Digital Engagement in Insurance: Are You Hitting the Mark?


These days, it’s an understatement to say that digital engagement is important. It’s vital. Without the ability to engage current and potential customers, to deliver personalized experiences, and to do so consistently across digital channels, one has to wonder what the opportunity cost adds up to.

Digital touch-points – e.g. websites, mobile apps, and other means of virtual connection – are an important part of a company’s communication strategy. They provide the tools to convey information, drive sales, and deliver service. For insurance, that includes everything from offering instant quotes to giving consumers the control to manage and improve their own experiences.

But insurers aren’t meeting customer expectations when it comes to digital engagement. According to a 2018 study by J.D. Power, they’re falling pretty far short.

Insurers are falling short of customer expectations

That point raises a question: what exactly are these expectations we’re talking about, and where are customers getting them?

Not from nowhere, as it turns out. Brands like Amazon, Netflix and Uber are currently writing the rulebook on what a “standout digital experience” means, J.D. Power said. Put briefly, they’re setting the bar on how to:

  • Build engagement with current and potential customers
  • Personalize the digital experience for users
  • Deliver consistency across digital components

“Like it or not, those are the user experiences against which today’s consumer-facing insurers are competing,” said Tom Super, Director of the Property & Casualty Insurance Practice at J.D. Power.

Suffice it to say it’s a high bar. Yet while it’s certainly understandable most insurers’ digital engagement isn’t punching in the same weight class as that of, say, Amazon, it’s also cold comfort. The reality is that most prospects and policyholders are just not impressed with the digital experiences that insurers are delivering.

What, specifically, is underwhelming them?

1) It’s pretty but it doesn’t work.

Insurers have gotten better on the user interface front – but beauty is as beauty does. If the functionality to process claims, shop options and service policies is missing, then the improvement is only skin-deep, and users notice that kind of thing.

2) It’s impersonal and inconsistent.

Personalization refers to aligning offerings with needs. For example, if a digital channel suggests benefits or guidance to a consumer based on what the algorithm knows about that individual, their experience is personalized. Insurers that implement this “tend to have high digital customer satisfaction scores,” as do those “that deliver consistently across digital components,” J.D. Power said.

How to turn the digital engagement tide

If you’re an insurer who wants to raise the bar and meet customer expectations to the greatest possible degree, you might be wondering what you can do differently.

Remember that the goal, when it comes to digital engagement with insurance, is the inverse of the points raised above. The user interface should be attractive; the functionality should pull its weight, too. The offerings should be contextualized based on user needs, said Peter Smith of Centric Digital. The experience should be frictionless, flowing from step to step with ease. Across components, the overall effect should feel consistent.

For example, GEICO scored 878 out of 1,000 in the J.D. Powers study – ranking well above most of the competition – because it prioritized “ease of navigation; appearance; availability of key information; range of services; and clarity of information.”

As with most business objectives, success requires a strategic perspective, paired with a proactive posture. Silvervine Software can help. We offer a digital app for agents and consumers (currently being completely updated for 2019) as well as online payment processing services. Contact us to learn more.