There have been more than 180 partnerships established between insurance providers and tech companies around the world since 2017. Incumbents and technology providers build partnerships to co-innovate and create value-added products, develop and explore new markets and segments. The number of partnerships occurring each quarter has grown from fewer than 20 in the first quarter of 2017 to over 30 in the fourth quarter of 2018, reported in Willis Towers Watson Quarterly InsurTech Briefing.
As the relationship between Insurers and InsurTechs continues to grow and develop, InsurTechs need to be mindful of they deliver meaningful results for the long term. They need to practice great customer service.
What is customer service?
Customer service is essentially the process of ensuring buyer satisfaction with a product or solution. It’s essential that insurance technology providers put their insurance partners at the heart of everything they do and ensure that they have the best possible experience working together. Part of this is to deliver a personalised customer journey, which requires getting to know your clients. Gaining in-depth knowledge of your customer, however, does not happen overnight – and can’t happen behind a computer screen.
At Digital Fineprint (DFP) we live our values and therefore invest a lot of time and effort into understanding our customers and developing valuable insights into their businesses. We aim to understand their motivation, their deepest aspirations, their biggest pain points and how we fit into the picture and help them succeed.
Here are our top three approaches we use at DFP for building effective long-term partnerships by putting our customers at the centre of every activity.
The Power of Observation
Shadowing or observing from the customer’s workplace is an effective way to ensure that the product or service meets their needs. The opportunity to observe and understand first-hand insurance operations and workflow processes is invaluable from both parties perspectives. Armed with this information and insight into customer processes, we then have the tools required to tailor the product or service to meet the individual needs of each client and help them overcome the challenges identified. There are some similarities between companies, but the bespoke nature of each company and the niche markets they serve should not be understated.
The importance of a collaborative approach was brought forward by Matthew Churchill of Hiscox at the Panel Discussion on ‘Strategic Partnerships with Insurers‘, he stated, “…the reason why the conversation between DFP and Hiscox continued is a true understanding of exploring this together. They ultimately listened and didn’t come with the preconceived idea that insurer knows nothing”.
The lesson learned – never underestimate the power of listening and learning from your existing and prospective customers. In our case, our values and our listening sets us apart and help to build successful partnerships. This level of customer service is tailored to customer needs but necessary to provide real value – and deliver data insights based on customer’s bespoke needs. It’s particularly necessary in Insurance, an industry that values relationships above all else and is layered with complexity.
Another integral part of our client relationships is working together to establish clear goals and to quantify the partnership success. In the past, we have heard insurers state lofty goals; ‘improve customer journey’, ‘improve profitability’ or ‘improve underwriting’. While these goals are admirable and achievable, they are difficult to quantify when assessing the success of the partnership. To overcome this challenge, we insist that we identify clear key performance indicators (KPIs) together, such as reduce the customer acquisition cost (CPC) by X amount, reduce % of loss ratios to or increase customer renewal ratios to X levels.
Creating identifiable and quantifiable KPIs provide both parties have the means to measure the ongoing success of the relationship and ensure that there is always cohesion and accountability for the project delivery.
The Adaptable Approach
By adopting an adaptable approach to our relationships with our clients, we aim to challenge current thinking and provide unexpected value. To do this successfully, technology providers require an in-depth knowledge of their client’s business and the external market. Using this understanding to deliver new insights may lead to new ideas or initiatives to improve business performance, operational effectiveness and ultimately drive business growth.
The unique value proposition insurtechs bring into the insurance industry lies in the shift from complexity to simplicity. A real-time, easy-to-use, configurable, customised and cost-friendly products and services tied within the new digital era. Ability to demonstrate a measurable value, flexibility and regular communications will discard initial uncertainties on the side of the insurance business, providing a solid start to a mutually beneficial partnership.
We hope that this gives you an insight into what we found works well when building long-lasting insurer-insurtech partnerships. If you have any thoughts or comments, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, it would be great to hear from you!
Written by Heidi Davies