Top 5 Strategies Used by Insurance Carriers for Customer Engagement in 2021

Written by Optimity Team

(5 min read)

As the world begins to slowly recover from COVID-19 some things will forever be changed by the events over the past 2 years.

The pandemic has caused the insurance industry to pivot their business strategies to provide a more complete experience for existing and new customers.

Fear not, because we put together the ultimate list of the top 5 trends and strategies to engage consumers used by the largest insurance carriers in North America.

1. Insight-led customer engagement strategies are changing marketing campaigns.

This is an example of a trend driven by new advances in technologies, such as AI, personalization and unified customer data. Many marketing tech (martech) platforms offer campaign management or simple metrics, but they do not offer intelligent insights about your consumers for marketers to act on. Until recently, the marketer’s plan of engagement has been “plan, execute, analyze, course-correct.” Thanks to technological advancements, many marketers have flipped the order of operations to “analyze, plan, execute, measure, course-correct.” Using this strategy could help with retention and create an overall better customer experience. 

The insights provided by customer engagement platforms can inform you of critical moments in the journey. For example, which of your customers are at risk of churn? Are you sending too few messages or too many? Which of your insurance customers are on the verge of a major life event? 

Use these insights to build a strategy that removes much of the trial and error of marketing campaigns and helps to quickly weed out what’s working and what’s not. According to Gartner, 85% of marketing executives surveyed said that “by 2022, ‘significantly more’ of their organization’s marketing decisions will be based on marketing analytics.”

2. AI and algorithms are enabling more human-centric marketing.

The ability for AI and in-app algorithms to provide rich data is not a new concept; however, the ability for marketers to be able to easily connect the dots between customer engagement channels and content is becoming a must-have for any customer engagement strategy. Having hundreds of data points on a particular consumer is useless unless the marketer has the tools to figure out what to do with the information. 

With advanced tools such as segmentation engines and real-time 360 degree reporting, marketers have access to tools that enable them to move at the speed of the customer and deliver relevant, timely content in real time across every channel. When used properly, these tools can make marketers more effective, minimize efforts to analyze data and automatically suggest the right tactics for the next step in the customer journey.

As AI technology becomes more mature, expect to see even more customer-facing marketing automation capabilities. Microsoft reports that by 2025, up to 95% of customer interactions will be through AI-powered channels. Is your company ready?

3. Digital transformation is now a means of survival.

A recent survey by McKinsey & Company revealed that the pandemic has forced many companies to accelerate digital transformation initiatives by several years. This is even more critical and urgent for insurers that have shifted their services towards online and mobile app experiences. Thanks to changes in consumer behavior, the shift to digital transformation is not just a competitive advantage — it’s a lifeline between the insurance carrier and the customer. Organizations that have not made enough progress on their digital channels could be missing out on significant revenue opportunities.

4. Personalization of offers is now table stakes.

The events of 2020 had a negative impact on consumer confidence, driven by economic uncertainty and multiple waves of lockdown restrictions around the world. As a result, another consumer engagement strategy which has accelerated is personalization of offerings and services to consumers. 

Once considered a “nice to have” for major companies, personalization is now considered a “must have” for many consumers. Thanks to companies like Amazon and Netflix, consumers often expect brands to go the extra mile and anticipate their needs/interests based on their past interactions. Personalization will become a vital investment as the economy recovers and consumers feel safe to start spending again. How can your company anticipate the needs of your policyholders as they progress through their life stages?

5. Offline/online and omnichannel communications are critical.

A successful omnichannel strategy isn’t one of “set it and forget it” but instead it is much more of a moment-based strategy. Executing a successful multichannel strategy also does not mean launching a campaign via every medium possible. 

We have completed many comprehensive reports that show today’s consumers demand a consistent, personalized experience across channels, with content presented in context. So a cookie cutter strategy, or a “spray and pray” approach will be seen as just that.

With the in-store and in-person experience still uncertain in many regions, marketers will likely continue to lean on digital channels to reach consumers where they are. Digital engagement through channels like social media can help gauge a customer’s needs. However, executing a successful multichannel strategy doesn’t mean distributing a campaign via every medium possible. 

It’s critical to identify the moments that make up your customers’ journey so you can best plan the right engagement strategy for them. For example, what channel is your customer-base engaging on most often? What type of products are they viewing, or what type of content are they consuming? Are they dropping off, or are they returning visitors looking for more information? This will help you understand their preferences and behaviors so you can tailor your strategy to them.

The only certainty is change.

Although the previous items are not a comprehensive list of strategies used by insurance companies for engaging consumers, the list does represent table stakes when it comes to the ongoing effort to meet customer expectations in an ever changing world.

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