Insurers face several challenges right now while competing to offer the best car insurance UX: rising customer expectations, an explosion of available data sources and fundamental changes to policyholder behavior. Firms need to improve their digital user experience to meet modern customer expectations. Big Tech continues to set the standard across web and mobile design. Frequently used services like Netflix and Instagram offer attractive interfaces, intuitive navigation and personalized features. Users expect the same experience from every platform, including their insurers’ website and app. P&C firms must respond accordingly or risk falling behind aggressive insurtechs and nimbler competitors who offer the best insurance UX.

CI’s qualitative and survey-backed research has repeatedly found one thing: An insurer’s website and app increasingly IS their identity. Our biannual consumer surveys have found that insurers’ websites and apps are growing more and more important to policyholders with each passing year.

More P&C policyholders are interacting via firms’ digital platforms

As customers increasingly interact with their insurer only through the app or website, offering the best insurance UX is more important than ever. Further, these customer-firm interactions often consist of paying a premium or filing a claim—moments of stress for policyholders. Customers often have an unhappy mindset before they even log in to their insurer’s site or open the app, having just experienced a car accident or fire in their home, for example. Poor UI design for insurance, especially during a claim, can be fatal to the relationship. Offering the best insurance UX is simultaneously a challenge and an opportunity for insurers. A fantastic insurance web design or app design can increase engagement, encourage loyalty and lead to more satisfied customers.

Additionally, more and more policyholders are shopping online, meaning that their end-to-end insurance experience is completely digital. Online comparison shopping for auto insurance nearly doubled from 2019 to 2021 and online shopping for home insurance is up 30% from 2019.

Insurers that pay attention to insurance UX trends and best practices will have a leg up on their competitors. Executives across the country have recognized that customers will be won or lost in the digital realm; a summer 2021 survey from Deloitte found that 96% of U.S. insurance executives are accelerating digital transformation initiatives across the organization.

Below, we’ll identify five musts for insurers hoping to offer the best insurance UX.

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A homepage that balances billing details, policy information and access to core features is the backbone of the best insurance UX

Auto insurance and other P&C consumers often complain about website ease of use. Our surveys confirm that this is a longstanding problem area. When we asked respondents what their insurer can do to improve their level of satisfaction with its website in a recent survey, the most common answer was “make it easier to find policy information.”

Overall, younger policyholders found their insurers’ websites to be unimpressive. They were significantly more likely to have at least one improvement recommendation. Among Gen Zers, a paltry 6% said that they did not have any suggestions to improve their insurers website—compared to 19% of Millennials, 37% of Gen Xers, 71% of Boomers and a whopping 78% of members of the Silent Generation. Insurers evidently have their work cut out for them when it comes to satisfying younger customers.

Findability and ease of use are leading customer suggestions for improving P&C insurance digital experience, ranked especially high by younger generations

 

This image shows the three most popular responses for improving P and C firms websitesThe best insurance website design begins with the homepage, and a well-designed homepage should solve most of these issues. P&C insurers, however, face a particular challenge when it comes to designing policyholder site homepages. Upon login, policyholders expect a wide range of content that they can digest quickly and easily. However, as our surveys reveal, they also struggle to find information about their policy. Insurers must offer homepage access to policy information, oft-used features, capabilities for auto, homeowners, and renters insurance policyholders, and firm contact options—all while not cluttering the homepage. The best insurance UX balances these two principles in homepage design: access and simplicity.

The best insurance UX balances these two principles in homepage design: access and simplicity.

Content tiles can help insurers offer both. This design’s appeal is evident, as tiled homepages clearly organize content and allow clients to find relevant policy details simply by locating the relevant tile. Tiled homepages are also now near universal. 95% of the insurers we track now organize their homepage in tiled sections, up from 63% in 2018.

Quick link menus are another essential tool for insurers trying to offer the best user experience. According to our survey, the top five reasons policyholders log into their insurer’s website are to make a premium payment, access insurance ID cards, view policy documents, look up coverage details or look up policy coverages.

This graph shows the activities our survey respondents completed on their insurer's website over the last year

Insurers should make each of these activities easily findable from the policyholder site homepage so that clients can accomplish them seamlessly. Quick links that promote these common account management activities simultaneously highlight the existence of the specific feature and streamline navigation to it. Location options include menus at the top of the page or on either sidebar. Chubb’s homepage, which finishes first in our rankings, organizes relevant quick links in I Want To… menus.

This screenshot shows the Chubb private homepage
Policyholder Site Navigation and Quick Link Menus

Notably, these characteristics are all present on the policyholder site homepages of medal-winners in our annual P&C Monitor Awards, in which we highlight the top features on websites and mobile apps.

