customer-first|3 mins Read
On-demand services and insurance: support tailored to people's needs that is increasingly widespread
February 14, 2023
Over the last few years, on-demand insurance and assistance services have paved the way to ways of more precisely tailoring packages based on client needs. Driven by breakthroughs in technology, these products are at the centre of an innovative revolution – one in which responsiveness and improved user pathways have their roles to play. APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are more widely available, and we have websites, mobile applications and data, all of which can be used to create new digital experiences in insurance and assistance.
Self-service – granting consumers the option to fully or partly manage their account, or providing them with access to support information – is increasingly widespread, both in companies and for consumers.
Self-service insurance portals have emerged over the last few years – they are websites that can be used to speed up various operations performed by insurance companies, simplifying the way in which insured parties can access insurance services. The result is that it is easier to take out policies on request or to manage and make claims – everything can be done in just a few clicks. According to the 2017 World Insurance Report, which looks at innovation in the insurtech sector, nearly three quarters of clients (74.8%) who are comfortable using technology view the option to make an insurance declaration online or via a mobile telephone as absolutely key. Furthermore, nearly 70% of Gen Y clients (born between 1980 and 1995) appreciate being able to renew, modify or cancel their insurance policies digitally. Since the pandemic, this appreciation of digital technologies has increased: according to the results of a global survey conducted by EY, only 28% of European consumers used to favour digital contact with their agents before Covid-19. Since the pandemic, this figure has jumped to 43%.
Digital portals also mean that accident and damage claims can be processed much faster. Insurance agents no longer need to manually enter information about the client's compensation request: now they can focus on verifying the legitimate nature of a given request. This means that the whole approvals process is significantly accelerated. And now that clients have their own online account, the policy holder can easily check how much progress has been made with their request. These new ways of doing things resulted in a world record being set in 2017. That year, insurance company Lemonade settled an insurance claim in just three seconds.
On-demand insurance is a flexible solution that is adapted to a lifestyle where custom services are increasingly prevalent. What's more, technology is revolutionising the procedures for taking out cover: an on-demand insurance policy can be taken out in an instant via a mobile phone or computer. This new type of insurance means that consumers only have to pay for the cover they need (and that applies even more to “pay-as-you-use” type policies), when they need it.
According to a 2021 McKinsey study, clients' requests have significantly changed: what they now want is a more “integrated client experience”, one in which insurance is purchased in addition to other goods and services. The report also highlights just how important it is for insurance companies to utilise digital ecosystems, and in particular to establish a presence for themselves in digital marketplaces, focused on clients' specific requirements.
Finally, digital technologies enable packages to be customised – something else which appeals to clients. Although insurance professionals have long used data to assess risks, the trend is even more pronounced now that we have “big data”. Assessments are increasingly precise and customised since data can be collected and analysed in real time. The result is that insurance companies can create products that are better tailored to client needs, resulting in savings in terms of compensation costs. According to the 2021 McKinsey study, insurance companies with cutting-edge analytical capabilities have average annual growth rates that are four times higher than those of their competitors over five years.
With the explosion in the numbers of connected objects in our lives (watches, Alexa or Google Home type speakers, cars, home automation, etc.), a new way of looking at on-demand insurance and assistance is now emerging in the sector.
Auto insurance companies, for example, have always used indicators such as age or accident history when determining the cost of insurance premiums for drivers. But with the emergence of connected cars and road infrastructure, data about a driver's behaviour and how they are using their vehicle can be leveraged in real time. The speed at which the driver is driving or the times during which they use their vehicle are indicators that can now be factored in by insurance companies when they are pricing risk. And as far as policyholders are concerned, thanks to the Internet of things, they need only pay for insurance when they actually use their car. Pay-as-you-go policies mean that they don't have to pay for insurance during the months when their car is in the garage, for example.
And as far as healthcare is concerned, the Internet of things is opening up new possibilities for insurance companies – particularly in risk detection and assistance. Connected watches are already able to provide information about people's heart rate, their blood pressure, their temperature and their sports habits. Insurance companies can use all this information to determine risk and establish the specific needs of the people they are insuring. Insurance companies can use the data automatically shared by objects to detect fraudulent claims (being able to geo-locate a laptop, for example, will tell you where it was lost, stolen or damaged). Similarly, clients can be encouraged to share health data generated by their connected objects in order to get more advantageous rates.
Home automation – various pieces of home equipment being connected up to the Internet – is becoming increasingly prevalent, meaning that ill or elderly people can also take advantage of these breakthroughs. Active Assisted Living–the international research programme – shows that increasingly, automation in the home is an extension of the smart home. We can imagine a time in the future when – thanks to this connectivity – insurance companies operating in healthcare will be able to coordinate in-domicile nursing care, the result being a better, faster service.
Adaptation, autonomy, responsiveness and connectivity: the insurance sector of the future is already able to leverage digital technological innovations providing users with increasingly fluid and customised experiences.