In a world where consumers are increasingly used to the high standards of customer service from the likes of Amazon and Uber, interaction expectations from insurance companies is on the increase. Digital TPAs enable policyholders to interact with an insurer’s customer service center using the digital channel of their choice. This allows members to start their customer journey on one channel and complete it on another, providing complete flexibility and responsiveness across a broad range of demographics. Leveraging a Digital TPA across your policy lifecycle can increase the level of interaction with policyholders and enhance customer experience.
Digital TPAs transform customer interaction across each of the three basic phases of engagement in the insurance value chain—Sales, Service and Claims
Sales—an initial touchpoint is established and a policy issued
By design, customer engagement is typically the highest during the Sales phase, with over 80% of customer engagement taking place via traditional paper and voice-based channels. However, a mushrooming InsurTech sector with new and emerging players is evolving customer engagement at an extremely rapid pace, enabling insurance companies stuck with legacy technology to reach new markets through new digital channels.
The life and health InsurTech market alone attracted over $1 billion in funding in the first half of 2017 across 45 deals. With the abundance of new and agile InsurTech solutions enhancing costumer engagement digitally, traditional insurers need to invest in the solutions they know will fit their business needs and, more importantly, their existing operational and technology ecosystem, both internally and externally.
This is where Digital TPAs are changing the market dynamics. Firstly, they provide customer engagement channels beyond the traditional voice and paper to their clients, including out-of-the-box policyholder web portals and mobile apps. Secondly, by investing in continued exploration and application of pioneering ideas and technologies, Digital TPAs are also quickly adapting to the InsurTech revolution by integrating a host of players into their platform fabric. This enables them to deliver enriched new product launch offerings for their clients, giving insurers access to current market innovation without having to take on transformational programs internally within their organizations.
Service—the policy needs cyclical but infrequent servicing
With over 90% of interactions initiated by the customer in the Service phase, customer engagement is often a one-way street. Outside of sending billing reminders, privacy notices and annual statements, there is very limited customer outreach from the insurer. The nature of traditional insurance, especially in the life and supplemental health market, creates very few interaction points between insurers and their customers, until the point of claim arises.
However, with the explosion in the use of digital channels, customers are directly connected to the insurer’s technology at all times and vice versa. Each additional touchpoint with the policyholder not only enables enhanced customer experience, but also provides insurers with valuable data about its policyholder. Digital customer channels are therefore no longer mere engagement enablers, they are poised to become crucial conduits that enable insurers to know their customers, their behavior and their needs better.
Once again, Digital TPAs are embracing this paradigm shift and helping insurers enhance their digital customer experience. Instead of simply facilitating mailrooms and call centers, Digital TPAs are bringing an array of customer engagement options, including plug and play self-service web portals, mobile apps, chatbots, conversational Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and text messaging that reflect the insurer’s branding. Digital TPAs are also investing in other capabilities such as wellness-oriented solutions that an insurer to keep the policyholder continually engaged, collect ongoing data about the consumer and even have a tangible impact on claims.
Claims—the policyholder invokes a claim
The Claims phase is an entry point into digital for many supplemental health insurers. Millions of long-term care policies were sold in the 1980s and 1990s when email addresses and mobile phones were non-existent. Even if insurers want to leverage InsurTech-enabled digital engagement, they often hit a brick wall—one can deploy SMS messaging capabilities, but who do you send these SMS messages to?
Digital TPAs provide a multitude of engagement channels that give insurers the opportunity to inform their customers of new ways and channels available to interact. Digital TPAs also help insurers to build or increase their policyholders’ digital footprint for a particular product line. This can range from simple techniques such as incorporating a few additional questions into incoming calls and snail mailbased outreach programs that incentivize policyholders, to sharing emails or phone numbers to sophisticated programs that utilize social media to craft the initial digital footprint.
Customer engagement in the Claims phase, especially in the supplemental health market, can also be high. As with the preceding phases, most of this interaction is traditionally carried out through paper and phone. For a customer involved in the claims process, this is likely a stressful time in their lives, and a cumbersome experience can create a lasting impression that can adversely impact customer loyalty and even the insurer brand. This only underscores the importance of the digital engagement.
In summary, Digital TPAs enable insurers to provide policyholders with multiple digital channels to interact across all stages of the policy, delivering greater flexibility and lower cost of ownership. This represents an unequivocal breakthrough in customer experience for insurance in the life and health markets.