Digital customer experience in the Insurance sector in France (Part 1 : Presence)
Study and ranking of 21 insurance brands operating on the French market, on the basis of 150 indicators measuring the level of use and performance of their digital channels (web, mobile applications, social networks and connected objects), as part of the relationship with their customers and prospects.
The insurance market in France
Until now little shaken up by the challenges of digital transformation – today combines several characteristics that weigh on the risk of disruption, as it is the case with current developments in the retail banking sector.
1. A growing consumer expectation for a digital customer experience
Customer satisfaction reports show that the French consumers blame current insurers for a delay in practices, and first and foremost in their management of digital communication channels.
2. A low level of digitisation compared to practices observed in other countries
France, the world’s fifth largest insurance market behind the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and China, is lagging behind in online property and casualty insurance underwriting (1).
Presently, 64% of information searches to subscribe to a new insurance contract are made online (2) but conversion to a signed contract is much lower: only 20% of new subscriptions are made online.(3)
3. The ability of digital solutions and models to deliver competitive advantages
The competitive advantages of digital champions and the gains expected from a correctly targeted digital transformation are significant and translate into a capacity to increase the delivered value and reduce operational costs.
4. The recent removal of certain regulatory barriers that could stimulate competition and encourage the emergence of new competitors
The Hamon law (2014) simplifies the termination of compulsory car or home insurance for individuals. The effect of this law on churn rates at the end of the first years of application has been relatively limited, but the trend could accelerate with the Bourquin amendment applicable since January 1st, 2018, which, in terms of loan insurance, broadens the possibilities of changing insurers for loans in progress.
In this context, the analysis of the performance of French insurers in digital territories is key to assess the solidity of their competitive position, particularly in the face of new forms of competition.
This new study ‘Digital CX : Presence & Satisfaction’ 2018 focus solely on the Insurance industry in France.
– Methodology and scope of analysis –
The Presence & Satisfaction module is one of the four pillars of the D-Rating scoring methodology.
It uses data from outside the company to measure its impact on the main digital territories: Web, mobile applications, social networks and connected objects.
The performance index is calculated on the basis of more than 150 quantified indicators, reflecting both the relative strength of the brand (relative to its customer base) in these territories, the level of commitment of its audience, the public assessments of its customers and also the quality of its presence – particularly in terms of technical performance and cybersecurity.
- Panel of insurance brands studied -
The 2018 study covers a panel of 21 insurance brands.
The brands studied involve several categories of players: mutual insurance groups, French entities of general insurance groups, direct insurers, health mutuals – which differ in terms of the mix of activities (Property vs Health/Providence vs Life).
It should be noted that the Alan and CNP Assurances brands were analysed for all indicators but – due to their specific characteristics (limited customer base for Alan, specific operating model for CNP) – were not included in the final ranking.
The Digital CX study: Presence & Satisfaction 2018 of the Insurance sector in France leads to the following overall ranking:
The TOP 3 of the most successful French insurers in the "Presence & Satisfaction" module are :
1. Direct Assurance
Its excellent Web scores (3rd), Mobile Applications (1st) and IoT (4th) – thanks to its YouDrive offer – ensure it first place in the ranking. The Web score also results from a good SEO strategy as well as numerous partnerships with online comparators.
Its social networking score is slightly below average due to low interaction ratios per posts and per client.
L’olivier outperforms all its competitors on the Web channel (65 points) thanks to its customer satisfaction scores, its traffic origination strategy (SEM, SEO and email) and its high share of direct traffic adjusted per number of customers. It is also well ranked on social networks (4th) but below the average for mobile applications due to the lack of commitment of its users (few comments and ratings). L’olivier does not offer any insurance products related to connected objects at the moment.
MAAF shows a balanced performance in all areas.
However, the brand that excels in engaging with its customers on social networks and the frequency of publications fails to generate traffic from this activity to its site.
TOP Performers : Details of scores by domain
The 2 least performers of French insurers in the « Presence & Satisfaction » module are :
Indeed, this direct insurance affiliate of Allianz gets the lowest score of the panel in terms of web traffic per customer (potentially aggravated by its SSL certificate problem that blocks visitors’ connections by informing them of the site’s low security).
Allsecur is also penalized by the absence of mobile applications in French on stores and obtains the lowest scores in terms of engagement with its customers on social networks. Finally, the brand does not offer any products based on connected objects.
Generali does not manage to exceed the average in each of the four domains studied: web, mobile applications, social networks and connected objects.
In particular, its web traffic origination strategy is not efficient. Customer satisfaction scores on the web over the last 12 months are also the lowest.
