However, the Deloitte Global survey also found that many respondents wanted advice on more complex challenges, such as cybersecurity, systemic risks and legal issues. In such cases, insurers and agents may be able to charge additional fees for risk management services. But, since small business budgets are often very limited, automation can still be a viable alternative.
For example, policyholders could be offered online, interactive, industry-specific training programs on cybersecurity, which would benefit insurers and buyers by limiting losses. Such programs could be produced by insurers or sellers and then offered directly to policyholders or provided through agents. An example is CyberAcuView, a cyber risk mitigation company created by a group of leading cyber insurers.9
Another alternative is a hybrid model, with a self-service robot complemented by video conferencing or instant messaging with a live advisor, similar to investment management firms such as Ellevest,ten Wealth facet,11 and many others that support individual investors.
Overcoming Barriers to Self-Service Adoption
A possible barrier to the widespread use of online self-service is the desire of most small business policyholders surveyed to deal with a live person rather than a chatbot or other automated meeting. Three-quarters of respondents would prefer face-to-face or telephone contact, at least when it comes to selling insurance.
To overcome resistance to automated interactions, insurers could provide an online onboarding tool at the point of sale to inform policyholders of all services available through the insurer’s website or smartphone app, while putting emphasis on simplicity and ease of navigation when using automated tools. They can also provide gamification incentives where regulations permit, scoring points that could earn them premium reductions for taking online risk management courses, documenting suggested loss control steps, and/or exceeding peer security criteria.
Insurers could also add value by staying in digital contact with policyholders throughout the year, rather than only connecting at transactional points such as initial application, renewal billing or when claims are filed. Supplementing policies with risk management email newsletters, texts offering safety tips or storm alerts, sharing case studies of successful loss control initiatives, as well as ongoing digital marketing of free options -service and their benefits could keep insurance in mind and provide additional benefits throughout an insurance year.
One example is Nationwide’s Enterprise Solutions Center, which provides a variety of information on recovering from COVID-19 related issues, cybersecurity and resilience, as well as additional non-insurance related advice ranging from cash flow management to online strategies.12
Ultimately, however, buyers should also have an easily accessible default human option, enabling video, chat or phone contact with a live customer service representative from the insurer or agent if robo-advisors and online self-help instructions are not enough. This is likely to be particularly important at times that matter most to an insurer’s reputation, such as when claims issues arise.
How could insurers enable more value-added self-services?
- Follow the path of the robotmake personalized after-sale services viable by providing digital tools to help small businesses manage their insurance portfolio, report and track claims, and improve risk management.
- Keep automated tools simple and convenient to locate, navigate and integrate via apps and a user-friendly online portal.
- Engage digitally all year round offering push/pull loss control programs and premium savings incentives.
- Provide human support readily available in case of problems or more complicated questions.