One of the most frustrating things about shopping online for insurance is filling in forms and answering a seemingly endless list of questions. Things like site navigation, page load-up speed and other factors can also play a part, but as more of us shop online there’s no doubt that having a fast-moving, easy-to-use website makes a big difference. For example Auto Express Driver Power survey 2018 found that RSA received a 90.78% customer satisfaction score, with policyholders rating the overall website user experience highly, and praising the speedy claims procedures.
Anything you can do as a broker, or insurer, to stop people giving up on their quote, or gnashing their teeth in rage as they are asked for their postcode yet again, has to be good for business.
Insurance Edge talked to Jay Borkakoti, Director of Home Insurance at LexisNexis UK and Ireland, who have just launched its first home insurance application prefill solution, which can speed up the home insurance quotation process.
Watch the LexisNexis demo video here on You Tube .
IE: Nobody likes filling in forms, but why now, and why home insurance?
JB: It’s been a problem since the internet changed insurance around 20 years ago. Also, the thing about home insurance is that it can often mean answering over 70 questions to obtain an accurate quote on buildings and contents. We conducted a survey and found that 16% of people felt frustrated they had to provide information that they thought their insurer should already have on the property.
IE: Over seventy questions, that really is granular level data.
JB: It is, and how many people know the year that their property was built, or whether a downstairs toilet is classed as a bathroom or not? So the mission we have to simplify things for the customer, and the solution is pre-filled forms which assume certain key facts about a property from the postcode, or the policyholder, giving them the choice to either change or delete that information.
IE: Is there any way to short cut the quote, get a ballpark figure just from basic info like the postcode, number of rooms, people living there, any flood claims last five years – that type of thing?
JB: Not really. That has been tried by a couple of big names in the home insurance market, but every underwriter needs a complete picture to assess the risk and offer a price, so you’re just delaying the moment of providing all that necessary information. What we have developed over the last couple of years is a package which lets the insurer pre-populate lots of data fields, and then the customer essentially checks and approves that data.
I guess the best way to explain this product is by saying that we have tried to normalise the process, and what I mean by that is when you shop online for groceries, or other types of shopping, it is generally the case that data is saved and displayed as pre-filled boxes. Overall I think it’s fair to say that insurance has lagged behind that customer journey in some ways, so we are working out a series of data sets that will let the industry play catch-up.
IE: Let’s say a customer pre-fills data for a quote and then wants that home info to be a kind of passport, so they can obtain a quote elsewhere, is that going to be possible one day in our GDPR regulated industry?
JB: What we have to remember is that LexisNexis are offering a product that saves both the insurer and their potential customer a great deal of time. Any sharing would be a matter between the two of them. Ultimately the consumer signs off on the data that’s been provided for that one-to-one quote, so another quote might have a different answer in there, or a circumstances may have changed.
IE: When it comes to life and health cover, there’s a great deal of questions about lifestyle nowadays, right down to how many takeaways you eat each week. Do you think that home insurance may go the same way and things like contents risk will be assessed on the number of people living there, medical conditions, exercise taken, alcohol consumption etc?
JB: It’s a holistic thing, insurers are always looking at a variety of risk factors. You can start with the basics like the type of policy, is your property on a flood plain etc. Then there’s prior claims history and after that we get to things like lifestyle – the people risk. One of the things that we aim to do with our pre-fill software is to develop new data sets, to specifically deal with some of these nuances.
It is possible that industry leaders can come together in terms of how we sift that `person risk’ data, and really refine that risk in a more advanced way. All of this is part of our roadmap to create a new way of quoting.
IE: Will AI software learn in the future, and start to refine the questions in the quote process?
JB: The way I see it is that we provide the data, and the industry uses that as they see fit. People have different views on that process, depending on where they sit.
IE: When we get to Autumn flood risk will become a more important factor in home insurance. If people have no flood claims in their own history and the property isn’t located on a flood plain, then being able to pre-fill those two crucial pieces of info is surely going to help people?
JB: The pre-fill data we hold doesn’t relate to flood risk, but that is very much on my roadmap for enrichment, as part of this project. There is more the industry can do to link floods to person risk too. The pre-fill launch is our first foray and we intend to roll-out this out beyond the home insurance market and as we do that, then we will always be learning more about risk factors and how they cross-reference each other as we do that.
IE: You have a lot of work ahead of you, thanks for your time!