Insurance, as a whole, has weathered a rough year in 2020. Some predict that the Indian insurance industry will seek growth through new service-based models, innovative products, and better focus on prevention. In fact, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has already issued new norms whereby health policies will include wellness cover and preventive measures. Policyholders can even earn rewards for following healthy regimes. Even tele-medical processes for underwriting insurance may become the norm, given the right digital infrastructure.

As the world gets used to new ways of engaging with customers and doing business, insurers need to revitalise their offerings in keeping with the changing definitions of health, risk, security, and stability. The ‘SAT score’ approach can help insurers use the right strategy to tailor campaigns, products and services that are relevant for today’s marketplace.

What is the SAT score?

SAT stands for speed, accuracy and trust.

Across organisations, these three attributes can help drive a productive working culture and enhance customer perceptions. Let us take a look at how these three attributes apply specifically to the insurance industry.

Speed: Being available and responsive

Today, speed is the biggest differentiator in the marketplace. Speed refers to how quickly businesses respond to customers and make resources available.

In banking and insurance, most CXOs focus on cost rather than speed. They rely on the slow pace of the competition that is often the result of evolving regulations. While dynamic and stringent regulations do make speed and scale a challenge, areas in finance like payments and mortgages are gaining significant differentiation in recent years thanks to digital capabilities. On the other hand, areas like client servicing and query resolution continue to lag behind.

The rule of thumb here is the 180-second rule: When a client calls any business or enterprise, no matter the size, they have to respond within 180 seconds. These 3 minutes can cost companies new opportunities, sales, and their edge. Often, the bigger the company, the faster the service.

Fuelled by the pandemic, most insurers realise the need for agile digital. Enabling such speed and proactive response to market forces calls for robust technologies. For instance, cognitive chatbots, mobile-first insurance services, and robotic process automation support speedy customer service, loan origination and customer underwriting.

Accuracy: Right decisions for desired outcomes

Accuracy is the precision and sharpness with which insurance firms can handle programmed and non-programmed decisions within the company. It includes the right domain expertise, attention to detail, proactive servicing and more. The quality and credibility of any product can only be defined by the accuracy with which it is developed, positioned, marketed, and supported.

In India, customer awareness has been a constant challenge, accentuated by the multi-lingual nature of the population. Without clearly understanding the terms of the policies, customers are likely to experience disappointment and abandon their plans, resulting in losses for both the company as well as the policyholder.

Customer service teams should access modern technologies that foster communication, customer sentiment, cross-selling, and issue resolution. Capabilities like AI give insurers access to alternate sources for risk profiling, allowing more accurate underwriting decisions. While eKYC simplifies onboarding, automated claims management ensures transparency and visibility, thereby cementing customer trust in insurance providers. The latest rules for eKYC issued by IRDAI and backed by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) are simplifying authentication procedures for insurers, making insurance underwriting, and purchasing more accurate than before.

Trust: Forging loyalty through transparency

The rural and urban populations within India are dynamically different, presenting significant hurdles for insurers looking to build trust in new segments. Historically, insurance has been treated with distrust because of its convoluted pricing strategies, impenetrable processes, and poor customer awareness. Trust, therefore, is critical not just for customer satisfaction, but even to sustain the business.

The combination of speed and accuracy organically builds a sense of trust in the brand or company. By inculcating trust into the mix, customer habits can be moulded and customer loyalty earned. Companies providing mobile-based payment services have amassed a steady stream of subscribers through a wide portfolio including different digital products and services like utility payments, money transfers, and insurance plans covering accidents and death liability.

Advanced technologies like blockchain are known to infuse trust and transparency in previously opaque processes. Blockchain’s unique smart contract feature allows customers and provider to enter agreements with clear rules, protecting all stakeholders. Powered by new technologies, insurers can enhance trust by rolling out services using analytics for alternate pricing and robotics for insurance advice and assisted decision-making.

Thus, an approach that leverages digital for speed, accuracy and trust will equip insurers with a high SAT score to ensure market differentiation and customer mindshare.

Views are personal. The author is Senior Vice President & Global Head – Insurance, Infosys.

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