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Today, more than ever, insurers are at risk. According to the Connected Consumer Report, more than half (55%) of UK consumers believe that insurance companies provide a disconnected experience across online and offline channels; and 63% of consumers would change their insurance provider if insurers do not address this disconnected experience.

It is no wonder that more than a third of consumers are willing to provide their insurers with access to third-party data if it means they can receive lower premiums and a more connected, personalized experience. In the UK insurers wanted to start offering discounted insurance premiums to consumers who consented to algorithmic assessments of their Facebook profiles; however, this was soon shut down by Facebook due to guidelines that prevent information being obtained from Facebook to make decisions of eligibility.

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The above data still points to an interesting finding: today’s consumers expect a fully connected and highly personalized experience, but it is clear insurance providers are falling short due to the ‘disconnect’ between their online and offline channels.

This finding presents a unique opportunity. An increasing proportion of consumers are happy with sharing personalized data, which means the insurance industry, which has always been data-driven, can now turn to data from social media, wearable technologies, the Internet of Things, and more.

How Insurers Can Create Connected Consumer Experiences

Every opportunity, however, comes with its unique set of challenges. The Connected Consumer Report shows that disconnected data and systems can have a negative impact on customer loyalty. As a result, if insurers want to leverage vast amounts of data from social media or otherwise, they must bring multiple technologies and data together to create a cohesive customer experience.

Although some providers have made strides in creating an integrated experience across products, there’s still room for improvement. In this increasingly commoditized market, it will be the providers that successfully connect their applications, data, and devices that will innovate faster, improve customer satisfaction, and win customer loyalty. How? Through APIs.

How APIs Can Power Connected Consumer Experiences

Organizations can use APIs to connect disparate systems and data. Through an API-led approach to connectivity, every data, system, and asset is exposed through a modern, managed API that is discoverable through self-service and managed through governance. With this approach, insurers will be able to seamlessly connect data.

One example of this can be drawn from one of the largest insurance companies and personal lines insurers in the United States. The insurer embarked on a journey to become a more modern, omnichannel company in order to provide customers with new digital and mobile services. This included developing a mobile application for customers to self-serve and quickly access their personal information at any time.

Enabling these digital initiatives, however, required them to connect and modernize their entire infrastructure. The insurer chose Salesforce to be their customer engagement layer and selected Guidewire for all backend processes.

However, despite having a modernized frontend and backend, the insurance company was still heavily reliant on disparate, legacy middleware systems, including Oracle Service Bus, IBM DataPower, and IBM Integration Bus. As a result, all the data within these systems lived in silos.

To support their new modernization and agility objectives, the insurer turned to building APIs that were reusable and discoverable outside of central IT. This enabled different lines of business to work in parallel and innovate faster. As a result of this transformation, customers can now have the full omnichannel experience by engaging with the company via the new mobile application, which enables customers to receive follow-up call via phone and make an on-site appointment––all leveraging the same customer and quote data.

The results of the Connected Consumer Report further demonstrate the need to create a fully connected consumer experience. It is clear that insurers that fail to deliver these experiences are putting customer loyalty at risk.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can become a truly connected insurer, read more about API-led connectivity.