A panel of business and technology experts examine how insurers are using state-of-the-art digital platforms to jump-start their direct-to-consumer channel efforts.
Panelists include Michael Clifton, SVP, Insurance Global Strategy, Cognizant; Todd Eyler, Platform Leader, Insurance Practice, Cognizant; and Yaron Ben-Zvi, CEO and Co-Founder, Haven Life.
For decades, insurers have talked about serving consumers more directly. But few have been fully successful, with many projects either falling short or deliberately limited in scope to avoid upsetting existing sales relationships.
Insurers have long practiced direct marketing, but that was usually via channels such as mail and telephone. Those methods were transferred to the internet, but often involved starting a transaction online and finishing it via another channel. Today'
To succeed in today's self-directed market, products need to be built for an online, self-directed experience. Customers may choose to handle the entire transaction online, or just a portion.
Direct to consumer selling works not just because insurers have the technology, but customers have the desire and comfort. Not surprisingly, D2C customers are comfortable with technology and believe the quickest route is through their own initiative.
Communications technology has advanced enough to support direct to consumer platforms. The path to selling more complex financial products will be built through better use of data and intelligent customization of the buying experience.
Direct to consumer channels benefit from the training that other sectors have provided to customers who are not only comfortable with online shopping, but prefer it.
Building a direct to consumer channel takes commitment and patience, and requires developing products and systems that support the channel.
Insurers have invested decades and fortunes in building hardware and software to support their traditional operations. Building direct to consumer channels takes committing to technology, but does not necessarily mean abandoning core systems.
Insurers building direct to consumer channels need to design for simplicity, both in product design and user experience.