We at Chromium enjoyed the conversations around technology at the IMCA Annual Conference in Atlanta. And we look forward to more at the annual Insuretech Connect show in Vegas, which we attend every October.
Insurance technology has been around 60 years, dating to the mainframe days. Tech was developed from the inside out: Insurance people have come up with iterative changes, trying to reduce the time to rate a policy, for example.
Today, insuretech is coming from the outside in. Call it “innovation” or “disruption” if you like. We view many as “enablers.” Thanks to their deep pockets and new ideas, they are enabling much-needed improvements in the insurance consumer experience. The industry’s idea of saving a day on underwriting turnaround doesn’t mean much when insuretechs want to eliminate underwriting, period.
What does this all mean for your brand? New technologies are having a huge impact on the insurance marketing profession. It’s an exciting time.
Besides listening to conference speakers, we’ve been talking with insuretech leaders. Here are five ways marketers can make sense of it all:
If you haven’t already thought of this, insurance marketers need new metrics. Brand awareness or cost per impression aren’t enough. Data means you can measure in smarter ways, such as cost per sale. Or how about helping your agents mine the detail they and you have on past customers? Because of the cloud, you can leverage some incredible data-sifting tools at low cost.
IMCA speaker and investor Brian Cohen told the audience to switch to offense, using new technology. “Find how can you engage in and change the way you’re doing things in your organization, whether you’re in charge of a small business unit, a department, or the whole company.”
“Where does insurance marketing go? Product, claims, actuarial, distribution?” asked Cohen. “Your role is so critical, it should go at the center.”
The Customer Is Always Right?
No. That’s always been a false assumption – and, unfortunately, it’s often an equally false core value hanging in the cafeterias of corporate America.
However, you DO need to be customer facing more than ever. Insurance people can’t just talk with each other for solutions. People have experiences with your brand – well before he or she even becomes a customer until… well, perhaps forever.
Consumers want simple, choice and convenience. They compare their insurance experiences with today’s banking and shopping environments. Like Amazon. There is too much friction in insurance. And, again, marketers need to use data wherever possible. While data abounds from multiple sources, you can learn a lot with old-school research, such as telephone interviews and discussion groups, about how to turn data into knowledge and wisdom to improve customer experiences.
‘Generalist’ Is Dead
You’ve got to stand out by standing FOR something. You can no longer be a generalist firm. The most profitable companies explore one or more product or marketing niches. Even if your firm sells all kinds of insurance coverages, find ways to bring a sense of “We understand your needs” to your marketing. Segment and then segment again. People want to know you understand them. This is part product strategy, part data, part brand strategy, and part marketing. Contact Chromium for help.
Spread the Fun
The insuretechs are seeking to build a new environment for customers – they are growing their communities of customers who aren’t dished out jargon as well as growing communities of workers who aren’t told what to wear or when to work. Disruption is an opportunity – you just need to view it in the right way. Let’s face it, a lot of the insurance process does cost too much, take too long, and is overly confusing. Don’t give in to the jargon and insider-speak. Change the rules. Speak in plain English.
Agents & Brokers Rule
Folks, do not give up on independent agents and brokers. They will evolve, and not all will succeed, but they’re going to be important for a long time. They own a lot of customer relationships.
We love this quote from Chris Mead, Gallagher’s CMO, at the IMCA Conference: “This industry is going to enter a period of disruption that will be fun. Not bad… fun. Change is going to be driven by technology and data. It’s not going to be Lemonade. It’s going to come from within, because we own distribution. We have to be good custodians of it, but we own distribution. We can be the innovators.”
So, it’s back-to-school time. Is it time for your brand to head to class to freshen up on some skills? Give Chromium a call – we can guide you on the course from status quo to innovator brand.