Speed Equals Satisfaction in a Historically Slow Insurance Industry
August 3, 2022
If there’s one thing your insurance business can do to improve both employee and client satisfaction, it’s finding a way to cut down delays and lag times in your internal and client-facing processes. More often than not, the right technology is a significant part of the answer.
The importance of moving quickly in today’s world
Two-day shipping is so 2014. These days consumers are accustomed to getting almost anything they want within a couple of hours, if not instantly. And this is true for more than physical products: People want instant price quotes for services, instant access to digital media, and instant answers to their questions from qualified professionals.
Speed is no longer a luxury or a differentiator. It’s a baseline expectation most consumers prioritize and are even willing to pay extra for. That means if your business isn’t offering a speedy customer experience, you can be certain your competitors are, and that spells lost business.
Speed drives satisfaction in insurance
People don’t like to wait. Even putting a customer on hold for a few minutes can cause customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores to take a nosedive. It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that, when it comes to customer experience with insurance companies, getting claims resolved quickly is a large component of client satisfaction and retention.
A recent study by insurance industry SMS messaging provider Hi Marley found that the highest performing and highest rated claims adjusters also had the lowest time to first contact (TTFC). These high-performing insurance employees reached out to their clients in as little as three minutes, making 80 percent of their first contacts within the first three and a half hours. On the other hand, the lowest performing claims adjusters took upward of two days to make initial contact with their customers.
It’s not earth-shattering to learn that the claimants who received responses within a few hours were happier with the service they received than their multi-day-response-time counterparts. But seeing how dramatic a difference this speed can make, not just in customer satisfaction but also in profitability, is newsworthy. The Hi Marley study found that the top-performing claims adjusters were able to close out claims 10 percent faster than the lowest performing adjusters, on average, that translated to completing a claim three days quicker.
When you think about shaving off three days, or 10 percent, from any of your business processes, think about the ripple effect that could have on everything from employee satisfaction to profitability. Whether it’s the same number of people doing more in less time, or being able to grow your volume of business without increasing headcount, removing delays in your processes tends to make everyone happier with the work they’re doing and the service they’re receiving.
Insurance has a speed problem
A 2018 PwC study found a vast majority of global survey respondents (nearly 80 percent) ranked “speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service” as key drivers of a great customer experience. The same study found an 18-point delta between respondents’ ranking of the importance of customer experience in the insurance industry and their actual level of satisfaction with their insurance industry experience.
Given what we know about the slow nature of the insurance industry as a whole, plus the Hi Marley data about claims speed and satisfaction, we can extrapolate that at least some portion of the less-than-ideal customer experience insurance consumers report is based on speed, or lack thereof.
Additional evidence of the tie between speed and satisfaction in the insurance industry is exemplified by record-high levels of customer satisfaction with auto claims in 2020 as COVID decreased the number of claims and processing times sped up. A J.D. Power study found that the lower number of auto claims reported during the pandemic helped insurers reduce the average (repairable) auto claim cycle from 12.6 days to 10.3 days. This correlated with a four-point increase in auto insurance customers who planned to renew their current policy compared to the prior year.
All in all, it seems clear that the insurance industry’s speed problem directly relates to its customer experience gap. But does this impact other areas outside of client retention? Short answer: You bet it does!
A smooth and fast experience matters to insurance producers and compliance staff too
Working at an insurance carrier, agency, or MGA/MGU, you can easily see the impact that quick communication and seamless processes can have on your clients’ satisfaction. The same is also true for your licensed agents and insurance producers, along with other operational and compliance staff.
A faster experience during onboarding means your producers are ready to sell faster. An easier (and faster) process for appointments and license renewals is less burdensome for administrative and compliance teams. Helping your staff do their jobs faster, including but not limited to enabling producers to be ready to sell sooner, helps you build a reputation as an insurance carrier or agency that’s easy to do business at, for, and ultimately with. Whether it’s your reputation among your in-house staff or your downstream distribution channel partners, being known for creating an exceptional experience helps everything from producer recruitment and retention to lowering operational costs.
Increasing speed with modern insurance technology
Insurance companies found a dramatic increase in customer satisfaction when claims adjusters used SMS technology to rapidly communicate with policyholders. Similarly, technology can hold the key for insurance carriers and agencies looking to reap the rewards of speeding things up in other areas of the business.
If your insurance agency, carrier, or MGA is suffering the consequences of slow, manual, and tedious producer onboarding, wasted money in unused carrier appointments, or delays caused by data and workflow silos (among many other issues), see how adding AgentSync can improve speed and satisfaction at every stage of the distribution lifecycle.