Accenture’s 2021 Belgian Market Pulse Survey (MPS) interviewed 1,898 customers representing the Belgian markets’ insurance experience and needs.
Customer expectations changed during the pandemic
Three observations form the bedrock of the changing behaviour and expectations of insurance customers in light of the pandemic. The survey revealed that customers have become less satisfied with their insurer, which resulted in lower Net Promoter Scores (NPS) compared to pre-pandemic scores. Additionally, customers consider value-for-money more important than before the pandemic. As a final element, based on the survey, customers are looking for simplicity when it comes to product offerings.
Customers are growing less satisfied with their insurers
The survey revealed a drop in the general NPS scores of insurers from 19 pre-pandemic in 2019 to -9 in 2021, indicating that customers are less likely to recommend their insurers. If we look at the detailed NPS scores, we observe a very low NPS score for the digital experience: -34 in 2021. We can infer that the digital capabilities of insurers fail to convince customers. For those insurers working with brokers or agents the gap is even more pronounced with an NPS score for digital experience of -49.
Looking at the customer satisfaction, we notice that most of the insurance customers remain happy with their insurance provider, but we also see that satisfaction levels are continuing their downward trend compared to pre-covid times. But why do we see this decrease in customer satisfaction? The overall customer experience fails to meet their needs appropriately. We see the biggest drops in customer satisfaction compared to pre-pandemic (2019) in easiness of use. The satisfaction dropped by 11% to an overall satisfaction score of 70%. Besides, end customers are the least satisfied with proactive communication (50% satisfaction), promotions & low prices (52% satisfaction) and digital capabilities (57% satisfaction).
Price quality ratio increasingly more important
Customers are increasingly price-sensitive when dealing with their insurers.
(only) of the respondents found they were charged an honest price for their insurance products during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021, the second most important reason for an end customer to switch insurers was if the price/quality ratio didn’t meet his or her expectations in terms of product and service levels. In 2019 (pre-pandemic), this percentage was only 26%.
Customers search for simplicity
Are products too complex or is the digital channel not informative enough?
of the respondents claim that their insurance products are unclear and need to be simplified for better comprehension. 50% of the respondents don’t find the product to be explained well on the insurer’s digital channels.
Insurers must evolve their product offerings by simplifying products, offering bundled contracts, adapting products based on client needs, by transforming their customer data into deep insights.
How can insurers deal with this?
Insurers should combine two approaches to build meaningful, relevant, and seamless customer experiences.
1. Sophistication simplified
Making complex products digestible for customers.
Insurers should focus on the essence of their products through simplification. By investing in convenient distribution models such as price-comparison websites, insurers can uncover untapped opportunities. Customers are open to using these kinds of price comparison websites. Price – Comparison websites are getting more and more traction, often used to get more information before purchasing a product through the classic distribution channels. On a price comparison website, seven in ten customers are: on the lookout for the best price and saving money, want to get more information before purchasing a product and want to be able to compare different insurance product offers.
Insurers should also focus on simplifying their product portfolios. Bundling products helps customers save time and money in a one-stop shop and provides cross-selling opportunities for the insurer. Nearly half of the respondents would like to have their full insurance portfolio with one insurer, while one fifth 21% of the respondents that don’t have their insurance products bundled yet, might consider bundling them in the future, leaving an untapped opportunity for insurers to cross-sell. The main reasons for customers to consolidate their products in a bundled contract is to receive additional commercial discounts (70%), reduce administration (69%) and streamline contract management (64%).
2. Perfectly personalized
Offering relevant services that go beyond insurance for different age groups.
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Customers show an increased willingness to pay for relevant beyond insurance services. In 2021 we saw an overall willingness to pay of 23%
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Customers show an increased willingness to pay for relevant beyond insurance services. In 2021 we saw an overall willingness to pay of 23%.
Compared to 2020, we see an increase of 5% in home services and 3% in mobility services for the willingness to pay for these beyond insurance services. There is a clear opportunity for insurers to offer beyond insurance services, especially to the younger generation. When customers are willing to switch insurers, the right beyond insurance services might be the tipping point for these changing customers.
To build a meaningful and relevant customer experience, insurers need to provide personalized, consistent, and seamless omni-channel experiences, in addition to offering the right (beyond) insurance services to the right customers. Insurers should service customer segments through specific channels for different kinds of products. If we have a look at the most preferred channel per interaction point, we see that face-to-face channels are often the preferred channels for pre-sales activities. 48% of the respondents prefer to have a physical interaction before purchasing a product. If we have a look at the more complex (life insurance) products, this percentage rises to 53%.
Post-sales, we notice a gap between the preference and the current usage of digital channels. For activities like updating personal information, following up a claim or filing a complaint, insurance customers want to use digital channels like an application, website or social media, which they are currently not using.
What does this mean for insurers? To be able to have meaningful relationships with customers, it is necessary to have seamless interactions between all channels. Insurers must consider the type of customer (who am I interacting with?) and line of business (which channels am I using for which kind of products?) when communicating.
Sophistication simplified, perfectly personalized
Insurers who want to put a smile on the face of their customer should behave like an extraordinary private tutor. They bring clarity to a world of complexity, and they should do this according to their individual customer’s needs. To stay relevant, re-engage with customers and differentiate themselves, insurers should think about combining a seamless “phygital” experience with a carefully crafted ecosystem strategy.
The full report of the results is also available here.
Want to compare your insurance company’s performance with anonymized competitors and benchmarks? We’d be delighted to meet you for a conversation.