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The Insurance Customer of 2020

There has been a good deal of buzz in the industry about customer centricity, the ideal customer experience, the role of Big Data and analytics, the Internet of Things, and every other cool new gadget from Smart-“you name it” to telematics, but what might that insurance customer experience be like when all of these innovation promises turn into reality? 

It’s 2020 and John, the baker, was working on the mixer that had gone faulty the night before. He had to make the cinnamon rolls that morning, so the equipment had better work soon. That it was 3 in the morning was not lost on him, but he had his morning jolt, a cup of hot coffee.

As he took a sip, he thought about a small fire he’d had a couple of weeks ago. He realized he likely needed an upgrade in his insurance based on what his insurer had told him about some of his equipment not being covered. He didn’t fully understand why his coverage was insufficient and didn’t have time to deal with it. Besides, hadn’t the sensors, the cameras, and other security equipment he’d installed enabled his insurer to know what was happening at all times?

On the advice of the insurer he’d even installed sensors in his car and house since the discounts for doing so were good and he liked feeling secure. But he was worried enough about that fire that even though focused on fixing the mixer he decided to make a quick call about his coverage.  After all, he’d worked too hard to let it all go up in smoke.

John tapped his ear piece and spoke the name of his insurer, the phone dialed and a representative picked up. “Hi, John, Maggie speaking. You’re up early. How goes it with the mixer?” John knew why she asked. He’d given permission to the company to monitor his bakery with cameras and all of his equipment had sensors mounted on them. They could tell the mixer was malfunctioning. As soon as John called, information from his operation and images from the shop appeared on Maggie’s screen.

John responded, “Maggie, I’m concerned about the insurance I have on my shop. While my fire claim was paid quickly and it was a small loss, I got a call from Ralph at your company saying I might not be fully covered if something worse happened. Ralph mentioned something about the sensors I installed in the shop and on my equipment matching up with something in your system, and it turns out some of my equipment is not covered, at least according to Ralph, and the information he gleaned from some sort of database.”

“I don’t remember providing the information, but it is accurate. I did some research and noticed that in getting some comparison quotes, your pricing seemed high. I need the additional coverage, but you need to do something about the cost. Thanks, Maggie, gotta get back to the mixer. Let me know what you come up with.”

John still had some coverage with his long time agent Joe, but lately he’d gone on the Internet to see what was available and do comparisons. While he didn’t mind paying for the proper coverage, he didn’t want to get ripped off. Joe had done a good job over the years, but based on research John had done during a few spare minutes, he didn’t think he was getting the best deal. Several weeks ago John spoke with a friend and concluded his costs were a bit out of line since they had similar lifestyles and businesses. Hence the call; he thought he might as well talk directly to his insurer.

 Within about two minutes after hanging up with John, Maggie had done her own research. She could see her company’s costs were high and John did not have the coverage he needed.

She did a quick comparison of her products and coverages and concluded her company couldn’t compete with what she saw was available in the market.

It had been drilled into her that keeping the customer was the highest priority. Back in 2014 Maggie’s company had committed to be “customer centric” and to owning the customer relationship. The placard on Maggie’s desk proclaiming, “Products come and go, but customers are the Holy Grail,” served as a constant reminder.

Yet, she now knew that her BOP policy didn’t properly cover John’s needs.  Luckily, the company had installed a sophisticated system to better understand its products in comparison with other insurers’ products. John had several policies with them and she didn’t want to risk losing all his business. So she sent a new proposal to John’s phone with the proper coverage from another insurer with whom her company had partnered.

John heard a ping, reviewed what she sent, liked what he saw and checked the “I accept” box. He took another sip of his still hot coffee and went back to worrying about his mixer. Had to get that thing fixed before 4 a.m. to start that day’s batch of cinnamon rolls. Back in the call center Maggie clicked a few keys, made sure all of John’s sensors were online, and took the next call.

2020?  Maybe sooner.

About the Author

Tim Attia is executive vice president, sales and marketing, for Bolt Inc. He can be reached at


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