By: Global Choices
Ten years ago value-add products (VAPs) were essentially just a “nice to have” add on. Today they are an imperative inclusion, used to enhance, differentiate, support and supplement insurance products. They help fill the gaps, improve the customer experience and create increased value on what is actually a fairly homogeneous offering. For insurance companies and brokers, VAPs serve to differentiate the product, drive brand loyalty and improve the bottom line.
In fact, it’s fair to say that VAPs have become critical in ensuring your clients’ needs and livelihoods are taken care of – efficiently, effectively, and immediately at claim time, when their experience matters the most.
For example, when your client is broken down on the side of the road, vulnerable, flustered, frustrated, and the insurer or broker becomes the “knight in shining armour” whose dedicated call centre agent takes control, reassures, sends security, calls the correct tow truck, ensures paramedics arrive on the scene, dispatches a chauffeur to take your client home or to work and touches base throughout the process. Highly trained, skilled operators will turn a stressful, negative situation into one where the client’s every need is met using the insurer or broker’s brand at all times.
Or imagine your client has a family gathering and a geyser bursts. At the touch of a button a local plumber is sent out within the hour, assesses the situation, mitigates the damage and all of this at little or no additional cost to the client.
These are the key moments when insurance changes from the historical “grudge purchase” into a real value-adding service to daily life. Suddenly next year’s premium increase isn’t met with resistance.
The growth in popularity of value-add services stems from both demand-side and supply-side forces. On the supply side, insurers are realising that they need to become more customer-centric in the way they approach products and services. On the demand side, the definition of value is now being determined by customers; their expectations are strongly influenced by a cross section of elements in their lives – including their insurance interactions. This means insurers have to support quick, convenient and personalised transactions.
For insurance companies, value-added services can help to improve profitability, own the customer interface, and reinvent product offerings. It is imperative for companies to expand their core offerings and keep their fingers on the pulse of ever-evolving customer needs in order to take advantage of the benefits that VAPs can bring.
Today’s client expects a single view across channels. It’s up to providers and intermediaries to ensure that client expectations are met in a timely and fair manner. This requires a complete paradigm shift across the board – from internal processes, through the full system of interaction, culminating in complete customer satisfaction.
Technology has helped us to take VAPs to the next level, with geo-tagging, GPS tracking and the Internet of Things playing a huge role in mitigating risk and assisting clients in need. VAPs ensure clients’ hands are held when they need it, they protect clients and their property, they warn of impending events and they keep on responding long after an event takes place. They are there from the start until way past the payment of the claim.
It makes good business sense to maintain a strong customer focus in everything you do as an insurer or broker. Every interaction must be smooth and seamless.