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Virtually Disrupted? Keeping Pace with Accelerating Customer Expectations

 
 

Next Gen Insights | Dan Robinson |
26 January 2022

We’ve been talking a lot about the changing shape of work at Endava. Flexibility and hybrid working are now both expectations and reality. The streets around Fenchurch Street and Bishopsgate remain eerily quiet thanks to Omicron precautions, but business is still happening. Insurers are insuring; digital transformations are accelerating. Turns out we don’t need to co-locate to get results. I am a little weary of Teams, Zoom and Google Meets, but for many, they have saved the world of work in COVID times.

Just as the pace of change has changed in the world of work, so have customer expectations and the way that customers interact in the digital world. Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri are old friends for some. My 6-year-old digital native has only really known a life where Alexa finds Paw Patrol on Netflix. We – okay, I, but it seems I am expected to share it – have an Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality (VR) headset. It is both a personal cinema and a genuinely exhilarating gaming experience. My digital native will learn, work and play in VR and scoff at how we used to have that old video-calling technology.

WHAT’S THAT GOT TO DO WITH INSURANCE?

Disruption is much talked about, though less frequently delivered in Insurance. But it is there, it is happening, and it will definitely happen in the future. However, disruption only sticks when it solves a problem for people and the timing is…right. Young driver car insurance was only disrupted by telematics when the price of standard car insurance became prohibitive – the technology was right, and entrepreneurs sprinkled their magic dust.

Customer experience and how products meet customer expectations have frequently been disrupted. Direct Line kicked off a major disruption of face-to-face brokers with their red phone. Then came the web. Aggregators disrupted direct insurance, and mobile has usurped web as the predominant channel in personal lines. An app play was made as smartphones emerged, but the combination of timing and technology was wrong. Remember that time when, if you didn’t regularly use an app on your phone, it was deleted? There were no app folders, limited memory and only the regularly used apps survived. Now, the timing and technology is right, and even though responsive web design works, apps can often make the experience even better. Customers are now both accepting and expecting of apps.

A focus on low-friction effectiveness was what the insurance customer needed. Things just didn’t work well enough; the hygiene factors were not there. Now, many insurers are catching up.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR DIGITAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE?

My prediction is that genuine engagement, interest and even excitement induced by insurance customer journeys is the next disruption. Facebook is now Meta, Microsoft has just spent $68.7 billion on Activision Blizzard; the race to command the virtual world is in full flow. The metaverse – whatever that turns out to be – will fundamentally shift how humans, that is, customers, engage with the world. If you’re a personal lines insurer, for example, what does this mean for you? Augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) can already enable rapid claims pay-outs, but there is much more to come. My digital native will insist on it.

ENGAGING, INTERESTING AND EVEN EXCITING?

Science fiction continues to become science fact: self-driving cars, flying cars, flying people, Star-Trek-esque communicators. Not a lot of sci-fi has focused on insurance, but the advances, accessibility and timing are becoming ripe for VR and the metaverse to create opportunity. Here are some more predictions:

  • The real world and the virtual world will merge. Omni-channel might mean starting a quote online and completing it in the metaverse in a face-to-face chat between avatars.
  • AR and AI will be normal aspects of a claims process for car and home insurance.
  • Positive health insurance intervention will move on from encouraging steps to engaging in a rich and visual dialogue about health enabled by AI, AR and VR. 


In 11 years, my digital native may be insuring his first car. It will probably be electric; it might fly, and he might well have taken his driving test in VR – assuming of course the model for vehicle ownership hasn’t been more fully disrupted by then. The pace of change is accelerating, and adaptable insurers will flourish. An agile culture, being excited by awesome customer experiences and enabled by technology advances as well as a practical, hands-on delivery capability are the essential ingredients for survival and growth.

WHAT’S THAT GOT TO DO WITH ENDAVA?

At Endava, we are a cool combination of over 10,000 people who get genuinely excited about using technology to solve human problems. In the Insurance space, we currently have a big focus on data strategy, cloud migrations, intelligent automation and digitising customer journeys. We build bespoke solutions to tricky problems. Our clients, and their customers, tell us that we are really good at it. We also have our eyes set on the future and can explore and bring to life the customer experience, technology and culture of adaptation to make Insurance engaging.

Want to bring to life Insurance in ways that were previously unthinkable? So do we.

Dan Robinson

Delivery Partner

Dan loves working with distributed teams around the globe to support our clients’ business objectives. He has 20+ years of experience in delivering complex IT projects and in running products and businesses for leading UK insurers. As Delivery Partner, he is focused on both delivering for insurance clients and on growing the Insurance vertical in Endava. When not working with awesome Endava teams, Dan is an England Athletics running coach, busy studying for an MSc and the proud father or three amazing children.

 

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