IIG News

IIG Insights: Customer Experience In Insurance & In The “Now” Generation

Darryl Grater, present IIG President, warmly welcomed everyone on a wintery Spring Day. He reminded all that this was a CPD accredited session sponsored by Old Mutual Insure (OMI) and encouraged all in attendance to share their experiences on all social media platforms with the hashtag #InsuringTomorrow

Darryl welcomed, Antonia Oakes of OMI, who is responsible for the customer experience at OMI. She is a customer exp professional and has been working within financial services for about 16yrs. She is a well-known thought leader, is the Deputy Chair for OMI women’s network and holds a master’s degree in business leadership.

Antonia thanked Darryl and welcomed everyone to her presentation. She expressed that being asked to present at the IIG Insights Session is a great privilege and honour where she gets to speak about her passion, “customer experience” (CX). This is led by her personal passion for people and the connection to the human race which influenced her career choices.

Why CX

Often people confuse CX with service which has been in play for well over the last 15yrs. Antonia advised that she will unpack the true sense in the science of CX in insurance as this has become the top priority for businesses in 2020.

Customers no longer base loyalty on price or product but stay loyal due to experience. If you cannot keep up with the increasing demand, customers will leave. Most companies don’t know how to improve CX or even understand the science behind it.

Customer centricity = sustainable growth:

  • Consistently meet or exceed customer expectations
  • Increased customer satisfaction & brand perception
  • Increased customer loyalty & advocacy
  • Increase in profitable revenue

Loyal customers have better retention, are not price sensitive and will take up other product offers as well. When you perfect CX, you automatically reduce the cost to service. Through proactive & predictive customer engagement, your customer will automatically know how to connect with your brand. With the onset of COVID, customer behaviour has changed rapidly as there is more use of online communication.

Digital disruption lowers barriers to entry, ‘hyper-adoption’ reduces customer loyalty and a changing workforce makes it harder to retain talent.

Air B&B as an example has had to consistently be fluid to changing customer needs and processes and had to be constantly innovative. Netflix and Tesla used new digital tools and have essentially created previously unimaginable value in and beyond their industries. A changing workforce makes it harder to retain talent as millennials prefer to work in companies where they have a sense of purpose. Providing better customer experience gives those employees that sense of purpose.

Organisational understanding of CX as a discipline is still in its incubation state. Differentiating on CX requires one to embed customers in the psyche of one’s organisation and every individual who works within it. It is a long-term business strategy, not a quick fix. It requires strategic thinking, scientific measurement and emotional intelligence. It is an organisation-wide collaborative effort, needing committed leadership and hardcore change management.

CX is not technology, neither is it a digital platform. CX is the sum of all interactions a customer has with a supplier of goods and/or services, for the duration of their relationship with that supplier. CX is how your customers perceive their interactions with your company.  CX is not to be mistaken with customer service which includes turnaround times & quality of product and/or service.

Three core elements of experience:

All organisations should be embedding CX strategy that focuses on the three components that make up all experiences:

  • Emotional
  • Functional
  • Accessible (total + experience)

Using airlines as an example, we find they provide easy and accessible ways to get a boarding pass e.g. online or airport kiosks. As well as, did the flight attendant greet you with a smile, did they remember your allergies or dietary preferences when the ticket was booked. It’s this emotional connection that prompt customers to continuously use the brand. One needs to also ensure that product developers within a company also understand customer needs.

Distinguishing Customer Service, CX and Customer Centricity:

CS – people call customer service when there is a problem looking for a resolution.

CC – putting customers at the heart of everything will lead to increased customer satisfaction & loyalty which ultimately results in an increase in profits.

CX – is how your customers perceive their interaction with your company. Employee experience is just as important as CX. Unhappy employees cannot deliver optimal connectivity to customer.

CX in Insurance & the ‘now’ generation

This ‘now’ generation seeks comprehensive choices, flexibility and speed of delivery. Obsession with the digital world means that CX in insurance is no longer judged in a vacuum against other insurers but rather against companies who make it easy to do business with them.

Nike as an example created an online experience whereby customers could design their own shoes, customise it and thereafter share their experience on various platforms. Having one’s own name next to a well-known brand like Nike made it a highly memorable experience.

Three P&C Insurance Trends:

 Trend #1 = generational change

There is an ongoing generational battle between baby boomers & millennials. Boomers prefer things as they are and dislike the changes millennials bring. Millennials believe boomers are afraid of change. Boomers are not tech savvy and prefer dealing with paper documents. Companies need to be ready for handling data on hardcopy as well as online.

Trend #2 = investing in digital technology

Designing tech savvy solutions must be done with the customer at the centre, understanding the customer persona and the journey. Companies need to overlay digital technology with customer needs & experiences.

Trend #3 = rise of gig & share economies

Popular P&C insurance trends gaining significant traction is anything involving Gig and Share economies.

Gig economy: any on-demand service for hire, personal shopper, apple music

Share economy: P2P (peer to peer), such as uber, air bnb, etc.

Nobody owns the customer, but everyone should be working together in this ecosystem to provide the customer a “wow’ experience.

The Covid-19 pandemic has encouraged greater levels of online engagement between organisations and their customers, particularly in the e-commerce space. Basic housekeeping matters can be solved with simple tactical interventions. There’s little excuse for having a slow website or app. Consumers are willing to switch rival brands and pay more for identical products/services if they believed the customer experience would be better.

Antonia then played a video looking at the customer of the future. It portrayed a scary reality involving possibly implanting tech into the human body in the future. This video was an extract of a Netflix series “Years & Years”.


CX in a business is everyone’s responsibility, real-time engagement and contextually relevant messaging all with the 360-degree user insights. One cannot have a silo approach when driving CX. Everyone needs to understand and buy into their company value and vision. If one incorporates this understanding into your world then your customers will sell your brand.

Once Antonia completed her presentation, Darryl Grater opened the Q&A session. A recurring theme questioned who should take ownership between an Insurer and a Broker and Antonia advised that brokers & insurers are interwoven into this process. Customers prefer choice and will go wherever they are understood. Intermediaries should focus on being a partner to the Insurer and find new ways of working and essentially do what’s best for the customer. Many compliments were also received on the topic and session. Darryl closed by thanking OMI and Antonia Oakes.

By: Asiya Swaleh