The new frontier for insurance is the customer experience (CX), and building multi-functional agent and customer portals will be key to creating a competitive advantage. These platforms empower choices, offer more transparency, and streamline operations. Insurance customers receive 24x7 access to their policy information, while agents can easily initiate new and access existing policies, communicate information to their clients, and track the claims process. That’s just the start of what’s possible.
It’s time to think about agent and customer portals as brand ambassadors. They’re an opportunity not only to provide value, but to set your company apart from the crowd. Think about it—after a customer purchases an insurance policy from an agent or broker, they often won’t interact with another human until something goes wrong. They will, however, interact with the insurance company’s portal to pay bills or update personal information. That means the portal may be doing a lot of heavy lifting for cultivating brand loyalty. The more robust the experience, the deeper the connection you can make.
Below, check out some of the amazing value insurance companies have provided through innovative agent and customer portals. Then, discover how to improve your portal with a scalable and secure framework.
Agent portals can make the management and service of insurance claims easy, fast, and efficient. Agents can communicate with customers securely with portal-based email channels and chat capabilities. Celina Insurance Group, for instance, created a mobile app for independent agents that allowed them to respond to requests for photos and underwriting with a few taps of their smartphone1.
Additionally, insurance companies leverage portals to arm their agents with educational materials and tools to better assist customers in choosing the right plan. Travelers Insurance put this philosophy to work with a new section of their website that provided co-branded marketing tools to agents that they could customize for their customers1. In this way, improving the agent experience also improved the customer experience, while offering greater customer lifetime value through upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
Finally, a well-executed portal can make it easy for agents to keep track of their customers and manage payments. Plus, you can add gamification elements to reward agents for helping accomplish certain tasks.
By improving workflows, enriching agent and customer interactions, and strategically incentivizing sales of specific products and services, agency portals help bridge the gap between insurance companies and their customers.
Agents aren’t the only stakeholders who benefit from feature-rich insurance portals. Customers also find tremendous value in the personalized experiences created by portals. As mentioned earlier, portals are often the most common touch point between customers and their insurance company. While, traditionally, customer portals allow users to file a claim, update personal information like a change in address, or receive notifications about premium changes, insurance companies are beginning to add more value to these experiences. This can mean offering a financial calculator to help customers discover the true cost of, say, buying a new car. It can also mean advertising new products, personalized to what a customer is likely to need or want, or marketing a new referral program to encourage customers to spread positive word of mouth.
There’s no end to what you can do with a well-constructed customer portal. Saxon Motor & General integrated their policyholder portal with social media and other communication channels, and improved response rates by 80% and transaction time by 50%1. This allowed for greater personalization and easy two-way communication.
And of course, there’s applications in telematics. Good2Go Auto Insurance, Inc. developed a mobile app that turned customers’ smartphones into safe driving trackers1. These applications can also help bring in new customers. Westminster Mutual Insurance offered anonymous online quoting of auto or property to prospects to help them decide if they want to engage with an agent or broker1.
Believe it or not, all of these customer experience improvements, enabled by secure portals, contribute to the bottom line. PwC found that customers will pay up to 7% more for car insurance if the company provides a great customer experience (PwC). On the flip side, more than half of customers surveyed by Salesforce reported being likely to change brands if a company does not personalize communications with them (Salesforce). So the question isn’t whether—or even when—to improve your customer portal. It’s how.
Developing a stunning and multi-functional agent or customer portal requires quality, cloud-based solutions. You’ll want your agency portal to integrate with broker management systems and map to various business applications that already exist. Plus, building data analytics capabilities within customer portals can help your company devise new products, promotions, and strategies based on how customers are actually interacting with you. Most importantly, you need to ensure your portals are secure across all platforms to mitigate the risk of cybersecurity attacks and retain the trust of your stakeholders.
Pyramid Consulting excels at designing digital transformation strategies to help your business leverage the advantages of agent and customer portals. Moreover, we’ve developed a scalable and secure Insurance Portal Framework that enables a carrier to extend and customize their portal to create a seamless digital experience. This will allow policyholders to view their policy details, edit their profile, log service requests, make payments, and initiate claims. And Pyramid Consulting builds quality assurance into every stage of the development lifecycle, ensuring security, from end-to-end. Once you’ve established your framework, it’s easy to add innovative features like the ones mentioned above to begin offering a powerful customer experience.
1 Novarica, Inc., https://novarica.com/