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Large Insurance Companies Make Customers Wait: Study

Policyholders who complete online request forms wait an average of 2.3 days for a follow-up call and 22 hours for an email.

Sales automation software provider Velocify reveals customer experience feedback for the industry’s largest insurers in a new study entitled “Insurance Industry Online Buyer Experience”. Results indicate that most need to be more efficient in their responses to online inquiries.

“The primary reason of the study was to determine how insurance carriers are serving the consumer that wants to initiate their shopping online,” says Stuart Ganis, insurance vertical director at Velocify.

Velocify surveyed 25 leading direct, independent and captive insurance companies that specialize in auto, home renters, commercial auto and commercial property insurance. It completed a minimum of five online quote or contact request forms for each insurer then measured various data such as the length of time until first response, and total number of phone or email contact attempts, for 22 days.

[ Internet of Things Under the Radar, But Coming to Insurance. ]

Previous Velocify research concluded that faster responses to quote and contact inquiries result in higher likelihood of conversion. Ideally, insurers should send a response about twenty minutes after the initial request, says George Jeffrey, senior manager of Strategic Intelligence at Velocify. Phone calls should occur almost immediately.

Insurers should contact requesters with six phone calls and five emails over a 22-day period. “We found that to be pretty universal,” says Jeffrey. “You don’t want to call or email too little, and you don’t want to do it too much.”

Results indicated that large insurers are typically late in their responses to consumer inquiries. Customers waited an average of 2.3 days for a phone call after submitting an online quote form. The average email response time was 22 hours after inquiry submission.

Companies that did reach out to their customers were not persistent in their follow-up contacts. Velocify purposely did not answer responses to measure how long it would take for businesses to stop. It found that, on average, each prospect received 1.45 call attempts and 1.56 emails.

Many online requests went ignored. Forty percent of prospects never received a call, 34% did not receive an email and 17% received no response at all. “Even the best insurers were not following what we have found are the best practices,” Jeffrey says.

“You have to leverage technology to automate your processes,” Ganis emphasizes. He notes that the poor customer service practices of larger companies are creating opportunities for smaller ones. “This is a really great opportunity for small- and mid-sized agents to capture that online customer and give them that mom-and-pop-shop type of service.”

Kelly Sheridan is Associate Editor at Dark Reading. She started her career in business tech journalism at Insurance & Technology and most recently reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft and business IT. Sheridan earned her BA at Villanova University. View Full Bio

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User Rank: Apprentice
6/24/2014 | 6:58:38 PM
re: Large Insurance Companies Make Customers Wait: Study
These kinds of scenario's are prevalent with almost all the major insurance companies and these problems are due to lack of digitalization, STP enablement and automation of end to end processes and services. Also the rout cause is lack of innovative approach and solutions to deal with legacy applications
User Rank: Apprentice
6/9/2014 | 1:31:14 PM
re: Large Insurance Companies Make Customers Wait: Study
Hard to believe shoddy customer relations still exists but insurers are doing a lot of creative things to improve response time, at least on the claims side.
Nathan Golia
Nathan Golia,
User Rank: Author
5/14/2014 | 7:29:02 PM
re: Large Insurance Companies Make Customers Wait: Study
Many insurers with top ranking customer service practices talk about reducing cycle time. It's hugely important, and insurers need to realize that in a digital world every second you're not resolving a customer issue that customer gets closer to venting on social media.
User Rank: Author
5/13/2014 | 8:27:28 PM
re: Large Insurance Companies Make Customers Wait: Study
I was pretty surprised by these results, especially the amount of time it takes to send an email. Automatic responses are pretty common and I'd think that more companies would be using that to respond to customers who submit online inquiries.
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