Exclusive providers call for more digitalisation among their insurance firms

Cologne/Dortmund | 10. October 2019

Only four of the 22 exclusive insurers surveyed offer their providers a fully digital, paperless processing option for more than 60 per cent of all transactions. That puts the four pioneers, ARAG, Concordia, Mecklenburgische Versicherung and Nürnberger Versicherung (in alphabetical order), at a level of digitalisation almost double that of the laggards in the sector, who only come in at about 35 per cent. The key motivating factors behind the providers’ calls for further digitalisation of their insurance agencies are the increased time for customer consultations and higher cross-selling density, as the current benchmark survey from Sirius Campus in cooperation with IT service provider adesso shows.

As part of the “Success Factors in Exclusivity” benchmark survey series carried out since 2003, more than 1,100 insurance providers for 22 insurers were interviewed by telephone between May and July 2019. The survey, which aimed to assess cooperation between agencies and their insurance companies, is carried out in cooperation with the IT service provider adesso, which has been supporting leading insurance companies on the path to digitalisation for over two decades.

Digital support makes providers more successful

Of the 18 digital support services for insurance agencies that were studied, all saw an online needs assessment for customers prior to the consultation and digital claims recording as having an especially positive effect on new customer acquisition. With these tools being used at an increasing rate, providers have increased new customer acquisition by 16 or 18 percentage points compared to the rate within sales organisations. Intensive use of a social media presence and paperless consultations pays off when it comes to closing life and health insurance contracts, with gains amounting to seven or eight additional closings per year.

“Digitalising the insurance agency is no longer just a feel-good activity for providers, but a key success factor for the insurance agency and hence for insurance companies. Providers have recognised this and are disappointed by management hesitance,” says Dr Dirk Platz, head of Insurance at adesso, on his interpretation of the survey findings.

IT expertise has become a key driver of provider loyalty

Since the benchmark survey began in 2003, the significance of IT support for provider loyalty, for example measured by the net promoter score (NPS), has risen sharply from the lower rungs of more than 50 recorded drivers to seventh place in 2019. The NPS score can increase significantly, by 31–41 points, through frequent use of two digital functions: customer contact history and an appointment reminder for annual risk audits. Another astonishing finding in this regard is that there are virtually no age differences relating to how frequently digital tools and consultation support are used. On the other hand, there are considerable differences in the range of digital supports offered by different insurers when it comes to recording customer needs in the consultation software, digital claims notifications via app or website, and the agency’s social media presence.

Calls for automated sales stimuli and digital customer records

Automatic generation of sales stimuli in the consultation and agency software is a key area of action for many insurers, as a great many (32 per cent) representatives are not satisfied with this digital function. Only Allianz, Debeka, ERGO, HUK-Coburg, LVM and Württembergische Versicherung (in alphabetical order) were able get past the 80 per cent mark regarding their sales partners’ satisfaction with the automated sales stimuli.

Sixty-four per cent of all representatives say they use digital customer files “often”, while a further 20 per cent use them “sometimes”. Digital access to customer contracts and documents, digital signatures, a digital bonus/discount account and digital claims recording are the features that representatives most often miss if the insurer does not provide them. “Just offering standard digital tools isn’t enough. Insurers lose a lot of potential that way. Only integrative development projects combining sales, back office and IT can enable relevant processes to be digitalised through optimal operation and facilitate successful use,” Dr Platz says.

About the benchmark survey

The survey looks specifically at the insurance sector and analyses more than 50 drivers of provider loyalty and motivation every six years. This year’s edition of the survey also sheds light on digitalisation in insurance agencies and brand identity among providers. The open benchmark results on assessing product quality and prices, customer service and the quality of regulation, on aspects of provider support, on the level of commission and on back office services for providers, are reported to these 22 companies: Allianz, ARAG, AXA, Barmenia, Concordia, Continentale, Debeka, DEVK, ERGO, Gothaer, HanseMerkur, HDI, HUK-Coburg, LVM, Mecklenburgische, Nürnberger, Provinzial Rheinland, R+V Versicherung, Signal Iduna, VGH, Württembergische, Zurich.

For more information on the approximately 200-page benchmark survey, please contact Dr Oliver Gaedeke, Sirius Campus

(email: oliver.gaedeke@siriuscampus.de or phone: +49 (0)152 38 24 66 40).

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