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Insurance and Customer Experience: The Search for a New Equilibrium

Authors: Luis Martinez and Jeff Tumpowsky

Customers of insurance companies have been relying on the adage Uberrimae Fidei (Utmost good faith) since the first contract was written in 2100 B.C. within “The Code of Hammurabi” (ref.), meaning that when something goes wrong (accident, illness, death, etc.), the company they have been paying premiums to will take care of a customer’s claim, process a claim and pay the insured some form of reparation financially or otherwise to make the customer “whole.”

The equilibrium of the equation remains “stable” for the insurance company as long as the pool of premiums exceeds total losses and for the customer, claims are paid in a timely manner and service is sufficient. However, technological advancements have increased the average customer’s expectations. The Internet and mobile devices, as an extension, have granted consumers access to endless amounts of data about products, opinions of those products, and experiences with those products. The game has changed. Read More »

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Omnichannel Insurance Makes its Debut at PegaWorld

We recently attended PegaWorld in National Harbor, Maryland, on June 8-10. The conference focused on how businesses today must adapt to technological innovation and utilize new solutions that deliver business agility and empower organizations so they can rapidly close execution gaps and seize new opportunities. Pega’s investment in a customer-centric strategy enables digital transformation, which is essential for an Omnichannel execution strategy that demands a new approach to software.

Pega 7 is a best in class Business Rules Engine (BRE) platform led by Chess Master and Founder Alan Trefler. These new BRE capabilities  enables Omni-Channel UX™, Next-Best-Action and Business Process Fulfillment, empower financial services firms to transform the way they engage with their customers, simplify their operations and adapt to market changes. Read More »

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Video Killed The Radio Star, But Can It Save The Insurance Agent?

On August 1, 1981, the world was introduced to Music Television as the first MTV music video, “Video Killed the Radio Star,” by The Buggles debuted. Today, music videos have grown from a pioneering use of video content to help convey the message of a song, to an automatic accompaniment to newly released music. Oftentimes, the song is now the background to the greater story told via video. The combined use of “music” and “video” to convey the artist message is a consumer expectation enhancing their customer experience.

So what does this have to do with insurance?

Today, many customers are increasingly turning to the internet and mobile devices to shop for insurance and interact with insurance providers. Direct writers and technology savvy providers like Progressive, Geico and Esurance are experiencing rapid customer growth. This growth has been supported by offering customers cutting-edge mobile technology services, while traditional insurance companies, supported by agents, are now challenged to keep up or risk losing market share. In fact, Geico recently surpassed Allstate for the number two position in auto insurance market share; outpaced only by long time industry leader State Farm.

There is hope for the insurance agency distribution model, however. The use of agents to purchase and handle insurance transactions is not likely going away. There are still many products and services that consumers prefer to interact with an agent for. The expectation of that interaction, however, is quickly changing. Today’s consumers live in an anytime, anywhere, any device world. This trend has become a main contributor for how we receive our news and information. It’s also how we make many retail purchases, access our entertainment and increasingly, how we choose to interact with insurance and financial services providers. Retail banks and wealth management firms have already begun offering real-time, virtual interactions with their customers via live “agents” or “advisors”. While we’ve been predicting the movement of this trend toward the insurance industry, Esurance’s recent release of the “Video Claims Appraisal” has provided a wake-up call and “shot across the bow” for insurers.

You don’t have to own a proprietary Amazon Kindle to get “Mayday”-like assistance at the touch of a button on your tablet. Today, technical capabilities that allow customers to escalate conversations and engage in real-time are being deployed throughout the market place. Insurance consumers will also have the ability to click to “connect now” from a company website or mobile application for on the spot virtual interaction with an insurance agent or representative. Consumers that need help with a quote, require assistance after an accident or loss, or who would like help with insurance or retirement planning can click to “connect now” anytime, anywhere, from any device they choose.

According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, video interaction is projected to overtake video content in volume by 2018. We use video today to stay in touch with loved ones, friends, colleagues and business partners. Now, we can use video to interact with our insurance agent when, where and how we need them. Savvy agents and carriers will recognize this trend and follow it, in order to help further differentiate the services they provide to their customers.  Those who do not acknowledge the video trend in insurance and begin utilizing it will be bogged down in their old ways of having to travel to the insurance agency when help is needed, work their way through a call center, make their way online, or worse, send an e-mail or written correspondence.

Today’s consumers can and will choose to interact with their insurance agents and providers via video. However, those companies that are providing multiple, convenient avenues for customers to interact with their agents will likely lead the industry. Cisco is changing the way we live, work, play, and now with video, the way you interact with your insurance agent! Learn more about Cisco’s solutions for insurance here.

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The We’re Listening Blog Series: Sharing Customer Experience Best Practices at the Walker B-to-B Customer Experience Summit

This month, I’m excited to welcome a very special guest author to the We’re Listening blog series. Joe Pinto is Senior Vice President of Cisco’s Technical Services group, with responsibility for a wide array of programs that support customer experience excellence at Cisco, including technical assistance, onsite and spare part logistics, certifications including CCIE, and technical support resources. Throughout his nearly 24 years at Cisco, Joe has championed the customer experience in all aspects of Cisco’s business. He also initiated and continues to sponsor an Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) program within Cisco, with a cross-functional group that is dedicated to improving the end-to-end customer and partner experience.

Joe recently gave a great keynote address at the Walker B-to-B Customer Experience Summit that talked about how companies can improve EoDB for their customers and partners – I’ve asked him to share some of those thoughts here, as well as his overall takeaways from the conference. Read on, and don’t forget to comment with your thoughts and questions for Joe.

jpinto By Guest Contributor Joe Pinto

Last month, I delivered the keynote at the Walker B-to-B Customer Experience Summit. At the event, Walker announced the findings from their latest case study The Value of Making it Easy. Given this focus, it was a great opportunity to share Cisco’s approach to improving Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) in the customer and partner experience.   Read More »

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Interaction Technology: Neutralizing the Barriers of Time, Location, and Staffing Levels

In my last blog, I continued the discussion about the 24-hour bank and how banks must transition from the physical business model to the digital business model. As part of my series on the 24-hour bank, this post builds on the question of how banks could begin to develop the capabilities, enabled by technology, to address the operational and logistical challenges inherent in operating in a customer-driven 24-hour world.

First are the factors that shape our existing banking distribution model: the traditional route to market and how clients connect and interact with their bank. Starting with branches, the traditional distribution model has evolved with the development of technologies such as the telephone, ATM’s, and the Internet. While these technologies provided increased options for clients to interact and transact, they were still affected by constraints of the existing operating model– the availability of bank staff with the requisite skills.

How so? Contact centers, telephone, and online banking required a shift in staffing models to enable customers to interact and transact outside of the normal work day. ATM’s began to allow customer self-service for certain basic transactions at any time of day. Collectively, these technologies extended operating hours for clients, but services were limited due the fact that the expertise required for more complex services were still unavailable outside the traditional workday. Read More »

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