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3 Ways Insurers Can Improve Communications and the Customer Experience


By: Ruth Fisk, VP Insurance Marketing at Smart Communications

As every insurance carrier knows, improving communications with customers is vital to a greater claims experience. Communication templates are critical to managing the myriad of correspondence that policyholders and claimants receive each day. The challenge? Keeping track of thousands at once and needing IT support to make any changes. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the complexities of ad hoc correspondence, “the significant number of one-off pieces of correspondence that may be created in claims operations on any given day.”

It’s time to take a step back and remember that insurance isn’t a template generation business. It’s a people business. Being there for customers during some of their most challenging moments is the reason insurers exist. Communications play a key role in making sure those potentially devastating experiences are as positive as possible. So, for insurers finding themselves overwhelmed with managing thousands of communication templates in custom software applications, we have good news: there’s a SMARTER way.

With the help of Smart Communications’ customer Chris Plunk, Director of Application Development for Claims IT at Farmers Insurance, we explore how to improve three critical areas of document template management for insurers:

Tip 1: Fewer, More Dynamic Communication Templates Simplify Management

The best place to start when it comes to organizing your communication template strategy is to whip existing templates into shape. Just like cleaning and organizing a home, the first step is to discard items no longer being used, to focus the larger efforts on the most relevant tools. Get rid of old templates that have run their course or were created for specific situations that no longer apply.

Also consider your most dynamic templates. The idea is to have fewer, harder working templates. This is particularly powerful when using a more scalable cloud-based customer communications platform. It’s important to focus on communication templates that do the heavy lifting in a variety of situations. This offers more opportunity for personalization and an effective way to streamline management in the insurance industry.

“Prior to implementing SmartCOMM, we had thousands of communication templates that we maintained in our custom application. With SmartCOMM, we’ve been able to reduce the number of templates by more than 50%.” – Chris Plunk, Director of Application Development for Claims IT, Farmers Insurance

Tip 2: Implement a Template Management Strategy that Creates Consistent Customer Experiences and Personalization at Scale

From onboarding to claims management, insurance carriers know how important it is for policyholders and claimants to receive consistent messages that align with their company’s brand promise. Insurers also know that impersonal, mass communications don’t carry the same weight anymore. Customers want personalized messages that speak to their unique situations. Static templates that are disconnected from evolving customer data and manually updated one by one simply don’t cut it for modern insurers who want to deliver consistent and personal communications at scale.

That’s why Farmers chose SmartCOMM™, which gave them the power to transform their communication templates into dynamic vehicles that remain on-brand and in sync with customers’ specific situations.

“We need to make sure that we’re getting the right information – worded in the right way – in all of our communications, and having these templates in place through this application really helped us achieve that.” – Chris Plunk, Director of Application Development for Claims IT, Farmers Insurance

Tip 3: Faster Communication Template Updates Yield More Response

In insurance, customer communication speed is everything. When policyholders need to file a claim, they need to do it immediately and expect a fast response on the other end. Today, it is important to think of insurance communications as real-time conversations. This makes the ability to update templates efficiently vital. In this new era, speed wins every time. By leveraging a cloud-based communications management solution for templates, insurers can cut down on template update time and IT burdens and ensure that their customers get the right messages more quickly.

“By using SmartCOMM, we’ve been able to reduce [template update] cycle time significantly, and actually push the ability to make changes to these communication templates from the IT department back into the business. What used to take weeks can now be accomplished in a few days.” – Chris Plunk, Director of Application Development for Claims IT, Farmers Insurance