Suffice it to say, the coronavirus pandemic has shocked the world to the core. People realized how uncertain the future could be and how helpless they could be if they did not tread carefully. The next thing we know, the health crisis is taking our loved ones one by one until the death toll hits millions.
Conversely, people started to realize the importance of some form of protection such as life insurance. This policy covers the insured in case of an accident and death, thereby protecting the surviving family members. It is a contract between the insurance company and the policyholder, guaranteeing an amount to the predetermined beneficiaries.
There are two sides to life insurance that the pandemic created: claims and uptakes. On the one hand, COVID-related death claims are high. On the other hand, life insurance applications increased dramatically since the pandemic happened. The latter is just one trend, though. Below are the other emerging life insurance trends to know about.
Omnichannel: Modes of interaction are changing
Policyholders want an omnichannel experience. Checking updates on the website or application or seeking answers to questions through a chatbot or social media representative, whichever is more convenient, are the epitome of omnichannel.
Omnichannel means access to information whenever it is needed. Enhanced communication methods also mean bridging the gap between contemplating whether to buy and the actual decision to purchase a policy.
For the insurance company, it pertains to improved customer experience. For example, if a customer has questions about a life insurance product, he will contact the agent for answers. The more he knows, the better equipped he will be at comparing the products and deciding which to buy. So the proper knowledge is a driver of conversion.
Other than that, customers are checking digital platforms where the prospect insurance provider has a presence. The goal is to recheck for consistency and complementarity of life insurance product information.
Self-service: Alternatives are meant to empower
Digital adoption has become mainstream amidst the pandemic. Speeding up the application process is a valuable strategy today. This aligns with the consumers’ demand for self-service instead of the traditional sales and payment channels.
The 24/7 access has always been about ultimate convenience, accessing a portal anytime and anywhere the user pleases to. However, the pandemic compelled people to use touchless or contactless interactions with the brand.
Self-service options are digital alternatives that allow the prospects or the insured individuals to speed up the process from application to claim. Chatbots and digital assistants also give these individuals the impetus to learn more about the life insurance policies, their coverage, and benefits even before they contact an agent.
These are part of the customer-facing workflow that should be as streamlined as possible. If not, the prospects are always ready to switch insurance companies that offer them wider accessibility.
Digital adoption is apparent across age groups, so offering virtual assistance is perceived as enabling individuals to engage and own the process. Voice-enabled assistants are conversational. They offer a more remarkable customer experience than some human insurance agents are not able to provide.
Engagement: Health and wellness initiatives are embraced
Life insurance has static engagement because you get to use it when you have an accident, for instance. The minimal engagement is addressed by programs that target persistence and stickiness. For example, some policy companies offer rewards for healthy lifestyles as monitored through an enrolled wearable device.
Engagement aligns with the life journey of the insured individual while also increasing persistence, minimizing lapses, and ultimately, shifting mortality. For the insurance company itself, customer-led engagement is an excellent way to create opportunities for upselling and cross-selling life insurance opportunities.
Interestingly, health and financial benefits also drive engagement. Examples of the latter include discounts and rewards. These are program-tied value-added features rather than merely looking out for claims and payouts.
Customers are also after the non-financial benefits. Some examples are estate planning, wellness coaching, retirement planning, and continuing product information. Another important feature is the risk-control consultation, which is perceived as a more proactive way to monitor the health status of the policyholder and determine any significant changes. The last one is paramount to ensuring timely interventions.
Bottom-line, individuals are looking for assistance for their policy needs, including gathering information. Therefore, they would rely on the first available option not just because of convenience but also time-sensitive reasons.
The realization today is that when a policy can spell the difference between financial uncertainty and a more secure future, life insurance can no longer wait. But of course, virtually all of us want the latter. The pandemic is proof that we are not immune to uncertainties.
These omnichannel, self-service, and engagement trends scale the application process while also enhancing company-facing operations. With this said, it is safe to assume that these too may become fundamental to the post-COVID operation of the companies.
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