As we talk to Argo partners, we get many questions about our cutting-edge technology products – features, benefits, ROI. Often our partners are looking for technology or a tool to solve a problem. But when technology is the only solution employed, the problem may just be masked instead of fixed. We want our partners to see true benefits, not simply a state-of-the-art technology product.
The modern insurance-buying process is disjointed and cumbersome – and can often take weeks to complete. Customers must work with many different people, wade through many different options, and sign remarkably complex documents just to get started. And if they ever need to file a claim, they have to navigate yet another exceptionally complex process. Insurance has been slow to shift to the customer-centric buying models now widespread in other industries.
It’s time to focus on creating customer-centric experiences
Today, a lot of insurance companies focus on technology as the key to solving problems. In the world of commercial lines insurance – just as in the world of personal lines – we like to think solving a problem is as easy as rolling out a new process or product. But technology is just a tool, not an answer. And they must act quickly.
Yes, insurance companies must follow regulations and contract requirements. But even with those confines, a few simple changes can dramatically improve the customer experience. At Argo Digital – which develops technology products for Argo – we are changing how insurance companies both assess and transfer risk. Using a lean-startup-culture mentality, our teams produce ideas and products that fundamentally change the way people buy and process insurance.
Customers before technology
We start with the customer, not the technology. First, we envision the best possible user experience. And then we use technology to create that ideal customer experience. We aren’t just selling products. We are working to create a positive customer experience using technology to facilitate the process.
Across Argo, here are three technologies we are focusing on to become more customer-centric:
- Digital platforms – By using targeted logical questions in a digital format, insurance companies get the information they need with less burden on the customer. Smart forms change the questions based on the customer’s answers. Agents then have the exact information they need based on the specific customer. Underwriters then use that digital information to make a quick decision about rates and charges.
- Internet of things (IoT) – Instead of just providing insurance, Argo wants to reduce – and possibly eliminate – risks. Products such as our IoT-based thermometers let restaurants monitor food and prevent spoilage that causes foodborne illnesses. Argo also helps supermarkets reduce falls with IoT technology. By tracking how often employees walk around the floor, the technology looks for potential fall risks and provides guidance on eliminating them.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) – Insurers need to know what is likely to happen in the future. AI technology analyzes data to better predict risk and also to give insurers a better understanding of their customers, helping predict which customer will buy which kind of policy and coverage. Insurers use the data collected from partners and policyholders to run algorithms that help make smarter business decisions, such as detecting fraud and finding new sources of revenue.
It’s easy to focus on coverage and costs. It’s familiar and concrete. But to survive, the insurance industry must change the conversation to risk management. Instead of products and policies, the industry must focus on asking customers, How can I help your business be more effective and stay viable? And this shift starts by keeping customer experience front of mind at every turn.