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When it comes to communication, data access, and self-service options, the ingrained habits of individual digital-age consumers have heavily influenced the expectations of P&C insurance stakeholders. As we emerge from a year of increased dependence on digital tools for staying connected, a comprehensive survey of consumers suggests it’s a trend that will continue, more than likely with even greater intensity.

In the introduction to the 4th edition of Salesforce’s State of the Connected Consumer — a research report that draws from the responses of over 15,000 consumers and business buyers — Simon Mulcahy, Chief Innovation Officer of Salesforce, delivers the following insight on the impact of the pandemic on customer expectations and behaviors: 

“What we found is that customer expectations and behaviors have shifted radically, rapidly, and permanently; as our physical world has shrunk, the digital imperative companies have contended with for decades has reached an abrupt tipping point.”

To provide just a few examples, responses indicate that 80% of business buyers expect to conduct more business online than they did before the pandemic. And when it comes to the quality of digital interaction, over 85% of business buyers and nearly 80% of consumers surveyed agreed that the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services. 

According to a ZD Net summary of the report, “digital-first behavior is here to stay as customers develop new habits that will last for the long term. As digital engagement grows, customers expect companies to digitize their operations for multichannel, high-touch interactions.”

So just what does this mean for P&C insurers, MGAs, TPAs, and risk pooling organizations? 

First and foremost, it is likely to supply added incentive to move away from paper-heavy processes and off of outdated policy administration, billing, and claims administration systems. However, digital transformation alone may no longer be good enough. “For insurance and other legacy industries, the need for digitization is no longer a question,” writes Tal Daskal in 5 Digital Transformation Trends Insurance Leaders Should Watch in 2021. “As they set their sights for the future, insurance companies must move away from traditional systems, move fast, and leverage new technologies to meet changing customer expectations.”

The onus is not only on insurers, MGAs, TPAs, and risk pools. Providers of core insurance platforms must ensure that their technology solutions can be configured quickly— without continual, large-scale investment in terms of time and money — to keep up with the ever-evolving expectations of users. “In a world where customers increasingly expect a simple, intuitive customer experience with their insurance provider, the ability for providers to develop responsive digital platforms that completely transform their customer experience is a decisive facet of success,” Daskal explains.

What is digital engagement? 

Given such a wide range of P&C insurance stakeholders listed above, it’s no wonder that arriving at a consensus on exactly what is meant by “digital engagement” can be complicated. The reason? A definition that takes into account what is required (from a technology perspective) and who benefits will vary based on who is asked. “A CMO will immediately picture customers as the focus of engagement, whereas a CIO or CTO will think about the tools employees use to engage — networks, software, hardware, or other resources,” explains the Deloitte article Five Building Blocks for Enhancing Digital Engagement

Meeting the needs of current and prospective policyholders should, without doubt, be the focus of digital engagement initiatives. As the SMA (Strategy Meets Action) whitepaper, Digital Customer Engagement in Insurance: Changing the Paradigm for Customer Interaction, points out, “for insurers, increasing the sophistication level of customer interactions creates opportunities to gain new customers, retain existing customers, and attract talented new employees.” 

But as the Deloitte article makes clear, the focus — and the definition — of digital engagement should not be limited to external stakeholders alone. “Technology has reshaped the way companies interact internally and externally, and the term ‘digital engagement’ is a catch-all for how companies use their available technologies and processes to deliver great digital experiences and interactions to their customers.”

The application of digital engagement capabilities

So what does the practical application of digital engagement capabilities look like? Depending on the flexibility of a policy administration or claims administration platform, this can vary. But insurers should look for platforms that provide options for delivering a multi-channel experience to stakeholders; that deliver access and communication in ways that are most convenient to them. This includes mobile access, SMS/text, and email to name a few. 

The use of online portals is another such application. Portals provide tailored, 24/7 access to critical information policyholders, agents, or members demand. And they do so without placing additional strain on staff. Furthermore, in a system like Origami, portals can be configured to meet the informational demands of stakeholders without the need for IT resources. Because these portals can be continually adapted as stakeholder needs change, insurers, MGAs, and risk pools can remain responsive while freeing up staff from repetitive, resource-draining administrative tasks. Combined with role-specific security, this allows stakeholders to access their data; gives them the ability to view dashboards, workbenches, generate reports, submit information; and helps them to quickly review details of pending items.

Furthermore, the technology must also be capable of delivering in ways that meet the needs of myriad stakeholders — a list that is not restricted to policyholders alone but can include any combination of underwriters, CSRs, adjusters, agents, claimants, and vendors.

Download our on-demand webinar, Transforming Your Workers’ Compensation Claims Organization With Digital Engagement, to learn more about the use of digital engagement tools available in Origami. 

The benefits of digital technology and digital engagement

Insurers that develop and execute on a solid digital strategy stand to gain substantially. According to the Accenture Interactive ebook, Digital Engagement Solutions for Insurance, insurers have much to gain from digitization. “Cloud-based digital technologies and the business models they support can release incumbents from many of their legacy constraints, transform others into competitive advantages, and accelerate a return to market leadership.” 

More specifically, as the ebook lays out, digital engagement capabilities can help in a number of ways, including enhancing the likelihood of acquiring “both new market entrants and competitors’ customers, strengthen their customer relationships, improve retention, and cultivate loyalty into advocacy.” 

If you’re interested in beginning a conversation about how core insurance solutions from Origami can help your organization transform its approach to digital engagement as it relates to policy administration, billing, and claim administration, contact us