How insurers can better deliver at “The Moment of Truth”

It’s all about the Customer

Customers today expect services to be highly personalized. In a digital world tuned to understand your likes, dislikes, interests and preferences we expect a similar level of customization in all aspects of our lives.

Insurance is no different. Insurance is not something the average consumer thinks about every day but when a life changing event happens, insurance becomes extremely important. It is in this “Moment of Truth” that insurers excel or fail. Are you preparing as well as you can for that moment?

Let’s explore some examples in personal insurance across both health and property & casualty – Renewals, “Life events” and Claims.

The Renewal

At renewal time, the most important considerations for a customer are price and customer service. Customers, especially in personal lines, tend not to focus on risk and exposure changes at renewals, but their agents or brokers do. The best price that can be offered is based on providing only the insurance that is needed and appropriate to the specific needs and risks of the customer at that point in time or during the policy period.

To provide the best price, the insurer needs to better understand their customer.  Here the insurance industry has a tremendous opportunity to leverage the data sourced from new technology to improve risk assessments and underwriting models – wearable tech such as fitness trackers and other smart devices, geo location, telematics. These newer data sources can be combined with historical, archived data insurers already maintain but are not using. Accenture estimates only 31% of insurers are harnessing data and applying analytics to drive customer experiences. They’re not using the data to add insight into their customers profiles. This is information that can be accessed and analyzed to provide more competitive pricing and customized coverage.

When evaluating the quality of the customer service the insurer provides, the customer will consider what the customer experience has been like over the term.  This includes a range of capabilities – customer call center, self service capabilities, response times, website inquiries, claims handling (discussed more later), etc.  Here’s where insurers have the capability to offer superior customer service by enabling better protection and prevention for customers using the data available. For instance:

  • One of the earlier use cases of IOT data was in people protection, where sensors track workers in industrial or manufacturing workplaces such as oil platforms to monitor their location and ensure their safety.
  • Telematics within cars can track driving behavior and reward safe drivers. Geolocation can complement the behavior by recognizing driving locations that are considered safer.
  •  In health examples, sensors can be used to track insulin or heart rate levels and alert individuals to act when needed. 
  • A travel insurance firm might ask for geolocation data permissions on a customer’s phone and use this to ping them if they travel into a location where there is an unfolding emergency, a riot or a police distress call.

A top priority for any customer driven organization is to drive customer insights and better serve the customer for long term growth.  The use of data and analytics to improve pricing and customer service ultimately support this goal by improving the propensity to renew.

Life Events

Once you better understand your customers, the cross-sell and up-sell potential comes more naturally.  In insurance, life events are moments of truth because they trigger key coverage changes or new insurance needs.

Events such buying a house or a car that require engagement with an insurer drive an opportunity to further assess the needs of that client at that moment. However, where the insurer really has the most opportunity to provide a superior customer experience is helping that customer anticipate future needs. By understanding the customer and analyzing their situation, insurers can be proactive.  For example:

  • Adding a dependent to insurance coverage should trigger consideration for private school/college savings or additional life insurance.
  •  A change of beneficiaries could prompt further review and assessment of life insurance coverage.
  •  Factual insurance and healthcare cost data could help support a long-term health care discussion for families with aging individuals.
  • New policy types for extended families including grandparents and adult children require a deep understanding of customers’ relationships, assets and net worth.
  • Asset protection in multiple locations and / or different countries over the year; for example, families with homes in more than one country, kids in foreign colleges, exchange students, traveling retirees, overseas assignments and more prevalent now, working from home.  


The moment of truth related to claims is challenging.  At this point in time, the customer is likely to be under stress and experiencing additional complications – health or other – based on the event that occurred. The customer experience is now heightened and under enhanced strain and scrutiny. Claims processing has been evolving using technology but there is a wide range of opportunity to further advance. Again, collecting and analyzing more data sets is at the heart of this evolution. Images and photos, news feeds and social media are sources of information that assist in processing claims more efficiently. Some examples:

  • Video footage from drones can provide information about natural catastrophes and supply the necessary information to accelerate claims payouts to assist customers in need of basic supplies.
  • Telematics may be used to respond to a traffic accident quicker. Mandated in the EU for new cars, if somebody is in an accident, the car will notify law enforcement, emergency care providers and insurers. This type of smart data sharing helps respond to the insured more quickly, reduces losses and ultimately helps prevent further accidents by learning from what happened.
  • Photos from claims can be compared to similar photos using machine learning to help expedite the analysis and resolution.
  • Machine learning applied in the context of fraud prevention can assist overall to expedite claims processing while reducing fraud – benefiting both the insured and the insurer’s bottom line.
  • Sentiment and voice analysis can help quickly route a customer to the most suitable claims representative for support.

The Cloudera Data Platform enables insurers to effectively manage the data lifecycle more efficiently than ever before. In order to personalize the customer experience, insurers need an intelligent platform that can ingest the raw data and perform real-time and predictive analytics.  CDP manages the end-to end lifecycle including machine learning. It is an open source platform able to run on hybrid and multi-cloud environments and it is governed by a Shared Data Experience (SDX) that provides the necessary data security, privacy controls and governance critical to the regulated insurance industry. 

I’ve shared just a couple of examples here related to customer experience. There are many examples of opportunities to enhance the interaction you have with your customers. More and more of this is based on how well you know your customer, how well you can anticipate their needs and how you proactively help them. Optimizing data and analytics is the foundation to help you better manage that Moment of Truth.

Check out this infographic illustrating the impact of data and analytics on Insurance.

Learn more about Cloudera in Insurance here.

Monique Hesseling
Managing Director - Insurance Industry
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