Standing Out in a Bland World: Global Life Insurance Customer Service Strategies

by Karen Monks,  Colleen Risk, April 11, 2017
Global, Asia-Pacific, EMEA, Latin America, North America


Celent has released a new report titled Standing Out in a Bland World: Global Life Insurance Customer Service Strategies. The report was written by Karen Monks and Colleen Risk, both Analysts with Celent’s Insurance practice.

Customers are demanding a different relationship with their insurers. There are increased demands for simplicity and transparency demonstrated by clearer pricing, simpler contracts, and tailored recommendations with clear explanations. The age of the Internet has created customers that are more financially literate and increasingly self-directed.

Insurers across the globe prefer to deliver customer services via in-house customer service centers. The service centers that provide the most value are specialized by function.

Insurers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC) are more likely to outsource at least some part of customer service and obtain value from doing so. In EMEA and APAC, the traditional customer service methods of paper, email, and website are used most often. However, newer technologies such as chat, instant messaging, and mobile apps are also used and providing value for insurers. Furthermore, insurers in EMEA and APAC more closely match their investments in customer service to their stated strategic importance.

Insurers expect customer service costs to stay flat or only increase slightly while they significantly increase customer technology spending. This finding represents how automation can improve overall efficiency.

“Customer service is a coveted differentiator that should spark insurers to ramp up their efforts to improve both the front and back end tools and technology,” stated Risk, Senior Analyst in Celent’s Insurance practice.

“To meet customer expectations in an increasingly digital world, insurers should embrace change and incorporate new systems and processes while harnessing data and using real-time analytics,” remarked Monks, Analyst in Celent’s Insurance practice. “Like it or not, customer and distribution partner behaviors and expectations are changing the business model.”

Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally based analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is a wholly-owned operating unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

Media Contacts

North America
Michele Pace
Tel: +1 212 345 1366

Europe (London)
Chris Williams
Tel: +44 (0)782 448 3336

Asia (Tokyo)
Yumi Nagaoka
Tel.: +81 3 3500 3023

Table of Contents

Executive Summary



Key Research Questions








Respondent Demographics


Customer Service Strategy



Delivering Service



Customer Service Technology Tools



Satisfaction with Customer Service Technology


Investments in Customer Service IT



Impact of Customer Service on IT Investment



Customer Service Technology Management



Future Investments


Final Thoughts and Celent Recommendations


Leveraging Celent’s Expertise



Support for Financial Institutions



Support for Vendors


Related Celent Research


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