Customer centricity in insurance

08 March 2017
An interview with Graham Hollebon, former Proposition Marketing Director, Insurance & Assistance

Introduction by Laura Snape, Senior Marketing Manager, Insurance & Assistance.

We recently produced a film with the Business Reporter on the Future of Insurance in which our leadership team discussed the need for the insurance industry to evolve and build deeper relationships with consumers.

The below is an edited transcript taken from an unpublished 'Future of Insurance' interview with the Director of Marketing for Insurance and Assistance, Graham Hollebon. With talk about big data, personalisation and customer centricity trending across all industries, we asked for his views on how this impacts on customer centricity within the insurance industry.

Q. Could you tell us how customer centricity delivers a better customer experience within the insurance industry?

A. I think one of the great challenges for the insurance industry at the moment is to translate the concept of customer centricity into the way we actually do business today. Very often customer centricity is the default for great customer service; the way we answer the phone, respond to emails, web chat and so on … but actually customer centricity is far more than that, it's a deeper understanding of the customer's desires and motivations.

We can look at the often quoted examples of Airbnb and Uber who have disrupted traditional markets because they are truly focused on the customer. In financial services there are perhaps fewer examples; Metro Bank and more recently Atom Bank in the UK.

Whilst customer research is important, what we really want is great customer insight and that requires the voice of the customer to be embedded in the organisation… in the boardroom, the product development cycle, and right across the customer experience service. It requires the industry to have the willingness to change and adapt to put aside some of its preconceptions and established norms.

Q. What will this customer centricity look like? How will it manifest itself within the insurance industry?

I believe it changes the fundamental way we do business. We need to stop thinking as insurers and about our past experiences which can often cloud our vision of the future and therefore the way that we design, price and distribute product. We know there is a generation who have a very different approach to insurance; one that has changed from simply buying products and services to the relationships that they desire with product providers and brands and we need to understand that far better than we do at the moment. Our entire business model needs to be challenged to place the customer at the forefront of every bit of thinking we do, from the boardroom through the underwriting teams into the call centres.

Q. So how exactly do you do that?

Within Collinson we have the benefit of servicing the needs of over 20 million end customers across our areas of expertise, providing us with unrivalled insight into their behaviour, desires and needs.

It's that level of insight that drives our product innovation and the way we deliver our services.  We continually strive to find ways of better understanding and engaging with the customer starting with our leadership team who spend time listening to customers which is key to our learning process and challenges the way we currently think. This then informs better decision making through the organisation although we know that there is a still much to do!


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About the interviewee

Graham Hollebon is Director of Marketing for the Collinson's Insurance and Assistance business. He has 30 years of experience in insurance, marketing, sales, product management and leadership in global, UK and private equity owned B2B and D2C businesses.