Empowering Your Policyholders

You’ve worked hard developing  your Company Public site and Agency site.  You’ve added all the right features and functionality while utilizing the latest technology.  You’ve been successful — the public is driven to your site to “check you out” and your agents/agencies are trained and using their site.  All the benefits you had hoped for are being measured and realized.  Now you’re in maintenance mode for both sites.  Additional features and functionality are being added to keep the sites aligned with your business.  You’re moving along the maintenance cycle without any obstacles. 

Then it happens!  You get a call from the Executive Vice President of Product Development who happens to have a Universal Life policy with the company.  She asks “Do I use the public site or the agency site to check the cash value on my UL policy?”  You’re stumped, so answer “NEITHER”. She is stumped as well and states “I have an annuity product with AnnuityGeneric Insurance Company and I just went out to their Policyholder site and reviewed my cash value and changed my mailing address – all within a matter of minutes.  Where is our Policyholder site?”

This situation is not unique. I find that a majority of my clients have awesome Public and Agency sites, yet few have Policyholder sites.  Of course I always ask “WHY?”  Why not have a Policyholder site?  Are your Policyholders not as important to you as the general public?

As we know, Consumers today (all of us) are technology savvy.  We use our computers and laptops to shop, communicate, BLOG, read newspapers, etc.   Basically, we use our computers to do almost everything except maybe check our insurance policies.  It’s not that we choose not to, it’s that we don’t have the opportunity because your company does not have the site in place. What a lost opportunity this is for both your customers and, most importantly, your company.  

Over the last 3-5 years larger insurance carriers have started to develop very sophisticated Policyholder sites. Yet I still see many middle tier carriers who have not made the investment.  Again let me ask –

“Are your Policyholders not as important to you as the public or your agents?”

If you’ve answered, “YES they are just as important” – then where is their site?

Prior to starting analysis and design, I sit with my clients and we decide on the functions/services that can be provided via the web that are most important to policyholders.  Figure 1 below depicts some of the common yet most important functions.

Policy holder functions

Figure 1

Some of these functions help to alleviate the number of calls coming into your call centers.  This frees up your Customer Service Reps (“CSR”) to concentrate on the more complex and challenging transactions and calls.  Other benefits as noted:

  • Pay bills online
  • Communicate using email
  • Policy inquiry
  • Claim inquiry
  • Research other products offered
  • Simple quote capability

 As the analysis and design of the site starts, the game plan begins with identifying the most important features and functions for site.  From there, development and deployment is completed in iterations.  This gets the initial site up and running with the most critical features and functionality, while maintaining the ability to add and deploy additional features later.   Figure 2 below depicts this strategic approach (“play”).

Policy holder playFigure 2

What is preventing you from developing that much needed Policyholder site?  Realize one thing – not having one places you behind your competitors.  Jump on board now.  Wait too long and you eventually miss the “Policyholder” game.