How the data revolution can benefit consumers

Junction recently provided Insurance Post with an insight into how the data revolution can benefit consumers, read the full article below.  

The vast amount of data available to insurance providers in an increasingly digital world offers extraordinary potential for our industry, allowing us to understand our customers better, to refine our pricing and to improve and personalise the relationships customers have with brands. 

Certainly at Junction we’re finding that our partner brands – some of the UK’s biggest names – have an increasing appetite for a data-driven digital approach to the customer journey, and that chimes with the way customers expect to access their insurance products. Across the board, customers increasingly carry out their financial affairs via digital channels, and want the ability to use their smartphones and iPads not just to buy but also to manage their policies. Internet usage is rapidly approaching a tipping point between mobile and desktop in the UK, with 44.4% of pages loaded on mobile devices today compared with under 5% just five years ago. 

Customers want the flexibility to access their information on their terms and in whichever format they choose – and it’s incumbent on insurers and brokers to harness data to make that a simple and straightforward process. According to recent research from Accenture , a majority (62%) of consumers say it’s important to them to be able to manage their financial affairs in a way which suits them, while almost half (46%) feel that a personalised service is important to them.

I predict that the personal lines insurance providers who’ll do best in this increasingly connected environment will be those which take advantage of the masses of data available to them to streamline and simplify their processes. In the end, the customer wants the simplest interaction possible. 

One recent example of how we’re doing that at Junction is our recent introduction of automated no claims discount checks at the point of quote where, by using existing insurance data, we can dispense with the need for customers to post in proof of NCD – a clear improvement which smoothes the buying process for customers as well as helping to reduce fraud.   

We’re also looking at data on customers’ buying patterns and the way they live their life, developing products and propositions that are better suited to the way customers access and purchase their insurance today. The more we know and understand our customers, the better we can serve them.

We’re fortunate to work with some very powerful brands which the customer has close connections with. Taking the combination of their existing affinity with those brands with the propositions that we can now build will move us towards a space where we’re no longer just an insurance provider. Our insurance, incorporated as part of a wider relationship package, will resonate with customers, particularly now that they’re looking for more than just a transactional purchase. 

Tapping further in to the connection customers have with these brands, along with the data both we and the brands hold, allows us to enhance the relationship by, for example, surprising them with a treat tailored to them – which could be anything from a dash cam to a free lunch. 

And it’s not just in digital channels where the data revolution benefits customers. Despite all the evidence for a transition towards smartphone and tablet as preferred channels, there is still a key role for human interaction in customer services. Customers want the ability to speak to real humans, in real time, who understand their issues and can resolve them quickly and efficiently. So in our contact centres we’re making significant investments in data technology to help with that – including using speech analytics technology to boost service quality, help direct calls to where they’re needed and identify and address recurring issues. Where beforehand, the wealth of data from the millions of calls our contact centres receive every year was unmanageable, speech analytics technology allows us to track all voice communications, identifying patterns, analysing keywords, resolving issues and improving customer service. 

So as counterintuitive as it may sound, big data can actually be harnessed to provide a more personal, human service. We in the industry need to fully embrace the data revolution to lay strong foundations for a customer-centred future.
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