I recently moved from one part of Brooklyn to another, and when I called to update my renters' policy, I was told that the carrier I was with didn't write in the area to which I had moved. So, I went shopping for a new renters' insurance carrier.
Even though my new location is supposedly more flood-prone (not that flooding is my major concern), I was able to get a comparable policy for $100 less per year than my former location.
That was surprising enough, but even more so was the fact that right after my policy was confirmed, I was invited via e-mail to join the new carrier's online services portal. As far as I know, my previous carrier didn't have one (at least not for renters' insurance), because I was never told about it by my agent, nor invited.
Sign-up was easy, and I was able to download a copy of my policy before it arrived in my mailbox (assuring my wife that yes, we are now covered — she's a little jumpy after two massive windstorms).
Thinking back to what I've reported on, I poked around to see what I could do online. Most of the services I'll need — update personal information, view policy documents, file a claim — are easily accessible.
There's also visible links to my agent's e-mail and website, and the 24-hour service telephone number, on every screen.
Insurance is really about peace of mind in many ways, and a well-executed online portal such as this goes a long way toward assuring that. You don't feel like you're going to be left out of the cold or unable to find forms or documentation you need in a crisis. It makes me want to click another always-visible link in the online portal: Refer A Friend.
Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio