Key findings from our newest pace of change report

From July 2020 to June 2021, P&C insurers put a greater focus on refining their public site product information and streamlining their quote tools to convert shoppers into clients. This July, P&C Insurance Monitor published a pace of change report evaluating desktop site updates performed by coverage group insurers over the last 12 months. The report reveals that, over the past year, insurers continued to unify their site platforms through design changes and focused on increasing product information and resources. Increased activity and investment in the insurance industry as a whole (as well as increased competition thanks to the emergence of insurtechs) have raised insurance up to a level of digital parity with most industries​. This trend has only accelerated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused insurers to accelerate the timetable for their innovation roadmap.

Above all, insurance websites must be functional. The top answer to our 2021 Policyholder Survey question regarding customer satisfaction “What can your insurer do to improve your level of satisfaction with its website?” was “Make it easier to find information about your policy.” Product details, navigational structure and overall site design are critical components of a successful digital experience. Insurers increasingly must work to include compelling, interactive tools and resources as well as streamline self-service components if they wish to impress customers with rising expectations for digital experiences. Of the respondents who indicated they were currently considering switching insurance providers, 14% feel this way because their current providers’ websites are outdated. Notably, in the 2019 iteration of our survey, the options “Your insurer’s website is outdated” and “Your insurer does not have a good mobile app” were only picked by 9% and 7% of respondents, respectively. This year, those numbers increased to 14% (+5 ppts) and 11% (+4 ppts), indicating the growing importance of insurers’ digital offerings on customer retention.

Our report tracked and examined how frequently and in what areas the 19 insurers in our coverage group updated their public and policyholder sites. We catalogued each change reported in our biweekly updates from June 2020 to June 2021 and assigned each change a significance rating (low, medium or high) plus one of the following categories:

  • Design & Navigation
  • Account Information
  • Claims
  • Alerts
  • Billing & Payments
  • Self-Service
  • Login & Security
  • Tools & Resources

The number of changes made can help indicate the direction and scope of digital platform transformation, and reviewing the categories where insurers are focused on making changes can yield insights into the maturity of a given website and that insurer’s progress on its digital innovation roadmap.

In total, insurers implemented 213 site changes, spread disproportionately across the high- (24), medium- (60) and low-significance (129) buckets. All insurers performed at least three changes over the past year, with the average number of changes per insurer at 11.21. Liberty Mutual (four) and USAA (three) implemented the most high-significance updates, while State Farm made the most total changes (23). ​Overall, the low number of high-significance changes is indicative of an industry that has reached table-stakes competency and is struggling to take the next steps to create compelling digital experiences.

Trends among P&C desktop sites

P&C Insurers Focus on Product Information and Services

The Products and Services category saw the highest number of changes (69) across the seven categories. All insurers except Safeco implemented at least one Products and Services change, and Metromile implemented eight updates in this category. The vast majority (96%) of changes across insurers occurred on the public site, where P&C insurers put a greater focus on customer support and product information pages.

However, most of these changes were of low or medium significance. Only four high-significance changes were recorded, indicating a lack of substantial movement, supporting our hypothesis of table-stakes competency.

  • USAA added public site coverage and discount pages to its Auto Insurance section in November 2020
  • MetLife and Homesite updated their quote tool flows in January 2021
  • Esurance significantly condensed its public site in July 2020 and cobranded the site with the Allstate logo
USAA added this auto coverages page in November 2020
USAA Public Site Auto Coverages Page

Design and Navigation – Site Revamps

Leading P&C insurers boast a well-designed customer site with succinct account overviews and a clear navigation structure. A majority (71%) of our survey respondents believe that design and ease of use, including website navigation and homepage design, are very or extremely important features of an insurance website.

Significant changes we observed within the Design and Navigation category were site revamps and new navigation structures across both public and policyholder sites. Together, these constituted most high-significance changes within the Design and Navigation category. The majority (90%) of insurers completed at least one change in this category, for 67 overall changes. Seven insurers revamped their sites and navigation menus.

  • Liberty Mutual updated its policyholder site main navigation structure, implementing a sidebar menu instead of top navigation flyout menus in August 2020 (subscription required)
  • Geico revamped its policyholder site design and navigation in January 2021, adding slideout main navigation menus and an updated design throughout the site
  • The Hartford overhauled its policyholder site in March 2021 with a new tiled layout
The Hartford revamped its policyholder site homepage in March 2021.
The Hartford Policyholder Site Homepage

Tools & Resources – Virtual Assistants

Virtual Assistants (VAs) are fast-developing technologies that significantly impact how insurers can address customer needs. The global chatbot market is estimated to grow at a compounded rate of 30.9% until 2026, indicating increased customer demand for fast and informative online guidance. Users can use everyday language to ask a VA for assistance and save themselves the struggle of navigating complicated websites and terminology. VA interaction can be efficient and cost-effective for resolving simple inquiries and relieves the burden on agents and call centers, particularly during times of crisis like the pandemic. Our 2021 survey revealed that almost one in 10 (9%) respondents have used their insurer’s website in the last 12 months to chat with a customer service representative or virtual assistant, and almost half (48%) consider easy access to live chat support a very or extremely important feature of an insurer’s website.

Chatbot or virtual assistant implementation and development is another category that saw innovation throughout the past 12 months. Our first P&C Insurance Monitor investigation on chatbots in 2019 found that six firms launched a chatbot that calendar year, more than doubling the number of coverage group firms featuring a virtual assistant.

  • In July 2020, Farmers added a claim virtual assistant that can provide claim support and adjuster information
  • ​In September 2020, Liberty Mutual updated its existing chat software, adding virtual assistant capabilities
  • Amica also updated its virtual assistant pre-set links to include a way to alert customers to new features
Amica Public Site Virtual Assistant Pre-Set Links Menu
Amica Public Site Virtual Assistant Pre-Set Links Menu

Subscribers can access the complete report on P&C desktop site pace of change on our client portal (subscription required). For access, or for more competitive intelligence on the user experience that insurers provide to their policyholders, check out Corporate Insight’s P&C Insurance Monitor research service offerings.

Amelia Milne
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