Online gains traction

Insurance businesses have been warned that a continued lag in online customer interaction will cost them more than they can afford as digital disruption gains momentum.

According to ANZIIF Digital Communications and Content Strategy Manager Dr Amy Gibbs, insurers must engage with their customers digitally if they expect to retain them.

“Insurers shouldn’t be online because tweeting or friending is the current fad, but because their customers are online and they expect to find their providers there too, in the same way they expect them to be in the phonebook,” Gibbs says.

“The trust that can be built by a long-term social presence, and the ability to give a human voice to an often maligned industry, should not be underestimated.”

While there has been some effort towards online communication practiced by some insurers, Gibbs believes there is still a long way to go before the industry can consider itself up-to-date.

“There has been some positive movement in the last year, with a small number of insurers boosting their presence on social media and embracing opportunities to connect with customers online, but in comparison to other industries, many insurers have been slow to adapt,” Gibbs says.

Gibbs says that the threat posed to traditional insurers by peer-to-peer insurance and fintech start-ups should be considered more significant than any negatives associated with online social media use.