insurance provider vs. 47% of those who recently made a claim. In other words, there is an 11% gap due to claims experience.

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Insurers cannot afford to ignore the customer’s need for a delightful claim experience, as the claims experience is driving customer loyalty.

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When asked about the support and follow-up provided by the insurer after making a claim, there is a satisfaction gap of 20% between customers with a recent claim and those without a recent claim.

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22%

satisfaction gap regarding the (perceived) speed of payout between customers with experience of a recent claim and those without a recent claim. 

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While the Net Promotor Score (NPS) per touchpoint in the claims customer journey is mostly negative for all age categories, there is a bright spot: comparing the scores of the overall claims experience with the overall involvement and support of an intermediary, we see a positive change that can be contributed to the intermediary:

 

Today’s challenges create opportunities for disruption that make new entrants successful

As part of last year’s MPS, we applied Accenture’s Disruptability Index to show that incumbent insurers faced low productivity growth, low brand intensity, and low levels of innovation compared to other industries. One year on, and it is clear that insurers still face a lot of challenges and that these are being exploited by new entrants.

In Europe, more and more Insurtech companies – each addressing one of the challenges faced by incumbent insurers – are rapidly gaining market share. They include Lemonade (targeting millennials by making insurance loveable and transforming it from a necessary evil into a social good) and Luko (offering solutions to make the claims journey delightful, such as after-claim tailormade services).    

The speed of this change is also visible on the Belgian market with the recent launch of Alan, focusing on delivering a delightful customer experience in life insurance.

Against this backdrop of disruptive new entrants and slowly dropping customer satisfaction, insurers must take action or they risk losing market share. Addressing their existing and future customers’ needs and pain points is a good place to start.

 

How insurers can prevent customer satisfaction from melting away

1. By increasing trust and transparency

Asked to what extent customers trust their insurer, 79% of those older than 50 (strongly) agree, compared to 67% for the generation aged between 30 and 49, and 60% for those younger than 30. Although this indicates a relatively high level of trust across the board, the significant gap between age categories implies a risk.

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In particular the younger generation, who show skepticism towards their insurer’s value offering, will need a specific approach to be pleased and captured.

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What would make customers trust their insurer more? The areas receiving the highest scores are: knowing that their insurer takes care of cyber and data security (66%); transparent behavior of advisors when offering them products & services (65%); and proactive communication in the event of disasters (62%) so customers can take action and avoid having to make a claim.

2. By offering a seamless phygital experience

Even though, as a result of COVID-19, customers are significantly more open to using digital interaction channels such as chat or a mobile app, our survey results show that classic channels such as phone and email remain important. It is well known that the ‘physical’ interaction channel of incumbent insurers plays to their strength when compared to new digital entrants. Because even in an increasingly digital world, human interactions still matter.

So how can insurers establish the perfect ‘phygital’ experience? 

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Our survey suggests that harmonizing interaction channels is key to unlocking a great claim experience.

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Firstly, insurers need to seamlessly integrate physical and digital services in their overall interaction channel strategy. Insurance customers are looking for interactions with a human touch plus the possibility to effortlessly switch between channels while enjoying a consistent and personalized experience throughout. 

Secondly, insurers should offer an after-sales digital servicing platform as an enabler of a delightful claim experience. Our survey found that the functionalities insurance customers find essential are all about making their lives easier when it comes to making a claim, such as being able to check in real-time whether certain damage is covered and what the compensation would be.

3. By offering ecosystem services that go beyond traditional insurance

The third way for insurers to differentiate themselves is to offer value-added services that address broader customer needs. Building an ecosystem of insurance-related services can strengthen customer relationships, establish new sources of revenue and win over customers from competitors.

Our survey reveals that there is a definite appetite for such services among Belgian insurance customers of all ages. What is interesting here is that offering ecosystem services is a clear opportunity for insurers to leverage a willingness to pay among the younger generation – a segment that is traditionally difficult to monetize.

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Offering ecosystem services is an opportunity for insurers to monetize the young generation.

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Perhaps more importantly, our survey shows that insurers are in a strong starting position because in the eyes of customers, they are already among the preferred providers: 65% of customers would like to see their insurer orchestrate an ecosystem around mobility, 47% an ecosystem around home services, and 39% an ecosystem around health services.

 

But they need to act fast. Startups are beginning to tap into this market. Insurers that want to expand towards ecosystems should act now, starting with reflecting on the right ecosystem service model for them and the role they want to play. They can then leverage their position as a preferred provider and capture a growing segment of younger, innovation-hungry customers.

 

It's time to reverse the satisfaction tipping point!

The results of our 2020 survey indicate that there is a way for insurers to refresh customer satisfaction and improve the claims experience while at the same time offering their customers the new flavors they are looking for. By increasing trust and transparency and uniting a seamless phygital experience with ecosystem services that go beyond traditional insurance, incumbent insurers can outmaneuver disruption and strengthen their position on the market.

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This article has been co-written by Wouter de Smet and Julien Huyberechts.

 

Nicolas Pireaux

Managing Director – Insurance Practice Lead

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