LOWEST Performers : Details of scores by domain
Observation n°1 : The current performance of insurers on digital channels is much lower than that of retail banks.
The Web is the most used digital channel by policyholders to contact their insurer, subscribe to new offers or consult their customer account.
However, we note that the monthly Web traffic of the insurance panel (16 million visits) remains well below that of retail banking in France. On average, it represents only 0.25 monthly visits on the Internet per customer, compared with 2.3 for Retail Banks.
This is primarily linked to the specificities of the two businesses. The need for insurers to develop the frequency of contacts with their policyholders has long been identified as an important issue. The development of efficient digital channels can help address this challenge
It is also interesting to note that the share of web traffic from smartphones and mobiles is higher than that of retail Banks, while almost half of the insurers’ sites are not ‘responsive’.
This can be particularly harmful when we know that 53% of mobile users leave web pages if they take more than 3 seconds to load or if they are not user-friendly (4).
The digital transition of insurers seems to have difficulty following the mobile browsing habits of French consumers.
Web satisfaction scores are particularly low – with Macif, GMF and Matmut achieving the highest scores (around 2.8 out of 5).
These scores even decreased uniformly for the majority of insurers (– 40% on average between the initial measurements of the overall brand satisfaction score and those over the last year). Only L’olivier and La Mutuelle Générale posted a slight increase in their ratings in 2018.
ON MOBILE APPLICATIONS
Unlike retail banking, where the vast majority of applications are classified on stores in the Finance category and are linked to the core banking activity, insurers deploy applications in various categories, often not directly linked to insurance acts. Of the 151 applications identified in the study, 32% are dedicated to prevention. Others focus on the management of connected devices, e-tracking, driving educational tips or assistance in purchasing products from private individuals (such as second-hand cars).
The average satisfaction of users of mobile insurance applications (2.1 / 2.2 out of 5) is lower than the overall average of all applications combined (around 3 out of 5) and those of the retail banking sector (2.8 out of 5).
In this field, MMA and MAIF applications stand out with particularly high average satisfaction scores (4.4 and 4.2 on average for MMA and MAIF respectively).
Observation n°2 : The new digital territories are today poorly addressed by the French insurers - thus leaving an important space to potential new entrants
The graph below shows the positioning of brands in terms of performance on the web channel vs. on new digital territories (mobile applications, social networks and connected objects).
We observe in these results :
A very strong disparity in Web performance. In this field, the P&C mutualist group is rather well positioned.
For most brands, limited performance in the new digital territories. Only L’olivier, Alan and Direct Assurance stand out in this field but only represent a total market share of less than 5%.
In the new digital territories, in addition to the weakness already mentioned by most brands in terms of mobile applications, we detail below some observations in the field of social networks and connected objects.
ON SOCIAL NETWORKS
Twitter is the reference media for Insurance: 100% of the brands studied are active on this social network and interactions are the most abundant.
Facebook, on the other hand, is the media with the largest subscriber base, even if this remains very limited in consideration of the overall number of customers on the panel. Less than 2 out of 100 customers follow their insurers on this network.
In the end, very few insurers in the panel succeed in generating web traffic via social networks.
Beyond the presence on the main networks, several differentiating initiatives have also been identified:
Axa has a strong presence on Instagram
Allianz communicates a lot about its personalised use of Whatsapp as an exchange channel with its customers.
As part of its ÔJI offer, MGEN has chosen the French chatbot Jam to make the customer experience for young policyholders more dynamic.
ON INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT)
Between 30 and 80 billion connected objects are expected in 2020, offering unlimited possibilities for customizing services and new pay-per-use pricing models. (5)
Nearly 53% of the panel of insurers presented today offer at least one insurance product related to connected objects. Most of these initiatives are linked to property and casualty insurance.
Allianz stands out in terms of integrating its connected offerings into its roadmap and pricing strategies (Conduite connectée, Safe Home).
Macif obtains the highest score in terms of the amplitude of its offer of connected objects (Macif drivers, Lifelinq, Macif protect) and the compatibility of its offer with different manufacturers.
Many offers are still in the test phase or have just been launched, such as the Altima Car Insurance per minute offer, a brand bought by the MAIF group in 2015 that develops tailor-made insurance for connected cars.
Observation n°3 : Online insurance comparators - which have hardly penetrated the French market - have remained anchored on a first generation digital strategy
As part of this study, we also analysed the six most used online insurance comparators in France, addressing two major questions :
What is the performance of these online comparators on digital channels ?
What is the level of presence of the insurers in our panel on these different online comparators ?
