Contributor: Andrew Rickard
In markets across Asia Pacific, the convergence of technology is placing more and more power in the hands of consumers. The modern insurance buyer now has ready access to product data from multiple companies, qualitative information about company reputations, and the ability to easily make comparisons. As a result, the consumers that insurers now service are better informed and tend to be more actively involved in their purchasing decision.
Because of this, it becomes increasingly important that insurers know their clients. Not in the sense of sales regulations (KYC), but rather, in their understanding of where potential and existing clients are coming from. That means building a knowledge base of consumers’ behavior based on facts, with clear segmentation definitions, and a value proposition that truly resonates with the client. The value proposition should reflect the consumer’s needs and wants, and communicate in a relevant and meaningful way.
Insurers also need to make a real effort to grow a more intimate relationship with existing clients. This doesn’t mean trying to transform the company into a “warm and fuzzy” organization – let’s face it: insurance will remain something on which people spend money grudgingly. But insurers can and should communicate with clients in relevant ways, whether that means by email to a 20-something, a telephone call to a 30-something, or by traditional post. Both the delivery method and the communication itself should be made appropriate to the audience.
Insurers also need to gather more information about their clients. Take a lesson from Google, who are the masters at collecting small pieces of information to build up an understanding of their audience and then target appropriate messages (well, advertisements at least). Although the technology is available, most insurers in Asia Pacific do little if any investigation or enriching of their client databases. The little that is done tends to be limited to someone in the marketing team rather than the people that maintain the actual client relationships.
What is needed is a systematic approach to building a more thorough understanding of the client through ongoing development of a rich database – and turning the data into information, then followed through by pushing the information out to the client-facing parts of the organisation such as salespeople, client services staff, and the claims team.
The data is available. Companies need to take advantage of technology to deliver an improved experience and show that they truly know their clients.