As businesses strive to become more customer-focused in the digital age, portals are increasingly being recognized as a vital tool for connecting with customers and other stakeholders. Through online insurance portals, property and casualty insurers can drive greater engagement with agents and policyholders and build stronger relationships. However, many insurers tend to adopt a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when implementing their portals, neglecting the specific needs of different users in the insurance ecosystem. On the one hand, policyholders increasingly seek a seamless and intuitive user experience, greater price transparency, and faster real-time support for claims and other service requests. On the other hand, agents demand more streamlined and automated features to simplify and accelerate the sales process. Thus, insurers must recognize the differentiated user requirements and modernize their portals to cater to the dynamic needs of both agents and end customers.
An end-to-end portal modernization strategy is imperative for insurers to address the needs of both agents and end customers, as they can command greater stakeholder loyalty and greater market share.
Empowering stakeholders with the power of a modernized portal
Most insurers have implemented portals that simply prove to be a transactional medium. Insurers must understand modernized portals that cater to the specific needs of their different users can help drive better business and brand value. As a foundation, there are several basic capabilities that all portals must offer to be valued market relevant. From providing a seamless user experience with recommendations to access ‘recently viewed’ policies to personalization features such as the ability to choose how policy details are displayed, there are several fundamental features that cannot be overlooked. But to gain a competitive advantage in creating a differentiated user experience, insurers must look to provide capabilities beyond the foundational norms.
When granted thoughtful and deeply personalized features, policyholders achieve a more fulfilling user experience. These include additional policy offers based on their interests and goals or the ability to revise certain aspects of a policy, such as insured individuals or coverage benefits, depending on their needs. Existing and potential customers also choose insurers who are transparent about their policy offerings and who provide educational resources that empower them to make their own informed decisions when buying a policy. From an agent’s perspective, portals that allow for greater efficiency and speed in closing policy sales and deeper interactions with clients are likely to be regarded as of greater value. One of the ways that insurers can achieve this is with fast, easy, and reliable transactions in terms of quotes and policy issuances. By addressing the needs of both agents and end customers through a modern portal, insurance providers can command greater stakeholder loyalty, accelerating their journey to a greater market share.
Navigating the ‘build’ vs ‘buy’ conundrum
Insurers can choose between two routes in their efforts towards portal modernization – developing a portal from the ground up or using a prebuilt solution from dedicated vendors. Before opting for one over the other, they must carefully consider several factors such as business needs, budget, and timeline. Building a portal in-house grants greater customizability and functionality over design and user features, and flexibility in portal architecture, enabling scalability for future business requirements. For SMB insurers with relatively lesser in-house expertise, buying a pre-built portal solution from a vendor with select features offers faster speed-to-market at lower costs. Ultimately, any insurance business must weigh the pros and cons to determine which approach best aligns with its interests and circumstances.
Timing is key for balancing risk and reward
When implementing a portal, insurers must critically evaluate the timing in relation to any core transformation undertakings. They must analyze the advantages and disadvantages of implementing the portal before, during, or after any core system changes. Implementing the portal before or during the core transformation allows insurers to leverage and integrate new technologies into their existing systems. However, this approach can create integration challenges and require duplicative efforts. On the other hand, implementing the portal after the core transformation, allows insurers to take advantage of the new system’s capabilities and focus on the portal’s design and functionality. But it may also result in missed opportunities in capturing valuable data and insights during the core transformation process. Ultimately, the best approach depends on an insurer’s business priorities and risk tolerance.
Case in point – Improved agent business policy submission by 40% with portal modernization
A leading life insurance provider was challenged with inefficiencies in their point-of-sale solution for quoting and closing the sale of policies. With HTC’s implementation of an efficient modernized portal, the insurer was able to offer their agents a smoother user experience, accelerated backend validations, and reduced cycle time for the quote-to-submission process.
Unlocking the gateway to business growth
Adopting an end-to-end portal modernization strategy is imperative for insurers to improve customer experience and business efficiency while reducing costs. A modernized portal should not only help insurers strengthen bonds with agents and policyholders but also bring out the value of their other core investments.