Climate change will result in increased frequency and severity of disasters; the spotlight will be on insurers when customers come to claim
As climate change starts to have an impact on the continent, European insurers cannot ignore the need to be ready for the effect on their customers – including an increased risk of natural disasters such as wildfires, extreme weather and major floods, customer experience expert Quadient is warning. Across 2018, 394 natural catastrophe events worldwide generated economic losses of $225 billion, laying bare the fact that dealing with these events will inflict significant costs, and a growing need for cover. The bottom line is that if an insurer is offering policies designed to cover natural disasters, they must be there for customers right the way through from preventative advice to the claims process.
“The World Economic Forum (WEF) says extreme weather, climate change and natural disasters are the biggest threat to humanity in 2019. Natural disasters are becoming a fact of life, with climate change making them more common in Europe, so insurers must be ready to help customers deal with the impact,” warned Andi Dominguez, Insurance Expert at Quadient. “Simply put, insurers that cover natural disaster situations must ensure they are able to proactively support customers before, during and after one takes place.”
To make the claims process as painless as possible when a natural disaster takes place, insurers should focus on three key stages:
- Before: If possible, insurers should warn that a problem could be on the way, using push notifications and SMS to get the message to customers as quickly as possible. Here they can offer advice on how to prepare, whether that is buying sand bags, stocking up on food and supplies, or securing a property. By setting out key facts in advance, such as how customers can claim and what they are covered for, insurers can help customers weather the worst.
- During: When a disaster is unfolding, insurers must again use communication channels, such as push notifications and SMS, that can get messages to customers straight away. They should not worry about sharing multiple messages, as policy holders will appreciate live updates as a situation develops. If insurers have access to the right data, they will be in a position to advise when the worst has passed, or warn there could be more to come. At this stage they can reassure customers that they don’t need to worry about the claims process, allowing them to focus on clear-up efforts and getting their lives back to normal.
- After: It’s crucial to help make the claims process as smooth as possible. Policy holders are likely to have some recurring questions, so insurers can make the process smoother and easier by making advice and FAQs very visible on the website, pinning them to the top of social feeds, and sharing with customers through their preferred channels. If possible, it would be worthwhile drafting in extra customer support staff during busy times.
“Insurers in Europe, and around the world, should fine-tune their customer experience, so that they can be confident they’ve established two-way communication channels to engage with policyholders should a natural disaster strike,” Dominguez continues. “This means laying firm foundations for how they will support policy holders before, during and after natural disasters. Across Europe, people are facing up to the realities of an increased risk of natural disasters. Using predictive data and proactively communicating with customers through the process of claiming for damages from a natural disaster will enable insurers to build a reputation, keeping hold of existing customers, and building trust with new ones.”