embrace new technologies to gain the data necessary for
3 Omni-Channel Expectations: The era of multi-channel
operations, for many organizations, has shifted from “many
channels” to “all channels.” To enable channel management,
insurers must enable seamless communications between the
channels, including real-time, seamless transfers of conversations and information. Insurers are providing self-service
capabilities for both the agent and the policyholder—
extending beyond quote to full-service capabilities.
4 New Customer Experiences Outside of Insurance: Individuals and businesses are now accustomed to rapid, engaging communications with companies in other industries.
Retail, travel, banking, entertainment, and others are resetting expectations. For example,72 percent of millennials
used their smartphones for online banking in 2014, but all
age groups participated in mobile online banking, including
34 percent of those over age 50, according to “Could You
Live Without Your Smartphone?” based on Pew Research
Center American Trends Panel Survey.
5 The Digital, Connected World: The emerging connected world is increasing customer touches and driving new
experiences. As the smart home, connected car, networked
factory, and other domains become connected, the opportunities to interact and provide new value increase significantly. By 2020, there will be five billion people and 50 billion
things connected to the Internet, according to a report from
ironpaper.com titled “Internet of Things Market Statistics –
As a result of these five drivers we also see the emergence of
new roles. Based on SMA research with SVIA in March 2016,
23 percent of insurers have chief digital officers, 34 percent have
a chief customer experience officer, and 51 percent have a chief
marketing officer. This is not a coincidence; businesses and or-
ganizations are moving toward digitalized models. All positions
are involved in defining the new digital customer-experience
vision, roadmap, and plans.
In keeping with the five drivers of a digitalized customer experience, we see insurers investing along the same lines. SMA’s
2016 Insurance Ecosystem Research revealed that 85 percent
of insurers are working on some type of customer engagement
and experience strategic initiative. That is staggering and shows
a clear trend. We also identified three other key initiatives from
our annual IT spending research.
The first is CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems. Given the new level of understanding and personalization
needed for customer experience, CRM systems are required for
building strong and enduring relationships in life and personal
lines. For commercial lines, CRM systems promote greater
focus on broker relationships. Modern CRM systems are also
becoming necessary to provide new linkages among policyholders, agents/brokers, and insurers.
Next, personal lines,
small commercial lines,
and life insurers are
investing in omni-channel capabilities. Today’s
customers are accustomed
to having many options
for communicating with
companies. Insurers must
not only provide multiple
channels (including broad-based mobile and digital
options), but they must
do so with an awareness
of how customers navigate between channels.
Omni-channel capabilities are starting to be designed and
deployed based on an understanding of customer journeys and
the realization that exchanges of information and interactions
between channels must be done smoothly and in real time.
Usually the first release is a self-service portal for either the
agent or policyholder.
Finally, we see investment in Customer Communications
Management (CCM) for personal and commercial lines across
various business units. Insurers are investing in modern solutions to create, manage, and deliver both digital and non-digital
content to policyholders and agents. The goal is a common CCM
solution for marketing, quotes, proposals, policy contract statements, and claims correspondence to ensure a consistent brand
with content that is accurate, personalized, and compliant.
At SMA, we see customer experience and digital working in
tandem and complementing each other. Digitalization enables
strong customer experience capabilities and a better-performing
business. Embracing next-gen technologies is taking a step in the
right direction. The research supports it. So do the drivers pushing
the focus forward on the digitalized customer experience. ITA
Deb Smallwood, the founder of SMA, is recognized for
her expertise in investing in technology to influence competitive advantage in the insurance industry. She can be
reached at 603-770-9090 or at dsmallwood@strategy-
Based on SMA
officers and 34
percent have a