Last week I introduced how technology has changed and continues to change our lives. Technology advances are easier to see with companies such as Amazon, Uber, and Netflix, they are also leading to change in the insurance arena. Most of the technology changes in insurance have been in the “back office,” the area most consumers don’t see. As an independent insurance advisor, these changes make it easier for me to quote prospective clients policies, service existing clients’ policies, and even manage my business.
Changes visible to the consumer have made great gains too and that’s what I want to focus on today. The key areas technology should have the greatest impact on are shopping for a policy, getting policy documents, administering a policy or making changes as needed, and handling a claim. We’ll examine the quoting, policy documents and policy administration in this post and focus on claim administration in a separate post.
Quoting: Every insurance company has a web presence which provides information about insurance and the policies they offer. They also offer a chance to obtain a quote for either car, home, renters, or some other type of personal insurance. Most are easy to use though a few are cumbersome to navigate or assume the buyer understands the coverage components and limits of the policy they are quoting. I quoted Sheri’s and my policies online with all the major carriers tonight and was surprised at the wide range of premiums each returned.
There are a couple of concerns I have with several of the web sites, they depend on honest and accurate self-disclosure of any tickets, accidents, or property claims. None appear to run a CLUE report, which shows claims, or a MVR report, which shows tickets. If you enter inaccurate information into the quote, you’ll receive an inaccurate rate. All but two of the carriers I reviewed could handle a not at fault accident claim, one where we were hit by another driver. My concern with those two carriers is that the quotes had such a huge swing in prices I was skeptical about their accuracy.
Policy Documents: Most carriers allow a policy holder to register as an online client. To register, you’ll need to enter an online name or email address and in some cases, your policy number(s) or some other identifier. Once registered, you can make payments online and in most cases, view documents such as the policy itself, a summary of coverage, and in a few instances, a copy of your car insurance ID card.
Policy Administration: I have yet to see any carrier which allows the policy holder to make change of vehicles, adjusting coverage, adding a driver, etc. I suspect Geico and Progressive may allow that as they appear to be farther along on the client interface with their websites than the other standard carriers. This may be partly due to the fact the other carriers want to direct the policy holder back to an agent, a customer service person, or they are concerned the consumer will make a mistake resulting in an unfortunate outcome.
While getting a quote and shopping for insurance, paying for it, and obtaining policy documents has become dramatically easier due to technology advances, servicing a policy seems to be a way off. The real frontier for enhancing the consumer experience lies in a different direction, however. In 2016 the number of people accessing the internet via a mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet surpassed PC users. This means insurance companies will need to provide apps as good or better than their websites to deliver an excellent consumer experience. Those that miss the boat in this area will be playing catchup.
What do you think? Share your thoughts, questions, and experiences with me on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!