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Technology opens door to customer engagement

Products and offerings now form only part of the equation to attract customers, delegates at the International Insurance Society annual seminar in London have heard.

A panel discussion hosted by KPMG and featuring Allianz, Legal & General (L&G), Reinsurance Group of America (RGA) and Sun Life Financial heard leveraging technology to enhance the customer experience and deliver information is now as important.

An RGA discussion paper presented at this week’s seminar says technology allows for the quantification of health and fitness data, providing a new way to engage customers.

“Gamification” – the use of games to educate and motivate healthier lifestyle choices – is another engagement option.

Sun Life has created a stand-alone lifestyle forum – BrighterLife.ca – to build its brand through tips and information on subjects from healthy cooking to career management.

It also has an app called MoneyUP, which improves financial literacy through game play.

L&G says life insurers have in the past simply made products and relied on a distribution chain to sell them.

“To engage customers directly, this route to market will need to fundamentally change in order to embrace the digital world people live in today,” the company says.

Allianz admits consumers are ahead of insurers in blending use of offline and online channels.

“Web journeys” are proliferating, but are not necessarily likely to result in transactions.

“Offline iterations are, at the same time, very relevant but perhaps only for part of the journey, whether at the research stage or at the transaction stage,” Allianz says.

Sun Life says there is still a need for personal contact, but it is a challenge reaching younger consumers.

“They interact digitally almost constantly: researching products and services, buying, socialising, opining, ‘listening’ and seeking advice and validation. If insurers want to reach them, they must reach them where and how they live – online and on the move.

“In the process, they must also accommodate their conflicting demands for both openness and privacy.”

Sun Life still sees a role for advisers, but it says they must have the technology to engage with this social group.

“High-definition video conferencing, tablets with e-signature capabilities and other interactive mobile applications can make prospecting more efficient and expand their geographic reach.”

(Insurance News is the gold media sponsor for the International Insurance Society seminar in London.)

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