UNO February 2018

Client-centricity in today’s insurance businesses

Digital transformation is changing the customer experience across all industries. Simplicity, personalization and interactivity standards are currently much higher than they were five years ago.

There is no turning back: the customer experience must be unique no matter the channel. We must think about the customer’s experience in all stages of their relationship with the company.

All this requires a revolution; it is why it is so difficult to achieve. The incredible amount of effort needed to make these changes is the reason why we do not see great progress in the industry, except for those companies that produce new players who enter the market with a completely different value proposition.

Therefore, a revolution that can change the foundations of organizations is necessary, and it will require business leaders to provoke a deep cultural change, remembering the ultimate goal is to make everything simple for the customer. In addition, customers should engage the company whenever and through whichever channel they choose, not when it is convenient or profitable for us. Companies should be organized around the customer, because when the customer is at the center and the relationship is simple and personal, everything works as it should.

Companies should be organized around the customer because when the customer is at the center and the relationship is simple and personal, everything works as it should

The question we must constantly ask ourselves is whether the business model is centered on the customer. When I led the eColon launch, the business model was designed from a thorough investigation and deep understanding of all customers’ needs (not only those who like to sue insurance companies). When customers, especially millennials, understand that they have the right to demand the same experience they get with, for instance, Facebook, Google and Amazon, their ideas about the insurance industry change and they feel encouraged to demand a similarly simple, digitized and personalized experience.

Although it is an enormous challenge, the new business model allows reaching the largest number of potential customers, which, in our case, makes insurance more available. And we believe in promoting insurance inclusion; in other words, allowing everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status or cultural background, to have easy access to insurance.

To achieve this, we must use artificial intelligence technology. For example, we developed a virtual assistant that assists customers from the moment of purchase all the way to the back office in a simple, friendly and personalized way.

Little by little, new “insurtech” models will change how customers perceive the insurance industry. I am convinced: in five years all insurance companies will collaborate with tech start-ups to develop new business models based on the client-centricity.

Customer interactions with insurance companies are changing similarly to how customer relationships changed with travel agencies and the hotel, real estate and transportation industries and shifts like these are occurring more and more each day. Jeff Bezos, for one, has kicked off a deep transformation that generates value for shareholders—and it is based on putting the customer at the center of Amazon’s decision-making process.

Satya Nadella increased Microsoft’s value by 130 percent in just three years. He did so by introducing a cultural revolution also based on client-centricity that seeks to empathize more with the customer. Today, we know fintech companies that apply technology to customer interactions are interacting in new ways and have generated a lot of value in a very short time.

To properly address our customers’ needs, we simply must let go of our old ways and start fresh.

In five years, all insurance companies will collaborate with tech start-ups and together will develop new business models based on the client-centricity

Like Henry Chesbrough, the father of Open Innovation, believes, we must put all our efforts into truly understanding our customers and knowing how to satisfy their changing needs. It is not about changing what we do; it is about embarking on a journey of discovery.

Eduardo Iglesias
Co-founder and CEO, eColón
Iglesias founded the first online insurance company in Argentina and is a pioneer of the Insurtech sector in Latin America. Iglesias is president of the Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs Latin America Buenos Aires Chapter and an Alpha4 Ventures advisory board member. In 2013, he founded the Colon Insurance Company in Argentina, which currently insures more than 500,000 people. Iglesias’ prolific finance career with both insurance and banks led him to live in the United States for 10 years and work in various Latin American countries. Iglesias holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a postgraduate diploma in business from Harvard University. Argentina.

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