From ordering groceries online to meeting with a doctor virtually, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated customers’ adoption of digital technology for everyday activities. Thanks to the convenience and efficiency offered by these and many other digital touchpoints, customers report an intent to continue to use digital solutions well after the pandemic ends. In fact, the share of customer interactions with businesses that are digital has increased by 24% since the onset of the pandemic. As the expectation for managing life online continues to grow, the trend is putting pressure on businesses to digitally adapt or potentially get left behind.
Nationwide’s ongoing Agency Forward survey research shows that client demand for a seamless digital experience with insurance transactions is growing with the overall technology adoption trend. For both personal and commercial lines insurance buyers, the appetite for working with an agency that can meet their needs digitally has increased an average of 9% among consumers and small/middle market business owners from 2020 to 2021.
Nationwide’s research shows that a majority of consumers (87%) believe agents play a critical role in the customer experience, and 88% value the ability to speak with an agent and receive in-person support when needed. By striking a balance between a personal and digital approach, it’s easier than ever for independent agents to create policyholder value in a digital-centric marketplace when backed by easy-to-implement and modern self-service technology tools.
Meet your customers where they want to be met
Delivering on digital expectations starts with understanding what insurance customers need and want. As noted in a recent Insurance Business magazine interview with Beth Riczko, Nationwide’s president of personal lines, Agency Forward research indicates there are touchpoints where a consumer’s ability to talk to somebody directly—whether that’s an agent in the sales process or a claims adjuster after a loss—still holds immense value. But there are also a lot of transactional activities that occur where clients appreciate the speed and convenience of digital tools.
Digital self-service trends
Research confirms that customers of independent agents today are adopting and are comfortable using technology to manage everyday insurance transactions, such as making payments online, accessing their ID cards, and filing and managing claims.
- 48% of consumers have used a client self-service website
- 37% of consumers have used mobile apps for client services and claims
- 36% of consumers have used online mobile tools for insurance quotes and to compare policies and prices
Many survey respondents feel they have adequate digital access to self-service tools through their insurance carrier and have come to expect it. Yet, client reminders from agents are useful in driving online adoption and reassuring insureds about the benefits of embracing digital options.
Digital claims tracking trends
Through the claims research, Nationwide understands customers value speed and access to technology that enables them to manage their claims as easily and conveniently as possible. This is shown in the following data:
- 75% of consumers like a website/app to track the progress of a claim from start to finish.
- 68% of consumers want recurring texts or email alerts on the status of a claim.
- 67% of consumers desire access to a website/app to upload pictures or videos to begin a claim.
To meet both insureds’ and agents’ claims expectations, Nationwide is committed to providing extraordinary care to customers and aiding agents with 100% claims confidence.
The adoption of digital tools made easy
Independent agents can easily offer personal lines policyholders the ability to access and manage everyday transactions and claims via Nationwide.com and Nationwide’s mobile app. These options give customers:
- 24/7 account access
- Convenient bill-pay options, including recurring electronic fund transfers
- The ability to file auto and home claims, including the opportunity to receive text notifications
- The capability to request policy documents and ID cards at their fingertips
- Paperless options, offering more security and less clutter
- The ability to track auto claims in real-time in Nationwide’s mobile app
- Access to request roadside assistance and towing services directly in Nationwide’s mobile app
- The ability to share documents, pictures and videos with Nationwide to facilitate claims
It’s easy to support digital adoption success by promoting digital adoption to personal lines customers. With access to Nationwide’s new Self-service How-to Guide, agents can easily and quickly communicate the value of the tools to their insureds and drive self-service access.
Not only do customers benefit from self-service options, but digital insurance tools and customers’ adoption of them benefit independent agents, too. Providing clients with 24/7 access and the ability to navigate basic insurance and claims transactions enables agents to have more time to focus on the business and increase customer retention.
Deliver ease and convenience with Nationwide
For independent agents, offering customers a combination of personal interaction and digital insurance solutions is vital to providing a great customer experience.