As a preliminary remark, it always seems surprising that most of these comparators are not independent. The Covéa group (MMA, MAAF and GMF) is behind Assurland.com, the British Admiral group owns both Olivier and Lelynx.fr as well as several other comparators (Confused.com in the UK, Compare.com in the USA, Rastreator in Spain), the BGL group – which developed the Lesfurets.com solution – controls the British broker Budget Insurance. The Comparadise comparator group owns Hyperassur.
It is also important to consider the large gap between France and the UK in the use of online comparators. In the United Kingdom, 70% of new subscriptions are made via a comparator; this figure falls to 9% in France… (6)
- Online comparator performance on digital channels –
Online comparators are mainly present on the Web channel :
- Their web traffic is no higher than that of insurers and is characterized by a higher bounce rate and a lower direct traffic to their site.
- Their Mobile web traffic is much more significant and the loading speeds from both desktop and mobile devices are more efficient than with insurers.
- Their traffic strategy sponsored by ads and SEM appears more effective than the average insurer, in line with the top insurers in this field (MAIF, Macif and L’olivier).
- They benefit from better SEO referencing on search engines with the keywords most used for insurance. However, their referrals and email traffic scores are lower.
Finally, they obtain satisfaction scores higher than the average of insurers (4 out of 5 on eKomi).
However, their presence in the new digital territories is very limited :
- They have neither mobile applications nor offers of connected objects.
Their social network scores are much lower than those of the insurers targeted in the report.
- Brand presence on the 4 most used online comparators in France (in term of traffic) –
The online comparators primarily include direct insurers. Among the traditional players, only Allianz largely integrates online comparators into its distribution strategy.
Observation n°4 : Alan, the first and currently the only "neo-insurer" on the French market, stands out clearly from the traditional players in the health sector in terms of presence and satisfaction generated on digital channels
ALAN outperforms the traditional players in the health sector (MGEN, La Mutuelle Générale and Harmonie Mutuelle) in almost all areas of D-Rating’s Digital CX: Presence & Satisfaction analysis.
Alan distinguishes himself in 3 areas :
- Web Security and Performance
The scores provided by the cyber security rating agency CYRATING place Alan well ahead of the other mutual health insurance companies, particularly in terms of website and email protection.
- Mobile applications
Alan has only one application per store (ios and Google Play) but the number of downloads per client is up to 100 times higher than those of MGEN, La Mutuelle Générale and Harmonie Mutuelle. Alan application gets the best reviews and ratings (including the NPS score) and gets better visibility through ‘featureds’ on the stores. In addition, updates are performed more frequently with new functionalities and troubleshooting patchs added at shorter time intervals.
- Social networks usage
The web traffic generated by Alan from social networks outperforms that of traditional health players.
However, we note several areas in which Alan is not (today) strongly positioned – probably the result of a targeted strategy :
- Web origination
Alan is not a fan of SEM, email and Ads marketing. Just as their low number of referrals, partly due to their absence on comparator sites, can deprive them of important acquisition levers.
- Web engagement
Web traffic shows little retention and commitment from visitors. Indeed, Alan has a higher bounce rate than health actors. Also, its web visitors spend less time on the site and consult fewer pages compared to other health actors.
- No youtube
Alan is totally absent from Youtube, yet a media highly advocated by digital natives and its demographic target (25-44 years old). Also, its publications on social networks are only slightly shared.
- No connected offers
Alan has not yet expressed or initiated any moves towards IoT Health connectivity.
In conclusion, we note a rather low average performance of the panel of 21 insurance brands studied, in terms of presence and satisfaction generated on digital channels.
The wide gap between current usage and consumer expectations, particularly on mobile phones, and the measured performance of the insurance sector is bound to generate frustration. In a context where regulation aims to boost competition by facilitating the change of insurers, this leaves a lot of space for new entrants: neo-insurers like Alan or digital leaders like Amazon.
This risk – for insurers established on the market – has so far been contained by consumers’ need to secure their main insurance contracts.
However, in the age of digitalization and connected objects, the format of products and services is evolving with a growing trend towards micro-targeting of offerings and personalization. This division of insurance perimeters brings new market penetration opportunities for new entrants by nibbling at the market shares of established players in a targeted manner.
We therefore perceive, at the conclusion of this study, a significant risk of digital disruption on the insurance market in France which should result in :
- The arrival of new players imposing a new customer experience on targeted areas
- The acceleration of investments by traditional players in digital transformation to close the gap with new competitors
This study will be completed in the 4th quarter of 2018 by a second part relating to the analysis of the digitisation of offers and customer paths. This component will make it possible to compare, in a quantitative and factual manner, the coverage of the functionalities offered on digital channels and the effectiveness of customer paths.
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