Gap cover going digital – transforming the industry and the customer experience
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By Tony Singleton
We all know that Covid caused acceleration in digital transformation across all industries, and the short-term insurance sector is no different. The need to immediately limit personal contact turned the entire industry on it’s head and forced rapid change to take place. For gap cover providers, this has presented a unique opportunity to improve the customer experience while enhancing business agility and efficiency.
The Covid effect
When gap cover providers were suddenly forced to conduct business via digital channels, a whole host of new business processes needed to be put into place rapidly. Elements such as applications and claims needed to be digitised, consultations had to be done via video call or telephone, and even advertising had to shift from printed brochures. Basically, the entire paper-based ecosystem needed to change. While this was certainly disruptive, it has actually proven to be hugely beneficial, both for insurers and their customers.
A better customer experience
With digital solutions now firmly in place for things like claims and applications, customers are able to complete these processes much faster than before, at a time and place that is convenient to them. This caters to the millennial generation, making insurance much more intuitive for them to obtain. Processes are streamlined, enabling providers to deliver faster responses, which means that both applications and claims can be processed a lot faster.
Another area where digitisation has seen huge uptake is in customer service. Chat bots and other automated self-help features reduce the burden on call centre staff and make it possible for customers to get answers to many basic questions 24x7. This not only enhances efficiency; it reduces reliance on people, which in turn reduces human error. Digital communications also improve response times, and with online portals customers can log in to view their information and status of applications and claims in real time. Digitisation of the short-term insurance sector is overdue, and plays into the need for instant gratification that has become paramount in today’s world.
Business benefits too
With data being obtained digitally, compliance with legislation like the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA) becomes somewhat less complex than it would be with paper-based processes. As claims and applications departments become fully automated and digital, human contact is reduced. It also reduces the environmental impact, because there is no need to print anything.
The digital customer journey also ensures that all of the correct documentation is submitted the first time, which makes the process more efficient and simultaneously more satisfactory to customers. Analytics can be applied to the data obtained to identify trends, improve cross-selling and up-selling and inform business decisions around new products and services. These new products and services can be taken to market faster, making insurers more agile and adaptable to a shifting landscape.
Keeping the customer in mind
Improving processes means that businesses are more efficient, and therefore more cost effective. This helps insurers to keep the cost of their premiums lower, and passing these savings on to customers can drive increased business. Ultimately, digital is a point of competitive differentiation, but it is essential to always keep the customer journey top of mind. The end goal should always be to make things easier and better for customers, meeting their needs to drive better business decisions and operational efficiency.
Tony Singleton is the CEO at Turnberry