When Hog Meets Car

When Hog Meets Car

Three cheers for my auto insurer, which gets unexpectedly high grades for a claim experience. (And no, for you conspiracy theorists, they are not currently a Celent client.) I recently had the misfortune of introducing the front end of my 3000-pound car to a 200-pound wild hog. At highway speed, it wasn’t good for either of them. But my car is insured, at least. While I wouldn’t wish the experience on anyone, some good news about our industry crept into the story. Witness:

  • A pleasant FNOL. I literally called my insurer as I was driving home from the hospital, and 10 minutes later the claim was in process. The reps on the phone were empathetic, helpful, and knowledgeable. Coverages, deductibles, and repair options were all sorted out promptly. Grade: A-
  • Quick action on the fix. Even though my car was towed to a non-company lot, my insurer arranged to have it brought to their local repair facility, free of charge. Of course it was worth it to them to have better control over the repair, but it was also easy for me. Grade: A
  • Updates every three days for the duration. How did they know I would have called them several times to make sure my car would be returned to me promptly? Experience probably told them, and they swapped out my inbound calls for some proactive outbound calls that they controlled. Smart. Grade: A+
  • Good execution. The car was ready when they said it would be. It had two minor issues, so I’ll ding them for quality control. But the claim center reps jumped to resolve the issues quickly, which prevented a blight on an otherwise great experience. Grade: B+

From an analyst’s perspective, I think this is a triumph of technology, process, and customer psychology. Like many consumers, I’m suspicious what will happen to my premiums at renewal. But for now, I’m telling my friends and family that my insurer knows why I pay them.

Wishes for 2009 From a European Insurance CIO

Wishes for 2009 From a European Insurance CIO
Celent has the chance to be continuously in the heart of insurers’ preoccupations. Knowing how difficult it is to make optimal decisions in order to thrive–especially in today’s environment–keeps us informed about the hurdles to overcome. Today we are proud to share with you the wishes of a European insurance CIO, Guy Malherbe from Les Retraites Populaires. Thank you Guy for your contribution.
In 2008, life insurers were deeply impacted by the financial crisis, especially within their wealth management divisions. Nevertheless, some insurers were very successful in generating new premiums thanks to their financial stability and low exposure to risks (e.g., sub-prime, hedge funds, etc.). That was one of the paradoxes of this crisis. Collateral effects for these “lucky losers” have been moderate, even for the IT divisions. But Operational Expense and Capital Expense IT budgets for 2009 have been reduced due to the bad economic climate, which I believe will last at least one more year. So, technology executives in insurance will have to face the dilemma of “doing more with less.” As I am one of these, my goals for 2009 are:
  • Ensuring business continuity. IT services are part of the core business of life insurance. They have to be reliable and powerful to support day to day business, even in the worst cases like this economical crisis.
  • Focusing on short-term customer needs but maintaining a long-term perspective. Customers are anxious about their investments and need to be reassured. They are looking for stability and low-risk financial products. Life insurance could be the right answer if we invest in building trust-based and lasting relationships with our customers that help to restore confidence in financial products.
  • Keeping faith in the future and welcoming the “Internet generation” by implementing innovative life e-insurance services and advice. The Internet generation is getting older and will soon be interested in life insurance products. Insurers must be prepared to fulfil their needs by offering new ways of managing “virtual” relationships with this promising segment of “e-customers.”
I am sure that 2009 will be a challenging year for life insurance CIOs, but it will also bring with it a lot of great business opportunities.