Customer service

People who are currently insurance policyholders, or those who are considering learning about a new product, sometimes wonder how often they should contact their agents. While there's no one final answer for this question, there are some rules of thumb people can follow.

It's important for customers to communicate regularly with their insurance carriers for a multitude of reasons. It helps ensure policyholders have adequate coverage, exclusions, and terms and conditions. Regular interaction and contact between both the customer and the carrier is crucial for maintaining the lowest possible premium rates with the great amount of coverage.

How people are communicating with their carriers
In today's age of ubiquitous mobile devices and Internet access, consumers have numerous routes for contacting their insurance carriers. Whether they need to learn about a new product, change their current plan or resolve a claim, policyholders can turn to the phone, online channels or a face-to-face transaction.

When it comes to communicating with their carrier, most consumers prefer an online channel. According to the CEB TowerGroup Insurance 2013 Voice of the Insurance Consumer survey, in order to learn about new insurance products, 38 percent of consumers go online for more information, compared with 22 percent choosing to use a phone and 20 percent opting to do so in person.

The same is true for those people making use of or changing an insurance product. In this case, 44 percent of consumers prefer interacting with their insurance carrier via the Internet, while only 23 percent would rather transact activities on the phone and 18 percent would instead choose an in-person transaction. Consumers can compare their auto insurance options online using convenient and easy-to-use websites.

When purchasing insurance, customers prefer to do so in person.When purchasing insurance, customers prefer to do so in person.

However, when moving forward with the purchase of a particular plan, consumers prefer doing so in person. Although the margin of victory is not as high for online choices, 33 percent of consumers choose to buy insurance during a face-to-face interaction, versus 30 percent of consumers who complete the transaction on the phone and 24 percent of people who do so online.

Due to the complexity of resolving claims, 46 percent of consumers choose to perform this action on the phone. According to the survey, the more complex the situation is, the more likely customers are to hop on the phone to discuss the matter with an agent.

How insurance companies are responding
Armed with this data about customer preference and habits, insurance companies are pivoting their customer service to respond to these demands. According to the March 2015 Market Insight Group and Applied Systems report, "Adaptability: The insurance customer experience imperative in an online digital mobile society," 90 percent of insurance agents in North America said face-to-face meetings and email would be the two primary methods they will use in the next two to four years for interacting with clients.

"Insurance firms believe that email and face-to-face communications will reign supreme in the next two to four years," the report stated, according to Insurance Business America. "But we believe that this will depend on the line of insurance, the nature of the interaction, and the desires of the customers concerning the interaction options they want to use."

"Consumers will be drawn towards click-to-chat or click-to-call options to communicate with agents."

However, given the drive for many individuals to speed up transactions and move on with their already hectic lives, instead of investing precious time into long, drawn-out email threads to resolve a claim, people will be drawn more towards click-to-chat or click-to-call options. These options make it easier to quickly interact with an agent or representative and get to the bottom of a tricky situation.

As click-to-chat and click-to-call options become more prevalent, insurance companies will need to adapt to include these offerings for consumers. This allows for quick, instantaneous contact between the consumer and the company, which ultimately benefits both sides.

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