A higher degree of differentiation between generational segments, a greater willingness among people to exchange their data for added value, and the task of restoring client confidence in insurers are a few of the issues highlighted in the “Guide insurance customers to safety and well-being” report from Accenture.

EFMA and Accenture recently organized a virtual debate prompted by the trends observed. Participants included Mónica García Cristóbal, Corporate Chief Digital Business Officer at MAPFRE; Genoveva Pérez, Head of Global Customer Segments at Allianz SE; and Stuart Domingos, Group Head of Innovation at Zurich Insurance Group.

Moderated by Accenture’s Silvia Milian, the participants reflected on the demands and expectations of millennials and young people versus older clients, the importance of personalized insurance products and services, the move toward providing personal data, and the balance between digital services and the interaction and advice provided by insurance agents.

Mónica García recalled that “The large increase in digital interactions with clients gives us a better understanding of their behavior and needs. The increase in digital channels, along with the blurring of the boundaries between sectors drives us to be more creative in order to meet expectations,” she explained.

“We have a golden opportunity to offer truly innovative solutions and provide more value to the client,” said García Cristóbal.

Empowering both client and agent

Client empowerment has changed the rules of play. According to MAPFRE’s Corporate Chief Digital Business Officer, within the framework of an omnichannel strategy, one of the major axes of transformation is undoubtedly the relationship with different types of consumers.

That is precisely why it is vital to strengthen the perception of agents, providing them with digital capabilities that allow them to attract clients and enhance customer loyalty among insured parties through a greater online presence, social network activity and the ability to communicate through chats, video calls and text messages.

Trust and the human factor

Consumers want personalized, helpful insurance services adapted to their behavior. In Europe this year, the highest demand for products is in areas linked to safe driving, health and well-being. Millennials and young people show greater interest in a digital offering, and the choices they make when it comes to products or services also take into account the values of sustainability and security. We’ve seen that demand for personal home cyber-risk coverage grows when the premium includes the use of up-to-date software against computer viruses.

The stance of consumers regarding the exchange of personal data appears to be both conservative and pragmatic, with individuals being more likely to provide their data in return for a significant incentive such as a discount. However, over the last two years, the level of trust regarding the transfer of data to insurers has fallen by two points. In addition, consumers continue to value a balance between digital solutions and human contact.

All participants agreed that preserving the human factor is more important than ever, although digitization has been accelerated in the insurance industry — especially during the pandemic. Some policyholders would prefer to manage a claim more quickly with a chatbot, but others want to talk to a human who can give them guarantees. The use of one channel or another will depend on the individual and also on the particular moment or circumstances.

“At MAPFRE, we offer a personalized client experience using physical, remote and self-service channels. (…) The human factor is a unique ingredient,” highlighted García Cristóbal.

What are the recommendations for future insurers? Three in particular: That digital services be re-evaluated through a generational lens, that the product offering be personalized, and that confidence be restored through hybrid interaction.

Finally, the participants discussed the co-existence of insurers with new players such as Amazon and insurtech startups, pointing out that this will open the door to alliances, an ecosystem that brings challenges and allows insurers to show their experience and meet client expectations.