2013 and Beyond: An Insurance CEO’s Playbook

2014 insurance carrier outlook Hard to believe, but another year will soon come to an end. Has your insurance business experienced the kind of growth you were anticipating? Hopefully the answer is yes! But what is it going to take to make next year even better? Well, you may want to take a page out of the insurance CEO’s playbook.

Nearly 90 percent of insurance company executives are confident their companies will experience revenue growth next year, according to a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the world's largest professional services firms. And half of those surveyed say they are planning to step up investment in customer service, new technology and talent as they seek to reinforce customer acquisition and loyalty next year.

Here are some of the things they are planning to do, that you can try too.

  1. Growing customer base

    Seventy-one percent of insurance CEOs said they were going to make growing their customer base a top priority in 2014, and the quickest and easiest way to do this is to prove time and time again that you have your clients’ best interests in mind. A surefire way to do this is to constantly be on the lookout for ways to save people money. But don’t just make the discovery, shout it from the rooftops.

    You’ve surely seen the commercials from the major insurance companies by now about their usage-based insurance (UBI) and telematics programs. In exchange for putting a device in their cars that allows the insurance company to track mileage and driving behaviors, lower rates are offered to customers, as long as their driving behavior is deemed to be reasonable.

    If your insurance company decides to start offering a similar program, advertise the heck out of it. Let people know they have the potential to save tons of money if they switch over to your company and sign up for this program.

    Telematics devices measure a number of elements of interest to underwriters: miles driven; time of day; where the vehicle is driven (GPS); rapid acceleration; hard breaking; hard cornering; and air bag deployment. The insurance company then assesses the data and charges insurance premiums accordingly.

    Another way to grow customer base is by focusing attention on all the discounts your company offers for customers with multiple policies.

  2. Enhancing customer service

    The second highest priority for growing business in 2014 is going to be enhancing customer service. Fifty-nine percent of insurance CEOs said that is going to be where they focus their attention next year.

    Among the ways you can enhance customer service offerings, if you don’t do it already, offer 24-hour customer service. You don’t necessarily need to have staff at the office 24/7. You can forward your calls to an answering service.

    Other ways to enhance customer service include offering resources on your website, such as a collection of articles that include information about all the different policies your company offers, forms customers can access any time of the day or night, and a list of contact numbers for authorized mechanics and contractors.

  3. Increasing technology use

    The use of technology is growing both for internal and consumer-facing uses. More than 80 percent of insurance CEOs are planning to increase investment in technology and more than 60 percent plan to develop their capacity for innovation.  This technology not only helps with the design and underwriting of insurance policies, but also distribution. For example, insurance companies are using technology to provide e-delivery of documents for customers, apps for clients to  bundle and manage policies and portals for parents to review a teenager’s driving behaviors.

    Being able to grow customer base, enhance customer service and increase technology use in house will not only make your company more efficient, it will save money in the long run as you’ll no longer have to outsource these critical services.

Remember, there’s no better way for agents to build retention, loyalty, better brand recognition and culture than by acting in the customers’ best interest every step of the way! These overarching ideas are great on paper but true success will be home grown, so look at these expectations as guidance, not a sure fire marketing plan as you know your customers best.

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