Will Amazon and Google Be the Next Customer Experience Disruptors in Insurance?

Industry leaders discuss the essential rules for a great CX in insurance and who to look out for within the sector.

The first discussion at this week's Customer Experience Transformation: Insurance conference in London saw a varied panel of CX experts, with Richard Beaven, former Operations Director - Insurance Division at Lloyds Banking Group; Patricia Nunez, Head of Digital at Bupa; and Wim Stoop, Senior Product Marketing Manager of Jive Software.

They discussed 'The Essential Rules for Delivering an Exemplary Customer Experience', and Beaven opened by saying that "thinking outside of the box and outside of the insurance industry is really important" for achieving that.

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Nunez highlighted that generational diversity within the make-up of a team is important too. She added that when she devised her team at Bupa, she made sure there were people who understood the organisation's legacy and she paired them with those outside of the industry - to create a truly diverse group of people.

And Stoop added a controversial insight: the insurance industry really isn't that different from other sectors. He explained that within financial services trust is often cited as a key differentiator, however, he gave the example of clothing manufacturer Lululemon, which also struggled with this issue and managed to overcome it. It is all about "actively listening" to your customers, he said.

However, Beaven did point out that the insurance industry is incredibly product thinking, coupled with the feeling that 'we must be cost efficient'. "Therefore it is incredibly hard to make end-to-end customer experience work. There needs to be a fundamental change," Beaven argued.

An audience member asked whether there is a company within the sector ahead of the game in doing this. Beaven responded that none were, but many are trying.

So is there no disruptor such as Uber within the insurance industry yet?

Nunez said that Hi Oscar is certainly on that path. Born out of issues with Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act in the US, they are tackling customer experience and re-imagining insurance from a digital perspective. "They're the one to look out for," she said.

She also added that there are some disruptors from outside of the industry that established insurers should keep an eye on. "Amazon and Google have the balls [to break through the mould] and will be in insurance within 2 years."

And finally, what does an exemplary CX mean for each of the panellists?

Beaven: "One that is defined by what the customer finds exemplary, not what we think is."He explained that more often than not customers are bundled together for a mass market approach, and that doesn't work. Exemplary is a bespoke service for them, and not what the industry defines it is.

Nunez added what she wants from a service within insurance, as a customer: "I want simple. Speak in my language and strip the jargon out of it. Give me what I need and tell me when and how you will be there for me when I need you."

She explained that the perception is that when she needs insurance companies they won't be there, because there are a lot of exclusions, so she wants it all clear and simple. She wants to buy easily and for it to be there. Simplicity and transparency are key.

"I can only agree with that," Stoop concluded.