It will not be insurtech startups that destroy the traditional insurance industry.
Rather, it will be a complete lack of urgency in regards to the insurance customer experience.
There is no more important aspect to the insurance customer experience over the next five years than speed to value.
How quickly can you deliver value to your customers?
The answer to that question could be the difference between disrupting and being disrupted.
We explain more in episode nine of The Show:
Speed to Value
Today we’re talking about giant slaying. We’re talking about David putting a grain of sand in his slingshot and taking down Goliath. Today we’re talking about killing the incumbent.
Today we’re talking about speed to value.
There’s a simple reason why insurance industry disruptors are having any impact on our industry at all, and that has to do with speed to value.
It has to do with them looking at our industry and finding ways in which they can provide our products and services to insurance consumers in a faster, cheaper, and easier manner.
They’re getting the value of the product to the customer faster than the current incumbents are able to do. It’s that sole idea that even gives them a shot. It’s their foot in the door.
Common Misconception of Speed to Value
Today we’re going to talk about what a common misconception of speed to value is, how insurtech companies are using speed to value to win market share away from incumbents, the three layers of speed to value that most people understand, how we can use those in our business, in our traditional insurance model, and how we can make improvements to that model in order to deliver the value to customers faster and win the speed to value game.
Most people confuse speed to value with the innovators’ curve, meaning they think whoever gets to market fastest is ultimately going to be the winner.
In many cases, that’s true, but the innovators’ curve is a very different concept. What we are talking about in speed to value is how quickly you are able to deliver value to customers once they engage with your brand.
It’s that simple idea that is allowing insurtech companies – in particular, companies with no history inside the industry – to ultimately penetrate and make waves.
Now, some of that is just really, really good PR, as we’ve seen from the recent financial results that many of our insurtech darlings have had.
But that doesn’t mean that the philosophy, the concepts, the strategy that they’re using isn’t valid. Speed to value is about getting what you do, what your customers want from you as a provider to them, as fast as you can.
Speed to Value is Hard
In the traditional sense, speed to value is actually a major problem for insurance providers.
Someone buys a policy. They’re essentially buying a promise, a piece of paper.
There’s no real, tangible item that they get to take home and put up on their wall or even really put in their desk since most policies are delivered electronically today.
Now, once you have that promise, it’s just a hope. There’s nothing there.
You don’t receive that value until you actually have a loss.
The speed to value, the amount of time between purchase of product and when actually receive the value from that product, can be a long time.
During that time between purchasing a policy and ultimately extracting the value from that policy, which is the claim reimbursement, the financial reimbursement, based on whatever product it is, that customer is deluged with marketing and branding and ideas, and they talk to friends.
This is when the initial high of making a decision to choose you, whether it’s the agency or the carrier, as their insurance provider, all the – I’m not going to say euphoria – the positive vibes that they had in choosing to make that purchase with you starts to get a little fuzzy.
They start to forget why they chose you because they’re getting pounded over the head with price and then they’re getting pounded over the head with commercials over here and then they see this person and they talk to their cousin and then they get a renewal and that renewal goes up 5% and they’re wondering,
“Why, if I didn’t file a claim, is my price going up?”
They still haven’t extracted any value from that policy.
It’s that time period when those good, positive vibes that they had when they ultimately made the decision to go with you as their provider start to become neutral and then possibly start to swing over to being negative because all they’re really feeling like is they’re paying more for something that they never actually used.
Speed to Value Solved
This is the problem that we have to solve, my friends.
We have to figure out ways that we can take the value that we provide and chop it up and deliver it throughout the course of the year.
Now, what that means is our only value to customers cannot be a little bit of education on the front end sale and when we actually pay out a claim because there is so much other time in between those two moments where that customer can become disenfranchised with us – with us as their provider, with us as their agent, with us as their carrier.
Then someone comes in with a slightly slicker message and new technology, and they can wedge their way in and buy those customers out from under us. This is the problem we have to solve.
In the insurance industry, there are three primary moments when speed to value matter more than anything else that you can do.
1) Initial Engagement
The first moment is when a prospect engages with your business, whether that’s via e-mail, phone call, Facebook messenger, or being hit up on Instagram – it doesn’t matter.
As soon as that prospect engages with your brand, how quickly are you delivering value? That could be delivering a quote to them. That could be having a coverage conversation with them.
That could be meeting them face to face, getting on the phone.
The tactics of this don’t necessarily matter. The tactics of this are less important than the idea that, when that customer engages with you, you have to respond.
You do not get to dictate the time table in which you deliver value to a prospect who has chosen to engage with your brand.
That is a non-negotiable.
The only chance that insurtech startups have to kill the incumbent insurance model is in this moment right here.
They have figured out that they can use technology to deliver value to engage prospects faster than the traditional model can today or is willing to.
