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Insurers should be partners for life

17 May 2022

By extending their focus beyond risk coverage, life insurers can build customer relationships that matter even when tragedy does not strike. Dustin Yoder, CEO of Sureify, explains how insurers can become true lifetime partners.

Most businesses recognise that their most valuable customers are the ones they already have. Leading e-commerce players, for example, have long been aware that low prices are not the only way to succeed; recommending new purchases through understanding their customers and hooking those customers in with compelling subscription services have also become vital. Insurance companies that focus solely on selling policies rather than nurturing customer relationships are missing out on valuable business.

“Selling a life policy and never engaging thereafter is an all-too-common story,” says Dustin Yoder, Chief Executive Officer of Sureify. “There is a missed opportunity to build a relationship. After all, insurers have spent heavily on marketing to acquire policyholders. To only interact with them or their beneficiaries when there is a sad story – a death, for example – doesn’t make sense from a business or a human perspective.” 

Sureify is a Software as a Service provider that helps the life insurance sector acquire, service, and engage with customers through its Lifetime platform. The company’s software unites a user interface with numerous third-party integrations to support the real-time digital sale of a policy. The platform also equips insurers with a product module that enables self-service and provides a mobile engagement app that helps build lifelong customer relationships.

How to offer value beyond risk protection

Providing peace of mind and financial security for customers and their families is the fundamental goal of life insurance. Building a deeper relationship between the policyholder and insurer can only bring additional benefits. 

So how do you offer value beyond risk protection in the form of an insurance policy stored away in a drawer to the person who is paying a premium month over month? “Insurers need to provide tools with value well before there is a claim. It’s time to reinvent life insurance to be as much about the health and the psychological aspects of life as it is about insurance,” says Yoder.

For customers this could translate into better health, greater financial security and, hopefully, longer lives; insurers will enjoy greater brand loyalty and engender a feeling among customers that their insurer is not just there to profit from upsetting situations but rather to be a trusted partner with a customised suite of products and services for which they are happy to pay because they see the value.  

The importance of keeping in touch

Before an insurer can even think of generating additional value, there is a problem to solve. Yoder often asks insurers whether they can press a button and reach all their life insurance policyholders. “The answer is always ‘no’ because most carriers would be lucky to have 25% of their policyholders’ email addresses,” he says. When it comes to life insurance, there is often little communication between the time that a policy is issued and the claim submission which may happen years or even decades later.

Sureify’s LifetimeENGAGE is a software module that directly addresses this issue, enabling life insurers to go beyond selling and servicing. It does this through a mobile application that provides personalised content through scheduled, life event driven messaging via emails, text messages, push notifications and more. Identifying and using additional touchpoints makes it possible to share relevant articles and videos, provide quizzes and polls that gather insight, and encourage good habits with tie-ins to fitness devices, health-related apps and reward programmes.

Additional engagement leads to healthy behaviour

The benefits of the additional engagement can be seen in the rise of policies that offer lower premiums for customers exhibiting healthy behaviour, regularly attending check-ups with their doctors or improving overall health through programmes to lose weight or give up smoking, for example.

With more than nine out of ten policies in markets like the US still handled by brokers and other agents, developing digital engagement includes both customer and agent during the purchase process. “We currently focus on life and annuity companies in North America and we seek to help them sell digitally through our LifetimeACQUIRE module,” says Yoder. “In addition to our Lifetime platform, we integrate with a lot of third-party vendors to orchestrate a truly real-time digital sale of that policy.” Sureify integrates a range of external information sources such as LexisNexis into the module. 

In addition, Yoder says, “We can help insurers accelerate personal underwriting, taking answers from the policyholder and, depending on their answers, validate them and poll other sources for information.” This faster, more personalised experience using key data integrations can connect positively with a customer right from the start. Then by regularly engaging with the policyholder, insurers can make sure they keep up to date with policyholders’ changing needs and desires – and this means leveraging the use of data from a wide range of sources.

This will help usher in an era in which insurers can sell ever more personalised policies directly to the consumer. The e-commerce industry has demonstrated exactly what offering personalisation can do – customers are happier because they get recommendations for products that other people with similar interests have bought; retailers are happier because they see their sales go up.

Taking cross-selling to a new level

Finding additional opportunities to cross-sell is a point many insurers have not yet mastered. “When it comes to cross-selling other products, other industries like travel and retail show us that the insurance sector is at a very elementary stage,” Yoder notes. “The reality is that people buy more than one insurance product. As with any company, the highest potential for business comes from existing customers.” 

“As with any company, the highest potential for business comes from existing customers.”

Dustin Yoder, Sureify

Encouraging these cross-sells will require insurers to embrace digitalisation further. “There are so many opportunities in the life insurance space, especially around the creation of self-servicing functions,” says Yoder. Those insurers who embrace digitalisation across every part of their organisation will find themselves with a major advantage in the marketplace. Strengthening relationships is a key future activity for any brand. Those who offer different tools and education around finance have an opportunity to set themselves apart in the market as a trusted source of valuable information, tools and capabilities.

Related solutions

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LexisNexis Risk Solutions

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Sureify's Lifetime Platform

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