Insurance Sector Moves Digital-First to Support Shifts in Buyer Behavior

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The insurance industry, often perceived as lagging in innovation and adapting to consumer needs, is undergoing a notable transformation.

Traditionally reliant on agents for product sales, the industry is seeing a gradual shift away from this model, said Andrea Heger, senior vice president of insurance services at Franklin Madison, leaving consumers with fewer resources to navigate insurance options.

Recognizing this gap, companies like Franklin Madison, which provides insurance products and marketing services to financial institutions (FIs), are emphasizing digital engagement to meet consumer needs.

“One of the most important strategies is the ability to meet the customer in their home with insurance education and insurance product offers through the digital channels and devices that they frequently use,” Heger told PYMNTS in a recent interview.

But unlike a typical retail transaction, purchasing insurance is a nuanced decision-making process that requires “nurturing consumers through,” Heger said, emphasizing the need for traditional channels alongside digital to enhance the overall consumer experience and optimize results.

For instance, direct mail offers prompt a diverse response: approximately 40% of recipients utilize the QR code provided to initiate their online education journey. Around half of these individuals proceed to make an immediate purchase via the online channel. However, the remaining half opt to fill out paper applications or prefer seeking clarification on product details via phone conversations before completing their purchase.

According to Heger, this multifaceted approach underscores the significance of cross-channel integration, emphasizing the diverse preferences and pathways consumers take when exploring their insurance options.

Personalized vs Generic Experiences

Personalizing communication and enhancing the customer experience are pivotal objectives across various industries, including insurance and banking.

Drawing inspiration from successful practices within the banking sector, where personalized experiences are driven by customer segmentation and behavior analysis, companies like Franklin Madison have heavily invested in technology to deliver tailored experiences, Heger said.

“We possess extensive consumer data regarding insurance purchases and reactions,” she said, “so, we’ve started leveraging some of our data profiles to implement simple personalization strategies based on the number of products consumers hold with us or [their status] within our banking relationship.”

Expanding on this groundwork, recent initiatives have seen the integration of marketing technology within the company’s operations, including the utilization of personalized URLs and digital experiences to further enhance customer interactions.

While still in the initial phases, Heger noted that these efforts have shown promising outcomes. “There’s a certain level of expectation, particularly when dealing with your bank or credit union, that they understand you,” she said. “So, you just cannot offer a generic experience to consumers anymore. It’s almost deemed a faux pas within the industry.”

AI’s Potential in Insurance Marketing

Looking ahead, Heger said emerging technologies hold immense potential to revolutionize insurance marketing strategies.

First, she highlighted investments aimed at enhancing the end-to-end digital experience for consumers. These integrated online platforms, facilitating seamless buying, fulfillment and policy servicing, are gaining traction for their ability to bolster customer retention and unlock future revenue streams.

Additionally, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) stands to significantly enhance marketing efforts, from improving call center experience to enabling real-time offers based on individual consumer behavior and triggers.

Ultimately, AI’s capacity to reshape data analysis and customize marketing campaigns has the potential to maximize the utility of organizational data, leading to transformative outcomes across the insurance industry.

“People have been talking about trigger marketing for a long time, but it’s been very rudimentary. However, with the advent of AI, there’s an opportunity to leverage that technology to maximize all the great data we have as organizations … without solely relying on manual modeling processes,” she said.

Image by: Pixabay

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