As an industry, we need to adopt this as a baseline practice.
The moment a prospect engages with us, we deliver value as fast as we possibly can. There’s plenty of technology that is more than affordable to allow you to do that.
So at this point in 2017, we legitimately have no excuse for not immediately responding to a prospect, regardless of what time it is. 24/7 is easy.
Responding immediately, or at the longest, within ten minutes of a prospect engaging with our brand, is easy today.
If you’re not doing it, that is a choice you are making, my friends. I don’t know what else to say that this point. The technology is out there. We beat it up here on Agency Nation a million times.
You need to deliver value now.
2) After the Sale
Number two: delivering value after the sale.
You’ve engaged with the prospect, you’ve sold the policy, and now you need to deliver value again. This can come in many different forms.
You can send them a care package box in the mail. You can send them an automated e-mail campaign which introduced that client to all of your staff. You can invite them to a company function, an educational event.
The tactics are less important than the idea, which is: try to deliver value as soon as you possibly can after that sale.
It shows that you care.
It shows that you’re not going away.
It shows that you’re not going to forget about them.
It also helps indoctrinate and onboard them into the agency.
This is the part that we’re missing quite often.
A lot of agents have worked in that first layer.
This second layer is vitally important to the process.
We cannot forget that, after we sell that policy, we have to continue to deliver value.
I’m talking about the next day. Boom!
Hit them with an e-mail that has a video in it that introduces them to your entire staff, or at least the CSR whom they’re going to work with on a day-to-day basis. Send them a thank you video from your owner.
Send them a thank you video from the producer.
Get something in front of them that adds – it can’t be useless – to the experience and ultimately helps deliver a small piece of value that lets them know that you’re there for them over the long term, which is a promise I’m sure you made when you were selling them.
3) After the Claim
The third place where speed to value is so vitally important to the insurance industry is when a claim happens.
Now, I know in large part that paying a claim and the claim service, the experience, is delivered by the carrier.
So, my carrier friends, you have to get on this.
If your Net Promoter Score around claims is poor, that’s an area of improvement that would drastically help increase the overall retention that you have in your business. And you all know this.
I’m not telling you anything you don’t know.
As an agent, this is where carrier sculpting into play.
Carrier portfolio sculpting is something that we heard about in my interview with Seth Zaremba for the Agency Nation Radio podcast.
Look at your carriers. See what kind of service they’re providing.
If you find that one of the carriers that’s in your office is consistently providing a poor claims experience, you need to figure out how to handle that. I think Step 1 is to go talk to them.
Talk to an executive. Find out what’s going on. Share your experience and try to help them improve that process.
But if they refuse or just do not change, understand that that claims process is impacting your agency.
There is no, “Oh, well that’s XYZ carrier. I’m going to stick with this agency.”
You put them with that carrier. What they do is a direct representation of you and your agency, and therefore you need to be very cognizant of the carriers that you have in your agency and the value that they’re delivering.
If it takes a long time, if the payment is rough to deal with, if the adjuster they use is hard-headed and won’t negotiate and isn’t delivering on the promise the insurance policy made to begin with, you need to know that as an agency and make decisions accordingly.
This is your business, and you have to make business decisions based on what’s happening in the marketplace.
How quickly a carrier delivers value after a claim is an important part of your decision-making process in your agency as to where to put that business.
Now, I’m not going to put all of this on the carrier. As an agent, you can be there, too.
- Are you showing up to major claims and trying to work through?
- Are you making calls to adjusters on behalf of your client?
- Are you being that advocate?
- Are you walking them through the claims process?
- Are you following up to make sure that they’re happy?
- Are you helping them better understand what happened?
Most of the time, people get upset just because they have no clue on what to expect from the claims process.
My friends, at the end of the day, speed to value is really a cultural aspect of your agency, of your company.
Do you believe that it is your obligation, that it is your responsibility as a provider of insurance, to deliver value as quickly as you possibly can to the insurance consumers whom you serve?
I hope that you do.
If you don’t today, if you don’t believe it in your heart, then I think you have to look deep into why you’re in this business because, I’m telling you, if I owned an insurtech startup and you didn’t deliver value as fast as you possibly could, I would cut your head. I would come right for your business because that to me is where there is the most opportunity.
This is low-hanging fruit stuff, guys.
This isn’t crazy technology.
This is just be more responsive.
This is believe that is it our responsibility as insurance providers to deliver value as quickly as we possibly can to insurance consumers.
It’s a responsibility.
Insurance is not an easy job, and we should not take it for granted, because when we don’t take it for granted, when we go that extra step, when we work hard, when we pick up the phone, when we send out that e-mail campaign, when we deliver value as fast as we possibly can, and when we believe in speed to value in every aspect of our business, that is when we win.
That is when we win, my friends.
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