Provide comprehensive coverage information to educate and empower

In our surveys, a popular suggestion for improving insurance website design was to make information about plan coverage easier to read and understand. Customers often struggle to understand what’s covered under their policy—is the policyholder covered while driving a rental car? What if hail shatters the windshield? Insurers can address these concerns and improve UX with policy information pages.

The best versions of these pages clearly display policyholders’ coverage settings and explain through hypothetical examples when different coverages come into effect. Nationwide’s Vehicle Coverages page, for example, gives policyholders everything they need to know about the coverage type in digestible blurbs. The page highlights exactly how much the individual coverage type contributes to the total monthly premium and outlines what it protects, notes when it comes into effect and provides key contextual information. Additionally, policyholders can edit their chosen deductible or opt to decline the coverage directly on the page.

This screenshot shows Nationwide's auto policy page on their authenticated site.
Nationwide Auto Policy Details Page – Coverages Tab (Comprehensive Coverage Section Expanded)

Insurers can also improve their website by allowing policyholders to change their coverage details online. A substantial subset of our survey respondents indicated that the ability to change coverage details or amounts online would increase their website satisfaction. In a digital-first world, customers expect to be able to manage every aspect of their policy online. Online coverage management has a second benefit to insurers as empowering policyholders decreases calls to customer service. This saves insurers money and improves customer satisfaction, as everyone hates calling customer service. The carriers offering the best auto insurance UX provide users with a range of self-service options, from adding a vehicle to updating discounts. Leading insurers also offer a transparent interface that compares policyholders’ existing settings with proposed changes. Further, the best insurance website design includes educational resources that detail and explain the proposed changes.

This image shows Liberty Mutual's page that allows users to see quotes for potential policy changes
Liberty Mutual Policyholder Site Quote a Policy Change Page

Constant communication leads to a better claims process

As we have already seen, consumers have high expectations for all their online interactions. This includes an integral aspect of auto insurance UX: claims. User expectations are highest during the claims experience as, to policyholders, a claim is the final exam for their insurer. It is the reason policyholders pay their premiums, and now they expect the insurer to deliver. A positive claims experience can secure customer loyalty, while a negative one can send them running to a competitor.

As part of our subscription research service, CI regularly interviews policyholders at the conclusion of a claims experience. We have found that it is essential for insurers to roll out the red carpet, while remembering that claims are a highly charged emotional period for policyholders. Importantly, although technological advancements have automated several stages of the claims cycle, Corporate Insight’s and JD Power’s joint research confirms that a hybrid approach which pairs the power and convenience of digital tools with the empathy and contextual knowledge of a human claims expert results in the most satisfied claimants.

This graph shows the importance of various claims features according to our most recent survey

In-depth interviews with claimants reveals that communication is pivotal to a positive claims experience. Frustrated claimants frequently complain about being left in the dark about their claim’s status or taken by surprise after new developments. Notably, among survey respondents who indicated they were considering changing their P&C insurance provider, 16% admitted that it was because of a poor claims experience—the third most popular reason to switch behind price and changing insurance needs. Of those three reasons, the claims experience is the one insurers have the most control over. Further, most claims resources come in plain-text paragraphs, FAQs, checklists or articles. All insurers provide some type of plain-text resource on the public site. Insurers can bump up their online claims resources by including embedded videos, PDF resources and annotated documents. These resources can provide detailed walkthroughs of what to expect when filing a claim, such as how to read a repair estimate or steps to take after an accident.

This screenshot from a PDF shows Liberty Mutual's damage estimate and claims payment from their website tools
Liberty Mutual Understanding Your Damage Estimate and Claim Payment PDF

A claims timeline page is one easy way to improve claims communication. Insurers can use this page to outline each step of the claims process, detail what is required from the policyholder at each step and provide an estimated timeline. This helps turn insurers into a partner in the claims process, rather than another stressor in an already stressful time. In our recent report on claims resources, GEICO emerged as one of our four top-rated firms, in part for its Total Loss Process page, which includes an estimated time to payment and step-by-step details of the claims process. The best auto insurance UX improves communication between firm and policyholder and keeps existing policyholders from shopping around.

This screenshot shows GEICO's public site loss process page, which details the claims process steps
GEICO Public Site Total Loss Process Page

Make billing details prominent and offer payment from the homepage

Payment is the number one reason users log into their insurers’ website, as 42% of survey respondents reported logging in to make a premium payment, and 13% logged in to modify/update their payment method. The best insurance website design will, correspondingly, make payment smooth and intuitive. Insurers can facilitate quick one-time premium payments with links in the main navigation and on the authenticated homepage. Policyholders should also be able to immediately view their billing status, next payment date and amount, and last payment date and amount. Insurance websites should also grant policyholders the option to enroll in or manage automatic payments online, so that they don’t need to deal with the hassle of remembering their login credentials.

