Policyholder Communication Preferences: What Do Today’s Insurance Customers Want?
The insurance industry has a customer experience problem, partly due to the fact that insurers rarely interact with their policyholders. A 2020 E&Y research study reported that 44% of insurance customers had no interactions at all with their insurers in the prior 18 months.1 To meet consumer expectations, insurers need to engage policyholders, and to do that, they need to understand policyholder communication preferences.
Nobody wants to hear from their insurer – right?
Actually, that’s wrong.
It turns out that many policyholders really do want to hear from their insurer. According to a survey from Collinson2, 63% of respondents stated that they are open to more communications from their insurers, and 73% indicated they’re interested in receiving targeted recommendations.
That makes sense. Policyholders pay their insurers premiums every month. They probably would like to be reassured that their money is being spent wisely. It’s often appreciated when insurers provide personalized risk management and coverage tips.
When there’s a claim in progress, good communication is especially important. The J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Study3 found good communication during the FNOL process can put the claimant at ease, and McKinsey & Company4 identified ease of communicating with the insurer as one of the five qualities driving satisfaction in auto claims.
Reiterating the results found in the E&Y research, the Collinson survey found that only 46% of consumers say they hear from their insurers frequently. Put simply, insurers aren’t reaching out to policyholders as much as policyholders would like.
Many policyholders want to hear from their insurers more often, but what about communication that goes the other way? What do consumers expect when they have to contact their insurers with a question or problem?
It probably goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. Customers hate having to wait.
A study from Hi Marley5 found that insurance customers rate ‘speed of response’ as the most important expectation when texting. The second most important expectation is ‘24/7 availability’. Insurance issues can happen anytime, night or day, weekday or weekend, and not everyone operates on a 9:00 to 5:00 schedule. Policyholders want to be able to reach their insurers whenever issues arise.
Additionally, customers do not want to be put on hold. HubSpot Research6 found that 82% of consumers says it’s important or very important to get an immediate response to marketing or sales concerns, and 90% say it’s important or very important to get an immediate response to customer service questions. For sales and support issues, the majority of consumers define an immediate response as 10 minutes or less. If insurers take longer than 10 minutes to respond to their customers, there’s a good chance their customers will be frustrated by the delay.
For some customers, and in some channels, 10 minutes might not be fast enough. According to the Zendesk 2020 Customer Experience Trends Report7, 28% of people expect a reply on chat in less than five minutes.
Modern consumers have numerous options when it comes to communication including phone, text, email, chat and apps. They also have some pretty strong preferences.
These days, many people seem to pick text messages as their top communication option. The Hi Marley study found that 71% of consumers prefer texting as the primary way to communicate with businesses they already work with. Email is the second most popular channel, and phone is the third most popular.
The Hi Marley study also found that 80% of consumers feel insurance companies that text build closer customer bonds and 84% said they would save an insurance company’s text number in their contacts.
This goes back to what the Collinson’s survey found. Insurance customers really do want to hear from their insurers. Moreover, they want to hear from their insurers via text messaging. By keeping in regular contact with their insurance customers, insurers may be able to strengthen the customer relationship and boost loyalty.
Communication preferences can vary by generation. For example, a survey from HighSpeedInternet8 found that Millennials in particular dislike talking on the phone; 52% of Millennials say they get anxious taking calls, and 88% would rather text than call.
Older generations might not dislike phone calls as much as Millennials, but texting appears to be catching on with consumers of any age. Hi Marley found that it’s not just Gen Z and Millennial consumers who prefer texting. Even among consumers ages 54 and up, 72% prefer texting with businesses.
Meeting Your Policyholders’ Communication Needs
Are you keeping up with your policyholders’ communication needs and preferences? We’re here to help.
One Inc has partnered with Hi Marley to integrate our ClaimsPay® platform with Hi Marley’s two-way texting application. Through this integration, claim adjusters can have text messaging conversations with claimants and walk them through the entire claim process. Once the process is complete, a link will be sent to the claimant to choose their preferred payment method. This combined functionality allows adjusters to support the claim process from claim intake to claim payment, entirely through text messaging. How’s that for easy?
And for inbound premium payments, we have you covered too. With our low-code/no-code PremiumPay® 2.0 platform, insurers can easily trigger notifications and payment reminders via email, text, and IVR, as well as capture and maintain customer communication preferences.
Trust One Inc to make the complex — simple. That’s the Power of One.