Pandemic Stay-at-Home Experience Raises P/C Insurers’ Bar for Delivering Digitally

June 2, 2020

Significant investments in direct-to-consumer website and mobile design have helped property/casualty insurance companies improve their digital service and shopping experiences. Consultants at J.D. Power say insurers have made across-the-board improvements in clarity of information, but many still struggle with the balance of too much information and a minimalist approach, according to an analysis of the insurers participating in the firm’s 2020 U.S. Insurance Digital Experience Study.

The study evaluates digital consumer experiences among P/C insurance customers, examining the functional aspects of desktop, mobile web and mobile apps based on ease of navigation; appearance; availability of key information; range of services; and clarity of the information. The study was conducted in partnership with Centric Digital and Corporate Insight.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust digital shopping and customer self-service solutions into the spotlight,” said Tom Super, head of property and casualty insurance intelligence at J.D. Power.

Super said that even before the pandemic, P/C insurers were investing heavily in digital. “Across the board, we’ve seen the fruits of those investments: overall satisfaction scores for both new insurance shopping and existing account servicing have risen sharply during the past year,” he said.

“The line between brand and digital brand is rapidly disappearing as the lion’s share of insurance shopping and customer support interactions move to digital platforms,” said Michael Ellison, president of Corporate Insight. “Increasingly, insurers’ ability to balance providing the right information at the right time in a format that represents their unique identity will be the key differentiator that separates industry leaders from the rest of the pack.”

According to the 2 study:

P/C industry is meeting customer digital expectations—for now: Overall customer satisfaction with the P/C insurance customer service experience improved nine points year over year (on a 1,000-point scale) and overall satisfaction with the shopping experience improved 18 points, as the past several years of investment in digital start to pay off. However, customer expectations continue to rise, with shoppers consistently accessing more information than they have in the past, across more channels than ever before.

Too much information vs. minimalist mobile-first design: Finding the right balance when it comes to information density has been a challenge for insurers, with many providing too much complex and expansive information and others pushing heavily to a mobile-first approach. The ability to provide just the right amount of information is a key driver of customer satisfaction.

Forming a clear digital identity becomes key: Facing growing competition from insurtech start-ups and traditional carriers, P&C insurers need to be selective about the information they provide and how they present it digitally, with the objective being to create a corporate identity that flows from their overall brand strategies.

Among insurers participating in the study, GEICO ranked highest in the service segment for a third consecutive year with a score of 885. Allstate (877) and Liberty Mutual (877) ranked second in a tie, while American Family (867) ranked fourth.

National General ranked highest in the shopping segment with a score of 835, which is up 43 points from 2019. Kemper (820) ranked second and Erie Insurance (818) ranked third.

The study is based on 12,867 evaluations and was fielded in February-March 2020.

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