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Category Life Insurance

Think forward #innoruption

20 March 2019 Myra Knoesen

FAnews attended an RGA Client Seminar, at the Country Club in Johannesburg, where Stephen Grootes, Award-winning journalist and political commentator, discussed the economic and political overview of South Africa.

This was followed by the key learnings from initiatives around the world with Jaqui Wassenaar, Business Development Actuary at RGA Re.

The balancing act 

Speaking at the RGA Client Seminar, Grootes pointed out the political fracture of the South African landscape.

“Most of the politics appear to focus on the three major parties, the ANC, the DA and the EFF. At the same time, there’s a plethora of new, smaller parties entering the political stage. In 1994, the African National Congress (ANC) dominated. In 2019, ANC provinces dominate. In 1994 there were 20 political parties and in 2019 we have over 200. We have the ANC, United Democratic Movement (UDM), Congress of the People (COPE), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Democratic Alliance (DA), African Independent Congress (AIC) and others,” said Grootes.

“As we get closer to May 8, the latest poll suggests that in the national picture, the ANC is sitting on 54.6%, the DA is on 21.8% and the EFF is on 12.2%. It is an important shift. In the longer run, it means that elections become much more contested, and that political parties will have to work harder for votes,” he said.

“Things have changed over the last few years. Power is moving from provinces to cities and it is getting harder and harder to dominate and instill change,” he said.

The pace of change 

Speaking of change, on the innovative side, Wassenaar emphasized that change will happen faster in the next 10 years, than it did 10 years ago.

In her presentation, Wassenaar highlighted this shift in the way brands have emerged and dominated over the past few years.

“Driving huge profits and soaring market values Apple, Google and Amazon dominate their respective sectors thanks to winning products and services. When one asks why these remain strong brands, year on year, it is simple: Apple (is simple), Google (is accessible) and Amazon (is customer centric),” she said.

“So, how can we apply this to life insurance? Make it simple, accessible and customer centric,” she said.

The level of engagement 

In 2017, RGA worked with clients around the world in improving their level of engagement through a variety of proven strategies.

“Leverage existing data. Life insurers can use data they already collect to engage policyholders and capitalize on upsell and cross-sell opportunities – delivering the right product to the right customer at the right time. In Asia, RGA’s ‘Claims as a Business’ initiative leverages hospital claims data in this way. A proprietary algorithm enables us to identify low-risk lives among claimants, who we then introduce to other life and critical illness products. Since these individuals have already had a positive touchpoint with the insurer (i.e. they received payment on a claim), they have an increased propensity to buy. RGA pilot projects reveal that insurers using this approach achieve an upsell rate many times that of the industry average, and in many cases, policyholders go on to refer family and friends,” she said.

“Target policyholders with the most appropriate product through the most effective channels. People may prefer text, desktop, telephone, or a combination at varying times. It is important to find out both how our customers want to be contacted and how frequently,” she continued.

“Given that traditional life insurance touchpoints are somewhat limited, it is vitally important to look for new ways to create, curate, and promote content that consumers value – and to debunk common life insurance myths: that it’s expensive, complex, and difficult to understand. According to a 2015 study conducted by LIMRA and a nonprofit organization named LifeHappens, the main reason for not buying life insurance is cost. Interestingly, however, the study also reveals that this reason is based on false perception, particularly amongst millennials, who overestimate the cost of life insurance by an alarming 213%. Insurers who educate consumers on the value of life insurance via a multichannel, content-based marketing strategy will position themselves for big growth in the years ahead,” said Wassenaar. 

“Build on the basics. Ultimately, successful engagement is about making the customer happy. It starts with getting the basics right by making underwriting and claims processes as simple, seamless, and positive as possible. The era of consumer engagement in insurance has arrived, and with it the opportunity to improve outcomes for consumers and insurers alike,” continued Wassenaar.

The life insurance journey 

“Offerings need to be persuasive – consistent, authentic etc. Leverage social media and appeal to how people grow themselves and engage. Make digital offerings approachable and likeable. Make people like you or make sure people remember you. Enable people and make it easy for people to connect with your company. Also, customize new technology to engage with older people. Analyze behavioral aspects across every aspect of the life insurance journey,” continued Wassenaar.

“The era of consumer engagement in insurance is well underway, and now is the time to seize this exciting growth opportunity. Winners will be those who best connect products and services with the needs of consumers and make the insurance buying experience as natural and smooth as possible. How do you get there? One step at a time,” she concluded.

Editor’s Thoughts:
As we have seen, a lot has changed in the last few years, on the political, economic and innovative front, and will continue to do so in the years ahead. Considering the pace in which change is happening, do you believe it will get harder to keep up? Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me your thoughts myra@fanews.co.za.

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