The impact of climate change is no longer debatable. A McKinsey & Company report concludes that stronger and more frequent natural disasters are “destroying homes and businesses at record rates and endangering entire food systems.” Further, McKinsey warns that global climate changes “are stuck for at least the next 10 years.”
For property and casualty insurers, this means that the status quo is insufficient. These companies can no longer afford to treat catastrophic climate events as isolated incidents. Numerous white papers have been published on the need for new pricing models, hedges and stress testing. The one component that insurers should keep in mind in the midst of the next wave of natural disasters is their customer experience. They must develop ongoing strategies to help clients whose homes, properties and businesses are damaged by fires, hurricanes, floods, deep freezes, tornadoes and other natural disasters. Here are several strategies insurers should implement immediately to prepare for and better support policyholders in times of urgent need.
Be agile in the customer journey
With the upsurge in natural disasters, insurers are inundated like never before with calls from traumatized clients seeking immediate help. These victims, many of whom have lost their homes, are facing a major crisis in their lives.
To serve their clients well, property and casualty insurers must be agile. They need to ensure they have an agile and scalable infrastructure and supporting resources in place to respond immediately and effectively. Anything less exacerbates the distress of customers who are already confused and in shock.
To a large extent, this is forcing insurers to move from static “customer journey” maps to dynamic customer journeys, adaptable to given circumstances. Typically, this involves developing different customer routes via Interactive Voice Response (IVR), moving more distressed customers ahead of the queue, digitally processing more transactional requests, etc.
The existing static mapping of the route was found to be insufficient because, for example, a person who could have lost their house in a fire faces a totally different situation than the customer facing a daily problem, such as a crack in the vehicle. windshield of a car or a change of address. request. In that case, agility could mean that insurers would have to give customers affected by a fire quick access to an adjuster so they don’t have to queue to talk to a human who can help them. .
When a natural disaster strikes, it is essential that insurers have the right staff to help affected customers. In addition, these professional support staff must be trained to respond not only with knowledge – albeit critical – but also with empathy.
Focus on empathy
Insurance is above all about empathy. For example, when family members whose home was destroyed by a tornado stand in a parking lot at the local mall trying to figure out where they will sleep that night, insurers need to respond as quickly as possible and interact with them. these clients in a way that conveys an understanding of the trauma they are experiencing. Customers are going through more than just being homeless. Chances are they have their kids next to them – scared, hungry, and thirsty, or just tough enough for the day. How their insurer responds to this call is important. Support agents cannot give the impression that they are robotic reading from a script.
Create an ecosystem to provide additional services beyond traditional hedging policies
Another thing insurers should consider for clients affected by natural disasters is providing additional assistance beyond what the policy might cover. Create a “wow” effect for the customer by offering them an additional service. It can be a gift card to buy food or clothes, or connect them to an entrepreneur’s favorite services, extra data and mobile minutes or, even before a disaster strikes , access to a disaster preparedness service.
These types of additional services force P&C insurers to create and maintain an ecosystem of partners who can respond to disaster situations. The value of these services goes far beyond dealing with the immediate situation and can lead grateful policyholders to develop a lifelong loyalty to the insurer.
Climate change has unfortunately created a new normal for insurers and their clients. Natural disasters will only become more frequent. By being nimble, dedicating staff, ensuring empathy in service, and offering options beyond coverage, P&C insurers can better serve their clients while strengthening their businesses.
Ilya Filipov is Director of Industrial Strategy for Financial Services, Insurance, at discussion desk.