How digital are insurance companies in Switzerland?

It is no surprise: The reality at insurance companies often does not match customer expectations. However, what exactly do their customers want? In addition, which insurers get the best grades? Zühlke, Horváth & Partners, LINK Institute, and the Hochschule für Wirtschaft in Zurich (HWZ; University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration) studied this topic with a special focus on digitally savvy customers and published it in their representative “Insurance Survey 2019.”

Self-sufficiency, speed, and security

Insurance companies would better watch out! Digitally savvy customers, who are part of one of the fastest growing groups of customers, like to be online and value flexibility. Throughout their customer journey, from awareness and information gathering to their purchase and beyond, they come in contact with various insurance company touchpoints and compare them to their expectations.

Important stages of the customer journey, and what customers expect at each stage

Tracking down the digitally savvy customer

Let's look at Katja, 35, for example, who values a healthy work-life balance. Her search for the right insurance product begins, of course, online: either on Google or Comparis. When she visits the websites of the most popular insurance companies, she expects transparent and clear communication, i.e., information that is presented clearly and the option to use online services that have no time or location constraints. Generally, she prefers to be online without assistance and finds the information she needs herself. If she happens to be stuck, she picks up the phone and appreciates being able to interact with a consultant. What she is looking for are insurance products that are the best match for her current life situation. She therefore likes configurable service packages that she can simply “click together.” What she does not like is to pay for services she does not need. At the same time, she likes to be able to maintain her own personal information in a customer portal and have access to her invoices and policies.

Need and reality – few insurers dazzle their customers

Doesn’t all this sound rather obvious? You would think so, yet the reality is often very different. Although the needs of digitally savvy customers are neither unrealistic nor particularly demanding in a technical sense, the digitization level of touchpoints in many cases does not (yet) match customer expectations. Digitally savvy customers gave the highest grades to Basler Versicherungen, followed by AXA and CSS. These three companies do the best job of meeting customer expectations in terms of straightforward and transparent online services.

What Basler Versicherungen does well

We have summarized three lessons from the best in class, Basler Versicherungen, for you:

  1. Customer experience comes first: Basler Versicherungen has made a firm commitment to customer orientation. It is obvious – and noticeable – that management supports this approach and lives by it. In addition to a 360 ° customer view, this includes the design of an advisory and service experience that goes beyond the touchpoints; this requires the right technical assistants (BSI Studio in the case of Basler Versicherungen) as well as strong partners. The future belongs to “data-driven companies” that regard the “customer experience” as more than just a slogan!
  2. Keep it simple: Simplicity is everything. Customers can access Basler Versicherungen’s premium calculator directly on the company's home page with a single click. It is laid out clearly, and customers can modify the products to meet their needs and save them. If they are stuck, they can resort to the “Call back” and “Live chat” options. They can file a claim with a single click. That's the way to do it.
  3. Inform & inspire: The future belongs to storytelling – to emotional, exciting stories; and to Help content – to relevant, informative content with added value. In its newsletter, Basler Versicherungen uses both. What’s striking is that the company often takes important life events, such as moving out of the parents’ home, getting a driver's license, being a parent, etc., as an anchor. This approach demonstrates that Basler Versicherungen is close to their customers. Their message is: We are the right partner in any life situation.
Basler Versicherungen uses important events in customers’ lives as an anchor for stories in their blog