Home / Insurance / News /  Online Term plans haven’t kept pace with Motor peers

If we keep auto insurance aside and study the few sectors that have done really well on digital experience globally, we realize we still have a long way to go, especially with regards to serving customers looking for term and health insurance policies. What else could explain the abysmal conversions insurance platforms get (way lesser than 10%), despite an online experience, listing of the best products available, and a battery of call centre executives to persistently convince each lead?

Why might this be? Let’s take a look:

Stage 1: When the user wants insurance advice

As users begin their journey to identify the right solution for their needs and seek advice, they are bombarded with a massive amount of information that they cannot comprehend.

Jargon-filled, confusing content: Do a quick online search for any question, and you will find long-tailed text riddled with jargon, complex technical terms written more to get search engine traffic.

Conflict of interest: As soon as you speak to an agent, it doesn’t take a genius to instantly sense a sales agenda behind every product. While customers expect to get advice from these platforms, they are pushed towards a certain set of favourite products. Instead of empowering customer decisions, these processes work to generate sales calls.

Intrusive nature: One thing that annoys online insurance customers the most is receiving unsolicited calls—to ‘help’ them make a purchase or to ‘offer advice’ on an important decision they’re about to make. This can be annoying, as expected, but can also result in the user just dropping out of the journey right away.

The customer is in a Catch-22 situation. On the one side, thanks to the jargonized content, customers cannot decide on their own. On the other hand, when they seek help, they encounter advice that is not purely aligned to their interest.

Stage 2: When the user wants to buy the product

They push through the highly intrusive calls and confusing jargon, but arrive at the next big challenge. Buying is not easy at all!

Long forms with complicated questions: While insurance companies have decided to serve customers through digital fronts, a lot more needs to be invested into creating a smooth journey for a digital-native user. Honestly, to be able to answer each medical question correctly, one needs to have a dual degree—in medicine and law. While there have been incremental changes, the online sales experience is more or less a replica of the offline framework and, as a result, does not appeal to the digital user.

Imperfect metrics used to woo users: The much-hyped claim settlement ratio doesn’t make any sense for users. It does not provide any insight into the quality of experience or speed of response the user is likely to experience. There’s a need for better, more meaningful analysis of data that will really help users learn about the quality of the product, as well as the claims experience of the insurer so that they are assured that their investment into insurance will take care of them when they need it most.

Stage 3: When the user wants the policy

Unfortunately, the challenges don’t end after the user finds the right product. Check any social media platform and you will see two types of complaints. On the one hand, there are some complaining about too many spam calls for sales and, on the other, there are buyers complaining that no one answers or responds to their complaints and service requests.

As far as payments are concerned, most websites have a great experience. But as soon as that is done, the remaining experience of uploading KYC (know-your-customer) documents, undergoing medical tests, etc., is not well supported through automation, and relies too much on human intervention.

There is immense scope to make the process seemless using technology solutions.

For instance, customers talk about the series of reminder calls they receive for the same medical test from multiple stakeholders—the distributor, the laboratory, the lab aggregator and the insurance company. This can be very frustrating, and they see no way to bypass this ordeal.

Experience is the king and we shouldn’t forget it.

I may have painted a rather dark picture about the current online experience, but that is the only way we can take a deeper look at every such challenge the user faces.

We as an industry should see this as a ready opportunity for making lives just a bit easier for the customer, and turning a new leaf in improving this long-term relationship between them and the ecosystem, unless we want to wait for someone to come from outside and disrupt the industry.

Mahavir Chopra is founder and chief executive officer at Beshak.org

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