I’ve noticed several recent commentaries about the benefits of customer analytic tools and recommendations to insurers to invest in this technology. It’s good advice.
Given the sputtering economy, with large numbers of unemployed and underemployed, many Americans are reluctant to take whatever cash they may have pulled together and spend it on a new life insurance product or an upgrade to their current policy. Ultimately, many are underinsured and have significant coverage gaps. They may be fraught with fear of risk and losing assets.
Interactive tools and models provide agents with real numbers that allay fears, demonstrate measured return and manage risk. Using tools and metrics that benefit both agents and customers, I’ve seen greater customer understanding, interest and acceptance in these interactive tools that do help close the coverage gap.
Like other insurers, at Genworth, we’ve researched and developed tools that engage customers, are easy to use and are available online. Once the customer has this personalized information, the meeting with an agent trained to use these tools is even more impactful, as both can have a conversation that focuses on the customer’s specific questions and concerns based on the data.
While some online life insurance tools have been around for years, it was surprising to learn from our 2011 LifeJacket Study that 77% of consumer respondents said they’ve never used a life insurance calculator to determine their life insurance needs.
When respondents were shown our life insurance calculator, 88% said that it would be helpful to them during the purchase process.The majority of consumers wanted to see a calculator displaying an amount of insurance based on their individual situation during the actual purchase process.
I look at customer analytic tools as a catalyst to start or enhance a relationship with a customer. Trust as well as information that demonstrates the benefit of life insurance work together in a time when a “show me why” attitude prevails. While it takes time to nurture a sale, it is a great way to have a customer open up and start to think about the big picture. It’s important that the customer knows where he or she stands financially and how affordable insurance can be. Show a customer that those frequent trips to the coffee shop for a $3 cup of joe can add up to a month’s premium payment and you’ll be offering a tangible, affordable example that makes sense.
Advisors who are not using some form of needs analysis calculator are missing an opportunity to dynamically illustrate the important elements that make up adequate coverage. These tools offer a chance to better explain income replacement, debt payment and future college costs and, ultimately, supply the client with a customized life insurance policy.
Nothing pleases me more than seeing a customer realize that insurance is attainable, affordable, essential and, above all, designed for that individual’s personal needs.