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P&C and Life Outpace Health in Customer Experience

Health plan providers placed eleven spots behind P&C and life insurers in the 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings.

The insurance industry is divided in the 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings. While P&C and life ranked seventh this year, health plan providers landed at eighteenth – one place from the bottom.

This year’s ratings consist of 268 companies across 19 industries. Temkin Group polled 10,000 U.S. consumers to gauge their feedback on company interactions they had had within the previous 60 days. Consumers were asked to rate the functionality, accessibility and emotional experience of the interaction with each business. This includes the customers’ ability to complete their task, the ease of interacting and how the customer felt about the interaction.

Fourteen companies in P&C and life insurance earned enough responses to receive a ranking of 7th out of 19 and average rating of “okay.” The industry gained 2.6 points over the past year but earned nine in the last three years, which is the second-largest jump for all industries. USAA came in first in this category, followed by State Farm and Geico in second and third.

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“Those three companies have an experience rating that puts them in the ‘good’ category overall,” says Aimee Lucas, VP and customer experience transformist at Temkin Group. “What we’re seeing is they certainly outpace their competition across the board, but they definitely exceed in the accessible and emotional categories.”

Lucas notes that while mobile technology is influential, top companies go beyond tech-mindedness to acknowledge multiple customer needs. She cites the example of USAA, which takes time to ask about life changes during customer service interactions. If someone calls to make a policy change, she explains, USAA will ask what caused the change to see if they can assist in any other way.

“The company is mindful of what is going on in the customer’s life, and what they should be doing, to help them before and after the customer touchpoint,” says Lucas.

In contrast, fifteen health plan providers combined to receive a ranking of 18 and overall “poor” rating. The industry has been second-lowest for a few years now, Lucas explains, but has been making improvements and gained 1.5 points over the past year. Kaiser Permanente was the top performer and Humana shows the most year-over-year improvement.

Language has proven to be a significant barrier for health plan providers, as many consumers have difficulty understanding the complex information. Businesses must ensure their interactions are clear and understandable. Language allows the customer to engage, Lucas says, and feel like the company has a measure of empathy. Of course, it is easier for businesses such as grocery chains, which have simpler interactions, to deliver on their brand promises. Complex industries have greater difficulty with this.

Going forward, companies will have to focus on empathy in addition to technological advancements such as mobile. “The ability to demonstrate empathy and create memorable experiences will go a long way in seeing improvements in any of the three categories,” says Lucas.

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Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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