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atriga FutureTalk Insurance Industry

A digital roundtable in the run-up to the GDV conference on payment transactions
on the 19th and 20th May 2022 in Cologne

Customer retention in the insurance industry:
Why customer recovery is at the centre of the dunning process (1/2)

How do insurers deal with their defaulting customers and their payment-disrupted contracts? Is there a strategic approach to customer retention, or are these customers lost in the long term? Is it communicated with this customer group at all and if so, how exactly? The fact is that at the end of a customer journey, consumers with impaired insurance contracts still quickly land on the siding. Strategic customer recovery measures are obviously still not a top topic for many insurers despite the immense sales potential. We talked to proven industry experts about this topic and the state of digitisation among insurers. Read in Part 1 of the digital roundtable, among other things, why existing customers are so important for insurers and how customer recovery measures are usually designed today. 

What is the classic handling of payment-disturbed contracts so far and how will they continue to communicate with these customers after completion of the dunning/collection process? 

Harald Weber: As far as the topic of payment-disturbed customers are concerned: All measures from the beginning of a payment disruption must have the goal of preserving the inventory. With one or the other form of insurance, he no longer has insurance cover if there is a payment disruption. Even if a customer pays irregularly, one should look for ways to keep him. And only cancel if his damage story goes wrong. Be it fraud, be it the damage situation or frequency.

“As far as the topic of payment-disturbed customers is concerned: All measures from the beginning of a payment disruption must have the aim of preserving the inventory.”

Prof. Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Zeidler: I can only report from the practice of the societies in which I worked. To a certain extent, attempts were made there to correct the disturbances. But from a certain point it was over, for example in the event of insolvency or if the case goes from debt collection to the legal department or to an outsourced lawyer. Then no one cares about such customers anymore.

“Claims management is not yet seen as an area that can ultimately also play into marketing and sales. This closed loop is still missing in the minds.”

I would like to talk again about customer recovery: The data will eventually go back to sales in the event of a payment disruption. This means that there is again a corresponding process and an employee picks up the phone. Wouldn’t digital measures make sense to contact the customer by e-mail or messenger?

Prof. Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Zeidler: Insurers can well specify these processes for their own sales organisation. This is a little more difficult with sales via brokers, because they need the consent of the broker for these processes. If he does not want that, they must accept the will of the broker as an entrepreneur. But my experience shows that many brokers are grateful if the insurance eliminates minor problems or inconsistencies in the first step. And only be informed when it is a lasting disturbance or when serious difficulties arise. I think it would be very good if there was support that can also take place externally.

“I think it would be very good if there was support that can also take place externally.”

Let’s stick to the topic of data again. Are there reasons why modern communication channels are not yet sufficiently used?

Christoph Ruoff: In order to set up reasonable processes, you also need similar data structures. In conversations, I learned from the insurance industry that modern means of communication cannot be used simply because the necessary contact details are missing from the master data. Let’s just take a customer’s email. For example, the external service does not pass this on because he does not want the insurer to get directly in touch with the customer via this channel. This is a fundamental data problem that does not arise by chance or due to lack of care, but is deliberately caused for strategic reasons. Then, of course, it is difficult to set up reasonable processes.

“In conversations, I learned from the insurance industry that modern means of communication cannot be used simply because the necessary contact details are missing from the master data. We have processes here to optimise this.”

Prof. Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Zeidler: Another topic is much more difficult: It is difficult to use the data or link it as you would like it to be. Because it is precisely the IT systems of large insurance companies that are pure patchwork. They know this, but fear the effort to merge the entire subsystems into one process.

Harald Weber: The large insurers started IT very early and therefore have a whole army of old systems, which often work independently of each other. Several insurers are currently working on converting them to a modern integrated system.

In part 2 of the digital roundtable, read how atriga is the first to offer an AI-based solution with CRM-driven-Retention, with which insurers can win back defaulting customers in a targeted manner via a dynamically controlled process, and what the experts have to say about this innovation in receivables management.

The participants

Prof. Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Zeidler began his career at Gothaer Versicherungen as an assistant to the CEO. This was followed by the appointment to the board members of Gothaer Lebensversicherung a.G. and Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG. This was followed by 34 years of managing directors as Chief Executive Board member of the Gothaer Group, Berlinische Lebensversicherung AG, Inter Versiche-rungen, and Zurich Deutscher Herold Lebensversicherung AG, among others.

atriga Advisory Board member Harald Weber has been an independent manage-ment consultant since 2018. Previously, he worked for more than 34 years at Alli-anz Deutschland AG in various functions, including as head of payment processes and responsible for In / Debt Collection and Receivables Management in Germany.

After his studies, Christoph Ruoff took on leading positions in the areas of advertising, marketing, sales and receivables management. Extensive studies on the German debt collection market, on debtor behaviour and on the psychology of debtors make him a sought-after contact. Since atriga was founded in 2003, Ruoff has been responsible for business development there and is part of the team of experts involved in the constant further development of the innovative atriga receivables management platform.

After his banking apprenticeship and studying economics, Christoph Overmann is entirely dedicated to the distribution of services in need of explanation. For examp-le, he started as an insurance broker before he chose receivables management and debt collection as his field of activity more than 20 years ago. Christoph Over-mann has been in leading positions in the industry for more than 10 years and still likes to face the challenges of customer acquisition and support.

Contact to the editorial office

You can download the full text of the FutureTalk as a pdf here.

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