Customer engagement and paying for goods and services is not exactly rocket science. In fact, in today’s day and age when the likes of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson (oh and who can forget Captain Kirk?) are making joy trips to “space”, even rocket science doesn’t seem as if it should be rocket science any more.

So why do we have such a hard time engaging with our customers for simple yet important day-to-day processes like premium payments and policy changes?

Insurance is supposed to be accessible to anyone who wants to protect their family in the event of death. This is also not rocket science, yet we know that overall there are 102 million uninsured and underinsured Americans who know they need (or need more) life insurance coverage. Of those who do, only a very small percentage would say that their engagement or experience is even average from a consumer perspective.

The systems that many life insurance carriers are using were good a decade ago, but in today’s world where billionaires and actors are playing in space, and those of us down here simply have a higher expectations of customer experience and engagement, life carriers are simply not equipped to make this easy.

Here is a simple personal story and analogy which I’ll bring back around to business in a minute….

The 2021 holiday season was a very different experience for me. Black Friday, Christmas, and after holiday sales (we call it Boxing Day or Boxing Week in Canada) was 99.5% done online for me. And this is coming from someone who really likes to shop. Shopping therapy after work and on weekends “PC” (Pre Covid) was the way I decompressed. Well, in “CT” (Covid Times), I don’t find it relaxing to be out in a mask touching goods and being around people for hours at a time, coupled with the fact that I actually like hanging out with my family. As a result, a lot of this “shopping therapy” now happens from my iPhone, tablet or laptop from the convenience of my own home while binge watching Yellowstone, Ted Lasso and The Voice.

One of the things I really enjoyed this holiday season was the ease of buying things, but more specifically paying for them with so many different OPTIONS.

PayPal, GooglePay, ApplePay, credit card, debit card…I could decide day by day, vendor by vendor, purchase by purchase how and when to use which payment vehicle. Some service providers and vendors have my card numbers on file because I’m a loyal customer (yes I’m talking about you Lancôme and Amazon), whereas others may have popped up in my Insta feed and I HAD to have the item then and there but didn’t want to set up an account and may never purchase from them again, which makes PayPal, GooglePay or ApplePay a much easier and better option and experience.

To set the record straight, I am not a boomer and I’m not a millennial, but am somewhere in between so am fairly tech savvy, but the experience I outlined above is the same for almost every consumer experience that I have nowadays. Okay, well nearly every experience. If I want to deposit more money into my annuity contract or retirement savings, that is a bit more of a big deal. In fact, it really isn’t easy at all. And if I want to change something in my life insurance policy, like my current credit card info since my last one just expired, that isn’t easy either!

Yesterday I sat in on a meeting with one of our Sapiens’ partners who can handle all of this. The only thing they require is that the insurance carrier has a portal and a core system with the APIs to present and pass the policy and premium information back and forth.

Well there it is, folks. Roadblock number one.

I don’t mean to be critical, make broad generalizations or discriminate, but from the 1990s until about a few years ago, many insurance carriers were acting as software companies and along the way, forgot who their customers are and what their customers’ expectations are for engaging with them.

Agent and customer expectations are changing, and if core systems can’t support that engagement, then let’s start talking.

We all want the same thing — to make sure our families are protected. So why aren’t we taking the steps to make that easy? After all, as I said in the beginning it’s not exactly rocket science – Life is about reaching for the stars, and being able to launch ahead, into the new dimension of insurance, delivering stellar experience and out of this world customer service.

  • bills
  • conversion rates
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  • customer decision journey
  • Customer Experience
  • digital access
  • digital health insurance
  • digital lifestyle
  • digital natives
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  • Harvard Business Review Blog network
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  • healthcare
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  • Ido Segev
  • intuitive
  • marketing and sales
  • McKinsey
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  • mobile phone
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  • Neal Ungerleider
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  • reduce costs
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  • tablet
  • Tanguy Catlin
  • Tech Forecast
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Jennifer Smith

Jennifer Smith Jennifer is Sapiens VP of Life Product Strategy, responsible for the direction and roadmap of Sapiens digital suite of core solutions and eco-partners that support L&A insurers in the North American market. She started her career working for a large life carrier for several years and then moved into the software side. Jennifer held positions, prior to Sapiens, at EDS SOLCORP (now DXC Technology), SunGard, and Majesco, focusing on life insurance systems transformations and business process optimization for nearly 25 years.