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Policyholders and Their First Impressions

Insurers continue to develop and deliver portals for their distributions, focusing on workflow for processing a piece of business.  Our industry is filled with great resources that add value to these portals, both from the business and the technical side.  

Teams are created to compile requirements not only pertaining to the processing but also for the other types of needs user may have.  Upon the development of these portals, architects, developers and analysts gather to create a solution and quickly get it to market.

While this scenario may be familiar, insurers are learning that while they are getting to market quickly, they may not be providing an optimal user experience, which in turn results in a lack of interest in using these sites. 

Technologists and business analysts are skilled but may not have the capabilities to analyze, create, and deliver a user experience that meets the user’s needs.  Without an optimal user experience, insurers are wasting dollars on developing Web sites and insurance processing systems that will never be used. 

An optimal user experience results when a user‘s needs are being met.  It is all about ease of use; consistency throughout the journey, easy and intuitive access to key information and tools, good page layout, and good colors.  An optimal user experience is emotional.  Think about how many websites or mobile applications you have used only once due to frustration.  Optimal user experience is all about customer satisfaction. 

Leveraging user experience experts in the build process will decrease risk in delivering something that will not be used.  User experience experts are key players in a project team, playing the creative role.  These team members will have experience in interactive design, understand UX principles, and work with users in reviewing user-centric design including user journeys and prototypes.   The addition of this role may increase the time to market plan but will increase the success of the delivery and reduce the potential for added expense to renovate the site.

The importance of optimal user experience is a subject of great interest within the insurance industry. While there are insurers now creating teams of user experience experts to address all types of user needs for all types of systems, there still remains a majority of insurers who understand the need but continue to leverage their IT and business analysts for this work. 

No matter your situation, consider the following methods as a part of your requirements process:

  • Know Your Users: Not only should you know who you are providing the site for, but you should also be clear as to what you are providing and in what stages you are delivering, keeping the top requirements in the forefront.

  • Speak To Your Users: By having conversations, you are gaining supportive information for delivery including needs and experiences.Providing options to consider creates great discussion and ideas of better offerings.

  • Create Prototypes: A visual gives your users the opportunity to see the ideas and respond effectively.Walk through the prototype and gather feedback on what works, what needs to change or what should be eliminated.

  • Leverage Surveys: If you cannot get to all users, a brief yet effective survey can always be provided online.

  • Observation: If you already have a portal available for your users, create an opportunity to watch and record findings as they process tasks or gather information.

  • Evaluate Similar Portals: This is a great way to find new ideas for your own portal and compare your offering to what is available otherwise.

The reality is that your users are always looking for ease of processing business, whether it is getting a quote, getting a policy, reporting a claim or inquiring on any activity.  Your users are looking for a great degree of flexibility in how they process their business, including a user experience that fits their individual requirements and work preferences.    

The insurance industry has widely adopted the Internet, with insurers continually looking for ways to leverage the Internet’s capabilities to respond to distribution needs.  Insurers who want success need to become game changers by including the user experience requirements prior to building and delivering a solution. 

Enablers such as “time to market” and product are not enough to differentiate and can result in lost revenue and increased spend.  User experience has to be part of the total offering from the onset.

(Wendy Aarons-Corman is president and founder of UX Game Changers, an organization that delivers optimal user experiences to the web and mobile for insurers.)



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