Wynand van Vuuren, Client experience partner, King Price
The global Covid-19 pandemic has made its presence felt in the South African motor insurance industry. After two years of lockdown, King Price’s client experience partner, Wynand van Vuuren, looks into how the national lockdown has significantly affected the car insurance industry by answering these three questions:
What have car insurers learnt in the past two years?
Firstly, we’ve seen a clear shift in how consumers view risk. Covid-19 shook us to our core and made us question how prepared we really are for a crisis. As millions of South Africans re-evaluated their finances, their risks and their lives, we’ve seen a growing realisation that insurance, so long seen as a grudge purchase, is critical to cushioning life’s unexpected blows.
Secondly, the past two years have underlined the need for digitalisation. We’ve been talking about technology being the biggest disruptor in the insurance industry for some time now. The industry has been investing heavily in technology in recent years, and we’ll soon see automation and artificial intelligence embedded into practically every aspect of insurance operations, from claims and underwriting to create a more individualised, smoother customer experience.
What has changed permanently?
The pandemic speeded up a growing shift in mobility patterns and how people own cars. In urban areas, South African consumers are increasingly able to get around without owning their own cars. At the same time, younger generations simply don’t see cars as status symbols in the same way that older generations do: They see them as a way of getting from A to B. These changing ownership patterns will have a major impact on the insurance industry.
But the bigger, permanent change is how technology has enabled consumers to disrupt traditional insurance models. Today’s clients want simple products tailored to their needs, a slick engagement experience, and the ability to interact on the platform of their choice. Technology allows insurers to compete on the basis of a differentiated customer experience, and AI, user-friendly apps and chatbots are driving a range of digital-first, human-friendly services that are tailored to the exact needs of the client.
Who will be the winners of this space?
The winners in the ‘new’ car insurance industry will be the companies that can transform their operations to ‘digital-first’ the fastest. As we see a greater focus on factors like personalised premiums and usage-based coverage, we’re certain to see more alliances and collaboration between traditional insurance and InsureTech firms. The traditional company provides the footprint, the market knowledge and the client base; the InsureTech provides the tech that drives new insurance models and revenue streams, higher profitability, improved customer experience and reduced operational costs.