Insurance Companies Utilize Technology To Attract Drivers

The world is going digital, and more companies are using technology to enhance customers’ digital experiences.

The insurance industry isn’t left out; however, progress has been rolling out slowly.Major insurers like Desjardins Insurance aim at following the current trend in the market which has witnessed continuous digital transformation, said Alain Hade, Vice President, member-client experience and marketing at Desjardins Insurance, in an interview with The Insurance and Investment Journal.

“Customers increasingly want to have a complete virtual alternative (to buying insurance), that is simple and well done. For sure, the interest in our service is not comparable to the release of a new iPhone, but the interest is there," said Hade.

“If you go to a carrier’s website, the look and feel is pretty good, but the functionality is lacking,” said Tom Super, director of J.D. Power’s property and casualty insurance practice, who conducted the company’s 2018 Insurance Digital Experience Study.

According to Super, a lot of people expect a digital experience that works and feels more advanced like when they’re at tech-based companies like Amazon, Netflix and Uber.

Although most auto insurers have a lot to do in order to achieve similar feats, major companies and new players have begun rolling out technology-based features to attract newer customers and meet drivers’ demands. Hade noted that the reception from online service clients have been excellent.

“We contacted each client who completed the entire online purchasing process, which allowed us to identify areas for improvement. Since the solution is online, corrections are easy to make," he said.

While the main target customer for this new service is the younger generation, Desjardins explained that the service has attracted all age groups with several customers over the age of 50 utilizing the service since its inception.'

"We tend to believe that older people are not using mobile and online services, but that's not true. Use of mobile and online services is more widespread than we think," said Desjardins spokesperson, Valérie Lamarre, who also participated in the interview.

Online Purchases

The entire process of buying a Desjardins auto insurance can now be done entirely online for residents of the province of Quebec. However, if extra help is needed, an insurance agent is only a call or a few clicks away. Quebec customers are now in control of their purchases from start to finish, with detailed guides such as educative pop-up windows and clearly defined insurance-y terms to guide them through the entire process.

“For example, making and submitting information about an auto insurance claim can be stressful so having options available online can be more convenient and faster for some of our clients and helps them get back to a sense of normalcy more quickly. It’s important to ensure that our products and services are available wherever consumers wish to access them,” stated JohnBordignon, a Desjardins spokesperson.

Pricing Based On Your Actual Driving

The use of demographic factors, such as age, gender and marital status, when setting pricing rates is something that is very “strange” to drivers.

However, Root Insurance, a start-up, introduced a new model: Pricing based on how you drive, which could ultimately save up money for careful drivers. The insurance plan— currently available in 19 states with plans for five more —tracks a driver’s driving behaviour during a two- to six-week “test drive” before issuing a quote.

While the company still considers some demographic factors, it isn’t as interested in obtaining your personal information, said CEO and co-founder Alex Timm in a report.

“There’s not really a ’great driver’ demographic — we find them across the country, in all sorts of situations,” said Timm.

Detailed Weather Alert System

Desjardins Insuranceis the first property and casualty insurer in Canada to offer a detailed information alert service, where users will be notified when there's a severe weather event within 500 meters of any of five locations of their choice.

Through the freeDesjardins Insurance Home-Auto mobile app, all Canadians have access to Radar, a new weather alert system for hail, windstorms, torrential rains and eventually, hurricanes and tornadoes. As natural disasters increase in number and severity, these alerts are very helpful, as they give people a warning and an opportunity to take necessary steps to protect their property from potential damage.

“Primarily, our hope is that our clients use these alerts as an informative and educational tool that provides valuable, local and precise weather data that will help to keep them informed and safe,” explained Bordignon. “The importance of which is to allow them to act more quickly to severe and rapidly changing weather patterns, so they can get to safety if necessary or to help mitigate personal property damage before it happens.”

Using AI To Assist You At Home

Insurance companies have started embracing artificial intelligence (AI)with voice assistants, like Amazon's Alexa becoming increasingly popular. For example, customers at Liberty Mutual, the first auto insurer to develop a voice-activated resource for Alexa, can obtain a car insurance estimate or ask general insurance questions while doing household chores.

Making Online Claims

According to Desjardins Insurance, clients are now given the option of submitting a claim online on their own, or with the help of a claims advisor. The service is offered across Canada for clients of Desjardins Insurance.

“Clients can report their claim and have their coverage, liability, and deductible confirmed. They can even book an appointment with an auto repair shop for a damage appraisal—all online,” stated the announcement. Desjardins Insurance added that, “depending on the extent of the damage to the vehicle, clients can now use the Desjardins Insurance Home-Auto mobile app to submit pictures of the damage after an accident. The pictures get sent directly to an auto appraiser, so the client only has to go to the repair shop once – for the actual repairs.”


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