By: Michael Settas, MD at Cinagi
Insuretech – the practice of deploying agile, adaptive, cost-effective and pre-emptive digital technologies to insurance businesses – is challenging the way the traditional insurance industry engages with customers and brokers.
It is upending and disrupting traditional insurance sales and service models in a sector that has been long overdue for a good dose of customer-centric innovation.
Agile insuretechs are geared to focus externally on the needs and preferences of customers and brokers, designing their solutions from the end-user’s perspective – a major departure from the
typical siloed, inside-out approach of traditional insurers that was often the result of maintaining outdated and cumbersome legacy platforms.
In developing our solutions, we spent most of 2019 using this insuretech methodology to better inform our service engagements with customers and brokers, with an overarching view to simplifying and streamlining them. After months of development, we finally launched our new gap cover provider – Cinagi – with all of these aspects designed into our systems and processes.
Yet is more to come but it has been a good start with excellent reviews so far.
Many of our front-end processes are automated such as applying online for cover, query resolution and electronic uploads for claims (typically the biggest pain point for gap cover clients). We also have automated claim adjudicating and premium allocations in our cloud-based back-end system, which drastically reduces the need for slow manual interventions. Our back-end system is also integrated directly with our banker’s systems, so that debit order premium collections flow directly from the policyholder’s bank account into our insurer’s bank account. This de-risks us and our insurer from relying on 3rd party collection agents.
In terms of our customer engagements we have done away with call centres and replaced it with an omni-channel approach, deploying two modern service platforms – Whatsapp Business and Calendly.
The Whatsapp channel is a menu-driven service platform for both brokers and customers. Basic query items have instant bot-driven responses but if at any stage you wish to speak to a consultant, you can select the relevant menu item and the chat is directed to one of our consultants to take over the service query.
We have made sure not to lose the human touch – we just decided to keep the human engagement for the more complex or involved service queries. For simple and quick queries, you can get answers to queries or documents downloaded within seconds using the automated menu items.
The Calendly platform on our website is better suited to more complex servicing requirements – you book a telephone appointment with us at a time that is convenient for you. You may know that you will be travelling home between 5pm and 5.30pm and it would then be convenient to receive a call from us.
This approach to servicing not only means that we slot into the time that is convenient for you, but it also means that our service engagement is pre-emptive. When you make the Calendly booking, we ask a few quick questions so that when we call you, we are prepared with the necessary information or answers that you are looking for.
We have also not left the innovation exclusively to the servicing side of the business. Cinagi’s gap cover premium structure means that pricing is actuarially more accurate and sustainable.
In contrast to the traditional gap cover market, if you are single or a single parent, you pay a much lower premium on Cinagi than if you are, say, a family of five. Equally so, a lower entry age gives you a better price and so does having a medical scheme with richer cover levels.
These innovative product attributes offer more value to the consumer but to extract the value, we had to develop our systems accordingly. The gap cover market has traditionally avoided these value-adding attributes because of limited system capabilities, so incumbent gap cover insurers are going to need to do some catching up if they are to remain competitive.
It clearly emphasises that our insuretech approach not only gives Cinagi the servicing edge, but also adds more value to the consumer.
Insurance providers that do not embrace an insuretech approach will find themselves falling behind, as they struggle to deliver both service levels and products that are competitive in the market and futureproofed for an increasingly demanding and evolving consumer.