French insurance customers are increasingly using digital services to manage their insurance policies, according to our latest consumer study. During the month of July 2020, Next Content for Nuxeo surveyed 1,003 French people aged 18 to 80, who were all customers of at least one insurance or mutual.
The study reveals that 41% of subscription requests made over the past 24 months started via a digital channel (form, email, customer area, instant messaging, etc.) compared to only 36% in branches: physical agencies. Digital subscriptions have increased by eight points compared to 2019 (33%).
Whether it is to subscribe to a contract, modify it, request a certificate, declare a claim or even monitor the progress of a request, the French are increasingly favouring digital services to the detriment of physical insurers. This is a trend accentuated by successive lockdowns and the Covid-19 pandemic, with policyholders favouring remote and autonomous management of their insurance services.
A pandemic-driven move to digital insurance, from underwriting to online claims reporting
Insurance customers in France had already been gradually moving to the use of digital services to interact with their insurer, but Covid-19 has caused a sharp acceleration in this trend. As the sector moves even further towards a digital model, insurers must adapt their offering to meet changing customer demands and offer more innovative services.
Our research threw up some cues as to the nature of such innovative services. Of the online services already adopted by policyholders, requests for insurance certificates and supporting documents were most popular, with 73% of respondents having already made such a request. That is followed by monitoring of reimbursements (64%), requests for quotes (56%), reporting a claim (41%), online subscription (39%), and sending photos in the event of a claim (36%).
Customers expectations: toward a greater autonomy
Policyholders were also asked about their expectations in terms of digital services. The four most anticipated improvements or new digital services are all related to greater autonomy: online subscription (82%), automatic analysis of the photos and reports sent in the event of an accident followed by an immediate response (82%), the ability to modulate a claim (82%) and the ability to make a report or claim directly from a mobile (79%).
While lockdowns and the Covid-19 pandemic have been the main contributors to this acceleration in the use of digital technology, the trend of French customers wanting to manage their insurance services remotely and autonomously is unlikely to change even when the pandemic fades. Many customers prefer to interact with their insurer in this way, which only increases the need for insurers to be agile, innovative and focus on the digital customer experience.
A compelling digital customer experience will become integral in insurance and companies that cannot provide this will be spurned in favour those that can.
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