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FSC Session: Insurance - Accelerating the Customer Agenda. What Needs to be True?

The FSC Generations conference is well underway. Yesterday I attended numerous sessions but thought I would write up some key highlights from the session 'Insurance - Accelerating the Customer Agenda. What Needs to be True?'

The session was hosted by Mark Banicevich and had a star-studded panel including Gail Costa, Nick Stanhope, Don Allerston, Clare Bolingford, and Russell Hutchinson.

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The reason for the session was to discuss what needs to be done going forward to meet the customers needs when it comes to life insurance. Three areas in particular featured a lot throughout the session: Affordability, Complexity and Trust. Below are some key points discussed:

  • Personal risk insurance exists to support Kiwi families – that is why we are here. But too many New Zealanders have no or not enough insurance. Only 38% of respondents from recent research have life insurance.

  • Customers all have different needs, so they need to work with an adviser to meet those needs as it requires time and knowledge to understand life insurance. They need to understand differences in products across the market. 

  • Trust is also extremely important to customers. Technology has also become more important, due to lockdown. Digital experience is also very important, we need to adapt and evolve as an industry.

  • Advice builds trust and confidence. Customers need predictability, they want assurance insurers will deliver on their promise. They expect flexibility and customisation – that is where we should be moving to.

  • The advisers are not a growing number, we need to bring more advisers into the industry. They tend to operate to their own client base.

  • It would be useful to find out how many Pacific island and Maori advisers there are. Do we currently have enough to influence the market to different ethnicities?

  • As an industry we need to find new customers via platforms that suit them. We need to build more engagement – things customers are involved in they tend to remember well.

  • Clients’ income is dropping but premiums are increasing significantly. How do we address that CPI is increasing at 1.5% but premium percentage increases are now regularly up in the double digits. We need to be conservative with pricing, so we are around long term to be able to pay claims. Automation will help bring costs down. There is an assumption that life insurance is too expensive without people even looking into it, how can we change this? 

  • We need to get in early with educating on life insurance – teach kids at school, what are financial products? Help them raise discussions and make decisions.

  • COVID-19 has already made the industry different – some of the trends we need to take from it are technology, digital, or still face to face meetings. We should let me the consumer decide and we respond to their needs.

  • The FMA asks to just do the basics well. The processes are not always there to achieve customer satisfaction. Embed a culture that is more customer eccentric. There won’t be a dramatic shift from the FMA, what was set in the code and conduct review is it.

  • Conduct risk management needs to be elevated to the same level as financial risk management for the customers sake.

  • We need to demystify the products and get a clearer customer understanding. We should come together and create centralised terms across the industry to help with customer understanding and to build trust.

  • There are numerous giant companies like Amazon who have made a move into the insurance industry – are we saturating it?

  • The pace of change has to be more manageable. We need to be better at data and insights – we currently tend to live off older information. We need to keep pace with changing needs and demographics. It is a continuous journey, it is not a one quick fix.
  • The expectations of customers is increasing, people are more time poor. Convenience is a huge thing, but we also know the value of advice. In the future we may move to a more streamlined online advice.

  • We need to use tools to assess health and wellbeing and assist with advice on how to improve these such as smart watches and apps.

Overall, all the topics discussed throughout the session such as price, simplicity, engagement, wellness and technology were all customer focused so it will be interesting to see what the future holds - it looks hopeful.

 

 

 

 

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