The outbreak of COVID-19 has had a major impact on the insurance industry. In the beginning stages of the virus most insurers made necessary changes to protect their employees and ensure business continuity. But with those frontline concerns taken care of, insurers are now focusing on building the new normal to continue to serve their policyholders both during the on-going crisis and once the pandemic subsides.
“Post–COVID-19, contextual and clear communication should be the norm,” explained Sabitha Majukumar Research Manager for IDC. “Insurers must be more transparent than ever in their coverage and communication and reinforce trust in the idea of true, hassle-free financial protection at the time of need.”
After COVID-19, in addition to clearer communication, insurers will need to develop new tactics and adopt new technologies to continue operating virtually and delivering digital services. Additionally, they must work to develop alternative continuity plans to mitigate the impact of the next public health crisis or major global disrupter.
Takeaway #1. Continue — and Implement More — Virtual Delivery
The appetite for virtual services that was already present before COVID-19 has since been amplified and isn’t likely to decrease anytime soon. For the future, insurers should plan to provide increased abilities for interaction with policyholders by way of collaboration platforms including video chat. Policyholders will not only expect additional service options but increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) on behalf of insurers, especially as it pertains to the underwriting process. While an increase in AI and virtual delivery may appear daunting to some, insurers can reap benefits including streamlining processes and reducing costs.
Takeaway #2. Digitize for a High-Quality Experience
Post-COVID-19, customers will expect easy access to information regarding their policies and insurers can make this information more accessible through automated services including chatbots. Additionally, insurers can share how-tos, best practices, and answers to FAQs through social media campaigns, including video education by way of YouTube. By digitizing to help customers understand important information about their policies, insurers can streamline service levels and provide high-quality experiences to keep customers engaged and coming back.
Takeaway #3. Develop More Robust Continuity Plans
As insurers reflect on the impact of COVID-19, the key is to plan so mitigating disruption next time is easier. To do so, insurance companies will need to question which of their remaining manual process can be digitized. Additionally, they must also rethink the wisdom of captive models. According to industry leader, Cognizant, “a natural reaction to global disruption would be to insource, but control without capacity is not a remedy. Companies must be able to scale their response. The global pandemic experience is teaching us that global, distributed continuity and backup resources are key.”
There’s no predicting the exact trajectory of the novel coronavirus’s impact moving forward. Although it’s already challenged insurers – forcing them to make provisions and adjustments to current business plans and structure – there are many lessons to be learned and takeaways that will ultimately help them become more agile and resilient. For life after coronavirus, insurers can plan to continue, and even increase, virtual delivery as well as digital services to keep policyholders connected and engaged. Additionally, they have opportunity to develop multiple continuity plans to stay one step ahead of the next disruption be it pandemic, climate change, or economic shock.
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