The business of insurance, ever since its inception centuries back, has flourished globally. Though customer demographics had been evolving year by year, it has not quite affected the perception of insurance to the global citizen, until the millennials came in.
Millennials are less of a demographic and more a psychographic. They are distinctly characterized by their inherent nature of asking for more from brands. They are, in general, tech savvy and prefer to act in a self-directed mode, usually facilitated via digital channels. This really has challenged insurers to think about revisiting their traditional marketing strategies in a bid to connect better with the millennials and to entice them to buy insurance.
Interestingly, customer engagement has been an area where the insurance industry has been lagging till date. The overarching goal of marketing for carriers, therefore, is going to be bridging this gap in years to come. Keeping the customers engaged is rewarding – engaged customers typically are high on the loyalty quotient and would not only fetch repeat business for their insurers but also get referrals. Therefore, it is imperative for the insurance carriers to look at marketing as a top priority in this digital age, where technology at hand is a key enabler to newer operating models.
Making a connect
Does the current scenario mean that insurers should throw in more dollars in their marketing spend across a proliferated digital distribution network via websites, portals, smartphone push notifications, telemarketing, etc.? Well, there is a catch.
True marketing success lies in understanding the pulse of the prospect first. Insurance products, by their very nature, require advisory channels to facilitate a sale. If digital marketing talks about a direct reach, one has to respect the symbiotic relationship that exists between product and channel. While some of the complex products still would rely on human intervention, new insurance products are designed keeping customer experience in mind. These products are simpler and easier to be sold via digital channels. Hence, insurers are encouraged to look at innovative digital marketing techniques catering to the newer product lines. There are great examples - Ladder is offering people instant, fully underwritten life insurance online1, resorting to a direct digital marketing and selling channel (No Brokers). On the P&C side, Trov has reinvented insurance with its on-demand platform available to the mobile generation - offering protection for common electronic items2.
Marketing is not just propagandizing products via omni channel but making a direct connect to the consumers and redesigning a customer experience that gets them glued automatically. Digital, above all, has facilitated this proximity to the customers and hence provided an opportunity to embrace new ways of marketing.
One key aspect is the shift from insurance as a product to insurance as a service. E.g. Personal Auto was earlier sold as a conventional product for car owners or renters. But with the advent of rideshare insurance, it now reaches a wider audience e.g. passengers who avail cab services want to get insured during the course of their trips. This is both lightweight in terms of premium, and also at the discretion of the consumer. Insurance offerings such as these are thriving because technology is the prime enabler. Distributing insurance to the masses with unprecedented volumes of policy issuance, claims could not have been possible otherwise, as traditional insurers struggle with operational bandwidth. Insurance is being made accessible to consumers effortlessly over a smartphone, with an optional click to enforce a policy. Marketing insurance was never this easy.
Another interesting perspective is that, backed by rising disposable incomes, millennials are looking at traditional insurance cover (e.g. auto or home insurance) more as a liability rather than an asset. The focus is shifting towards choosing a cover as and when needed only– once again, millennials demand that these should be on a self-service platform. E.g. opting for an additional cover while going for an adventure sport, opting for travel insurance just for the duration of few hours on a flight. Carriers will have to devise a marketing pitch of “Just in Time” insurance – a fast, direct, simple need based self-purchase option delivered via a smartphone, possibly. Much like the telecom segment that provides customers with fast and convenient “top-ups”, just-in-time insurance will not only address the millennial expectations but would also open doors for instant cross sell and up-sell opportunities on the go!
Finally, social media will continue playing a key role in marketing insurance. Millennials would like to be sold insurance in a personalized way, and social media intelligence gathering can help insurers track vital life events of people and push timely offers, suggest next best option, etc. through AI systems. Also, valuable feedback, especially on negative customer experiences voiced on the social media will provide important inputs for rectifications on the part of insurers.
The realm of insurance is on an exciting trail and it goes without saying that marketing the new forms of insurance would call for creative minds to redesign ways to touch lives of people rather than plain and blatant advertising.
1 - https://medium.com/ladderlife/heres-what-instant-life-insurance-really-looks-like-b86ae8f1d4f
2 - https://www.globalbankingandfinance.com/trov-the-worlds-first-on%C2%ADdemand-insurance-app-for-single-items/