The future of insurance demands the integration of new technology and data, a theme that was pervasive among our SIR conference takeaways. Corporate Insight recently attended the virtual Society of Insurance Research’s (SIR) 50th annual conference on October 1 and October 20-22. The annual conference brings together researchers from insurance companies and solution providers. It gives the opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices to inform research and strategic decision-making.

This year’s theme was #SIR50 Position Now for Future Success: Gain Insight. Generate Ideas. Grow Insurance. As customer expectations for quality service continue to evolve, insurers will need to improve their experiences to deliver convenient, quick and flexible offerings by incorporating new technology and data.

Digital strategies to build customer loyalty

SIR conference takeaways from the Digital Strategies for Prospective and Existing Policyholders presentationOn the personal lines day of the conference, Corporate Insight’s Justin Suter, senior analyst and the lead on the Property & Casualty Insurance Monitor team delivered a presentation in collaboration with Martina Hahn, chief product officer at The Zebra. The presentation, titled “Digital Strategies to Build Customer Loyalty,” centered around ways to acquire and retain hard-won policyholders.

Hahn emphasized the importance of understanding prospective policyholders and increasing transparency in order to deliver a winning shopping journey. On retaining customers, Suter stressed the importance of providing well-designed digital interfaces with prominently placed and detailed account information. He also discussed engaging policyholders through educational materials as well as alerts and notifications. The presentation highlighted Corporate Insight’s 2019 P&C Consumer Survey, which revealed policyholders’ ongoing shift toward digital self-service, and UX study takeaways, which uncovered a startling knowledge gap among P&C customers when it comes to their policy coverages and deductible settings.

More key SIR conference takeaways

Conference rhetoric continued to circle the idea of how carriers can leverage innovative technology and data to improve the policyholder experience. Other key highlights and takeaways from the general sessions and personal lines track include:

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated innovation and technology adoption in the insurance industry and forced insurers to evaluate their technical and digital infrastructures

Presenters touched on premium credits, charitable contributions to help communities, changing driving habits and the increased interest in telematics programs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In the opening conference presentation, “COVID Impacts on the Insurance Industry,” Abel Travis from American Financial Group identified sources of innovation in the P&C Insurance industry. These included localized, granular data and insights, sensors and IoT, artificial intelligence and cognitive capabilities.

Travis discussed several use cases that illustrated how insurers can drive innovation in these categories by partnering with insurtechs. He urged insurers to leverage research and development to understand the impacts of accelerating technological adoption.

  1. Consumers’ evolving wants and needs coupled with their rising expectations continue to drive technological change in the insurance industry

Customer expectations of their online digital experiences continue to rise as on-demand, flexible and fully digital products and services become the standard. Geoff Williams from Allstate presented on personal lines trends, with respect to technological change, customer experience levers—price, coverage and ease—and influencers—consumer adoption and penetration, social movements and regulations and value chain confluences. Williams touched on several trends such as UBI, vehicle ownership, claims adjusting and aerial imagery. But in conclusion, he emphasized that customer wants and needs should take precedence and that new technology does not always mean widespread customer adoption.

Howard Hayes, also from Allstate, illustrated how the insurer evolves to meet changing societal and technical trends by addressing three perspectives: viability, desirability and feasibility. Hayes cited the example of addressing consumer cybersecurity concerns through Allstate’s Digital Footprint feature, which, previously only available on desktop, recently launched on the Allstate mobile app.

  1. Insurers must look beyond traditional offerings to provide personalized, unique experiences by leveraging technology and data

To meet changing consumer needs, insurers will need to develop new technologies to provide quick, efficient service and products that provide unique and personalized coverage options. Dave Cummings from USAA highlighted three use cases that demonstrate how artificial intelligence and machine learning enable insurers to understand customers and provide quicker service. For example, USAA leverages AI/ML to connect product design and customer service in its virtual claims process. It allows adjusters to manage claims through aerial imagery analysis.

Joel Kashuba from Fifth Third Bank gave the final general session presentation on “Driving Culture Change: Applying Cross-Industry Methods & Last Best Experience.” He applied outside-industry examples of best-in-class experiences that create empathy and a personalized customer experience. Kashuba emphasized connecting data to real people to tell a story and create a “last best experience.” Cited examples included the Domino’s pizza tracker, CVS HealthHub and Heavenly shopping experience.

If you enjoyed these SIR conference takeaways but are not a Corporate Insight client, learn more about our P&C Insurance Monitor research and our P&C Insurance Digital Audit.