Second only to the government in the contest for rigid systems, the insurance industry has been slow to adapt to technological and societal changes. Fax machines, rolodexes, reams upon reams of paper, and in-person sit-down meetings have long defined the way insurance business has been conducted.
Much of the reason behind this has been the difficulty for new, more nimble companies to enter the industry. There are complex legal hurdles, mountains of regulation, and lobbying not to mention the inherent difficulty of selling the product to enough people to create the risk pool required.
As a result, most of the insurance companies out there are behemoths made up of other merged behemoths that were at some point gobbled up by other behemoths.
The casualty in all of this has been the user experience; consumers are forced to navigate the industries half-hearted attempt to update to the digital age and are left demanding a better solution.
Is Insurance Out of Touch?
While health insurance specifically has been even slower than the rest of the industry, there has been progress in other less out of touch corners of the insurance market. A few companies have been disturbing the old order and offering true advancements in both product and UX.
A huge disrupter in renters and homeowner’s insurance is Lemonade. They’ve made a lot of waves with their premiums and claims system, which seeks to align provider and customer incentives. This, in combination with some other advancements, has also vastly improved the user experience.
Another company, possibly less well-known, that is making strides in UX is Trov. Trov sells very short-term property insurance, in addition to other insurance products, and it’s all done through an app. The idea is innovative and fresh but their attention to the way that consumers are interested in making purchases is what makes them stand out.
Historically, insurance companies have told the consumer where and how to shop for insurance but changing demographics and increasingly innovative competition are putting pressure on companies to meet consumers where they shop today.
Here are some ways that every insurance company should be adapting their user experience to catch up.
Insurance Should Be Easy to Understand
While some companies have attempted to streamline their quote process, most have failed to follow suit. You arrive at their website and often even finding the quoting tool (if one is available) is difficult. Then you are asked a series of questions, some of which don’t seem to even be relevant. Ultimately you are asked to contact an agent.
The content of the questions is driven by regulation, policy criteria, and data collection and it can be a struggle to limit them in a way that makes purchases more enjoyable. However, not driving interested parties away with too many requests is critical.
Lemonade utilizes AI to guide consumers to their quote and their site emphasizes communication of how their system works and what they can offer their customers.
Consumers shouldn’t be confronted with the web of insurance entities, parent companies, brokers and agents that many companies allow to bog down their offerings. Product offerings should be easy to understand. Following Lemonades lead in prioritizing and ensuring communication and clarity improves the user experience significantly.
Going Mobile: Mobile first insurance
Consider this: a 25-year-old today was 13 years old when the first iPhone hit the market. Faster than you think, a large demographic for all insurance will be dominated by consumers who have never known a life without digital technology.
These 25-year-olds are already doing a lot of shopping on mobile devices. And it’s not just them: there were over $200B in sales completed on mobile devices in 2018 and that number continues to grow.
Having a platform that is mobile first is critical to any B2C business going forward. In fact, the lack of mobile insurance capability present in the voluntary benefits industry is one of the problems that Genius Avenue set out to solve.
Early adopters and demographics who were younger when digital shopping began to take over are now aging into life stages and income brackets that span huge swaths of the insurance market. Some of these consumers are only vaguely aware of the way that insurance has been traditionally sold and would never dream of having a face-to-face meeting with an agent.
Going mobile is the way of the future; where insurance is sold, in addition to how, is only going to get more important as time goes on.
Product and Price Transparency
Whether using a smartphone, tablet or computer consumers expect to shop in a way that is familiar to them. When a purchase is made online the consumer is expecting to know what they’re paying and what they’re buying. To that end any insurance company seeking to adapt to changing customer demands needs to take a hard look at their available product information, pricing structure, and claims details.
The purchase of an insurance product does not end at checkout, it includes any future claims. If the customer finds their claims process to be different than what they expected at the time of purchase, they are likely to be dissatisfied with the product and seek an alternative.
Price transparency is equally important. A succinct explanation of costs creates trust between provider and consumer and complex pricing schemes are increasingly being replaced with more upfront systems within and outside of the insurance industry.
An emphasis on product and price transparency is not a new concept, however, the flip side of these UX improvements we’ve discussed is that as innovators break into the market, consumers will have more options that are more easily accessible than in the past.
The insurance industry has long lagged behind many other consumer facing businesses in user experience, but as demands change the industry must adapt. UX is increasingly the name of the game and Genius Avenue can help. Learn more about what we do here.