Improved insurance services will increase coverage rate
Antonia Oakes Executive for Customer Experience at Old Mutual Insure
Old Mutual Insure this week said that non-life insurers can increase the rate of coverage in the country by offering improved services.
“There is a need for insurers to supplement a value-for-money product offering with a consistent service experience. This, coupled with the use of technology, will go a far way in achieving broader coverage,” says Antonia Oakes, Executive for Customer Experience at Old Mutual Insure.
Oakes’ comments are particularly significant in light of it being International Customer Service Week (ICSW) – an international event in which companies celebrate their customers and frontline staff.
“This year we celebrate the power of service and the staff on the frontline who made a difference in our customers lives. Thank you to all our customer facing staff who learned to navigate workspaces shared with children and other family members. They became the reassuring and comforting voice to our customers and risk advisors / brokers who were often stressed and anxious,” says Oakes.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to increase customer expectations, which means that insurers who positively impact the lives of its customers at a time of great financial need, will stand out,” says Oakes.
Already some leading insurers are making inroads when it comes to customer service.
Old Mutual insure is helping customers to better manage their exposure to risk in a very uncertain world: Since the start of the pandemic, the company has offered “a broad range of customer relief measures – from premium relief to new products and customer solutions that take new customer realities into account”, which Oakes believes has helped the company become known for service excellence.
“For example, our Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) product has seen a rapid uptake amongst customers, with close to 4000 signed up in a few months. These customers have saved more than R2 million just through a change in their driving behaviour. Going further than simple premium relief efforts, Old Mutual Insure recognises that our customers, especially business ones, have been hard-hit since the introduction of the lockdown. That is why we committed R50 million in interest-free loans to assist and support our SME customers through the recent challenges,” Oakes says.
The company has recently been announced as a finalist in the prestigious International Customer Experience Awards 2021 (ICXA), which is a worldwide movement and recognises companies and CX professionals across different industries who are doing great customer experience work. These awards are the first of its kind in South Africa. Award winners to be announced in early November 2021. Old Mutual Insure was selected as a finalist in the categories for Customer at the heart & Customer Centric Culture.
Furthermore, Old Mutual Insure delivered a stand-out performance for customer services in the 2020 South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SA-csi), an independent national benchmark of customer satisfaction regarding the quality of products and services available to household consumers in South Africa. 2020 SA-csi results show that Old Mutual Insure achieved industry-leading scores, coming joint first in the intermediated insurance category and joint second overall. For the first time ever, the non-life insurance sector results overtook the banking sector’s SA-csi scores, making it the country’s leader in customer satisfaction within the broader financial services sector.
“Our strong performance on Complaints Handling was largely driven by perceptions of speed of service. We also did well on Perceived Value, which measures customer views and perceptions of price combined with quality – or value for money,” says Oakes.
She added that Old Mutual Insure also did very well on Customer Expectations, showing the effectiveness of the high levels of digital and remote delivery that it developed and deployed during the COVID-19 epidemic.
“It is only with an appetite for disruption and the imagination to pivot that insurers and their intermediary ecosystems will be able to match the high standard of service required by clients during these very challenging times, and going forward,” concludes Oakes.