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3 Strategic Competencies Life Carriers Must Develop in Pursuit of Customer Centricity

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To compete effectively in a post-COVID world, life insurers must make customer experience their main priority without sacrificing cost effectiveness. Here are the three strategies they must focus on. 

Customer centricity is not a new topic in insurance. In the pursuit of growth and retention, carriers have spent a significant amount of resources to deliver experiences that are aligned with customer expectations today—yet they are still falling behind. 

The social implications of COVID-19 have accelerated the need for digital experiences that are up to par with what customers want from their financial providers. 

LIMRA’s 2020 Insurance Barometer Study found that customers are more likely to buy insurance if “simplified underwriting” is used that is fast and easy (66%), provides transparent explanations of risk and pricing (58%), and avoids medical exams (56%). Further, 59% of applicants are starting their research process online, specifically looking for info on products and services. 

According to a Deloitte Insights survey, “Respondents were over seven times more likely to choose carriers based on personal referrals over marketing campaign efforts." It goes without saying that only satisfied customers will recommend their respective carriers, so the speed of responsiveness and the amount of effort required of customers are key to winning their business. 

Boston Consulting Group found that customers’ use of online and self-service tools has increased by 20%—with 22% of US consumers using their bank’s online self-service tools for the first time since the pandemic began.

In the post-sales experience, things are no different. “Survey respondents indicated a preference for digital-only engagement over direct agent contact for simple transactional touches such as making annual or monthly payments, and 90 percent of all respondents rated post-purchase account management via Web or mobile channels as very helpful or helpful.” Supporting this, Boston Consulting Group found that customers’ use of online and self-service tools has increased by 20%—with 22% of US consumers using their bank’s online self-service tools for the first time since the pandemic began.

How do you take this data on customer expectations and transform it into satisfying digital experiences? Each life insurance carrier must develop the competencies below in order to ensure the success of customer-facing experiences. 

Time-to-Market

It’s not just you; development times have indeed gotten slower. It took developers 20% longer on average to complete an enterprise application project in the 2010s than it did in the previous decade. 

Slow dev times are due to the complexities of code and the legacy systems that support it. Software engineers and developers are spending the majority of their time squashing bugs and managing repeatable coding tasks, while disconnected legacy systems complicate integrations.

Life insurers need to find ways to accelerate their time-to-market. Agile development (as opposed to Waterfall) would allow tech teams to flexibly build out in phases and modify as requirements change, ultimately supporting scalability. And rather than start from scratch, assess where pre-existing components and workflows can be reused.

Test-and-Learn

Delivering products that are aligned with customer expectations requires iteration. Effective customer research is focused on understanding customer behaviors, namely how customers use the digital experiences provided to them, and then refining these experiences to overcome any unexpected challenges or pain points customers face. 

Traditionally, carriers have operated in a Waterfall manner. Requirements are defined upfront and the final product is minimally changed once delivered to customers, resulting in unmet KPIs as the product wasn’t aligned with customer behaviors. 

To be successful in a market where digital experience is a competitive differentiator, carriers must develop the muscle to test, learn, and iterate on customer-facing applications built at a much higher frequency. 

Adaptability

Google Cloud suggests that digital transformation relies not just on an organization’s ability to package its services, competencies, and assets into modular pieces of software that can be repeatedly leveraged—but on expanding functionality by combining that software with valuable assets from partners and other third parties.

The quicker you are able to incorporate (i.e., integrate) new technologies and services into the applications you build, the more likely you are to meet customers’ expectations for streamlined experiences, access to additional value-added services, and more. 

Looking to retain the ability to adapt to evolving needs and customer requirements through a more accessible, easy-to-manage method of delivering enterprise grade applications? Look no further than no-code.

No-Code Can Help

No-code application development can help life insurers get to market faster than the competition, while customizing what matters and future-proofing applications with seamless integrations and updates.

Click here to learn how Principal Financial Group used no-code to strategically digitize at scale and enhance the consumer experience

With Unqork’s completely visual, drag-and-drop interface, life insurers can leverage reusable capabilities and workflows housed in one convenient location for easy access. Launch products in as little as 4 weeks with fewer bugs—applications built on Unqork have been found to have 600x fewer bugs compared to those using traditional code or low-code-based tools.

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