MetLife recently launched its first password-protected P&C policy administration site to the general public. The site provides auto and home policyholders access to a multitude of information online, ranging from policy information and billing detail through claims status.
The launch is significant because MetLife is the largest issuer of group auto insurance, and its push into P&C e-servicing reflects a trend by major insurers that are making their first explorations of the space. In making available an assortment of e-servicing features and functions, MetLife has accomplished a number of objectives. Among them:
Attention Paid To Detail -- The e-service offering is fairly basic. It does not feature online payments, policy change request functionality or online claims filing. However, what the carrier does do in the secure environment, it does very well. The carrier breaks out policy information in a detailed, spatial manner that makes it easy for clients to comprehend coverages for multiple cars and multiple drivers.
Premiums are displayed such that a policyholder can determine how much each coverage for each vehicle costs per policy cycle. In fact, individual dollar values are assigned to individual coverages and vehicles to give policyholders a detailed view of what makes up their overall premium. MetLife affords a great deal of site real estate to discounts and surcharges and even integrates policy-specific discounts that are currently not taken advantage of -- a rarity in the industry.
Stage Set For Online Payments -- While direct-to-carrier online payment functionality is not available, payment information is presented online, including expiration/renewal date, amount due and due date, remaining balance and past payment detail. Online claims tracking is also available, and is highly detailed. Standard information includes adjuster, vehicle and accident information, as well as a listing of specific coverages at the time of the loss (to avoid confusion if coverages have since changed). Additionally, MetLife has integrated detailed policy-specific agency information that includes independent agencies.
Looking forward, MetLife will want to increase e-service awareness by promoting it more heavily on its corporate site. The carrier will also benefit by rolling out online premium payment functionality, as such functionality will be a key driver of enrollment and encourages the more frequent log-ins the carrier desires (which will enable customers to get familiar with site features and navigation). Gomez research indicates that consumer demand for and usage of online payment functionality rivals that of access to policy information, both of which dwarf the relative demand for other functionality.
As the carrier gets through the initial stage of enrolling the masses and working out initial kinks it will want to look at the potential for cost-savings opportunities via policy change functionality and e-documents. MetLife will then be well positioned, since the site's current layout and depth of policy information will enable the smooth integration of change requests within the online experience.
Tim Carpenter is an analyst at Gomez, Inc., an Internet channel benchmarking and improvement strategies firm in Waltham, Mass., www.gomez.com.