Auto Owners presents a homepage that excels in these areas, displaying relevant billing information including the minimum due, due date and full account balance. Payment itself is also highlighted via a prominent blue Make Payment button. The page’s upper section also highlights the other key capabilities, including claims and contact information, that users want on an auto insurance homepage.

This screenshot shows Auto-Owner's authenticated homepage
Auto-Owners Policyholder Site Homepage

The best insurance app design reflects increasing mobile app usage

Offering a top mobile insurance app needs to be a priority for P&C firms looking to offer the best insurance UX. In our survey, we asked respondents about their login frequency on both desktop sites and mobile apps. Unsurprisingly, most respondents reported logging in once a month (22%), once every two to three months (17%) or once every four-to-six months (33%). That’s nearly three-quarters of policyholders (72%) who interact with their insurer at maximum only once a month. However, when we look at login frequency among mobile app users, the numbers are starkly different. A full fifth of all self-reported mobile app users indicated they log in to the mobile app at least a few times a week, and an additional 18% log in once a week. This is drastically different from desktop usage and calls the conventional classification of insurance as a “low-touch” industry into serious question. Currently, mobile app users are a minority when it comes to the overall population of insurance policyholders. Insurers should anticipate this number rising. Clever firms can drive users to their app now, getting a leg up on competitors.

This image shows the comparative login stats between desktop and mobile site for insurance firms

In January 2022, our P&C research team published its second annual Mobile App Pace of Change report in which we tracked, categorized and assigned a significance level to every mobile app change reported on in our bi-weekly Updates from 1/11/2021-12/13/2021. Key findings from that analysis include:

This screenshot summarizes CI's recent mobile pace of change report findings

Importantly for insurers, analysis of the five apps that completely revamped in 2021 reveals that no particular design emerged as dominant. State Farm and Travelers represent the two primary approaches to app information architecture and navigation:

  • State Farm’s app prioritizes billing information, displaying upcoming bills at the top of the Overview home screen. The insurer organizes information into tiles for easy scanning—some tiles are swipeable—and users are required to scroll down to view additional content. State Farm features an anchored bottom drawer navigation menu that closely aligns with the conventional design that has emerged in the banking industry.
  • Travelers, on the other hand, opts to list more policy information on its home screen, where no downward scrolling is necessary. Instead, policyholders can swipe sideways to view information on their various policies and each policy screen includes a swipe-up menu which includes numerous quick links. The swipe-up menu acts as a de facto primary navigation menu although Travelers houses additional navigation links in a hamburger menu in the upper left that expands to fill the screen.
  • Finally, The Hartford adopted yet another strategy for its revamped app, replicating its policyholder site on the smaller smartphone screen.
These trio of mobile screenshots show apps from State Farm, Travelers and The Hartford
State Farm, Travelers and The Hartford Mobile App Home Screens

For auto insurance, telematics and usage-based insurance (UBI) will only make the mobile experience more important. Popular insurtechs like Lemonade put pressure on renters and homeowners insurers as well. Firms that invest in creating the best insurance mobile app now will have an advantage over competitors that drag their feet into the mobile-first era.

As detailed above, P&C insurers face some big challenges in offering the best insurance UX. Increasing customer expectations for digital platforms and a shift to mobile-first experiences put the onus on insurers to improve their desktop and mobile interfaces today. Users expect their insurer’s website and mobile app to match the UX of Apple, Google and Netflix. A shift to telematics and UBI will only increase the pressure on insurers to offer the best mobile experience for insurance. Users will interact with their insurer’s platform every time they hit the accelerator or tap their brakes, instead of only while making a claim or payment. Other impending technologies, such as smart tires, will only increase the importance of an insurer’s digital platforms. Offering the best auto insurance UX has never been more important. Insurtechs put similar pressure on the renters and homeowners digital experience. Insurance is going digital, whether or not firms are ready for the shift.

Insurers can offer a best-in-class experience by keeping pace with insurance UX trends and best practices with CI. From the latest innovations from insurtechs to the big changes from established industry leaders, our P&C research team tracks the user experience across desktop, mobile and claims. Our cross-industry research has found time and time again that the best UX doesn’t come from innovators. Rather, the best user experience comes from firms that quickly adopt insurance trends and innovations that are proven to work. Our subscription research helps firms keep up with the trends and innovations insurers need to know to offer the best user experience.

Learn more about CI’s P&C research services here.

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