Standing Out in a Bland World: Global Life Insurance Customer Service Strategies

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10 April 2017

Celent has released a new report titled Standing Out in a Bland World: Global Life Insurance Customer Service Strategies. The report was written by Karen Monks and Colleen Risk, both Analysts with Celent’s Insurance practice.


Customers are demanding a different relationship with their insurers. There are increased demands for simplicity and transparency demonstrated by clearer pricing, simpler contracts, and tailored recommendations with clear explanations. The age of the Internet has created customers that are more financially literate and increasingly self-directed.

Insurers across the globe prefer to deliver customer services via in-house customer service centers. The service centers that provide the most value are specialized by function.

Insurers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC) are more likely to outsource at least some part of customer service and obtain value from doing so. In EMEA and APAC, the traditional customer service methods of paper, email, and website are used most often. However, newer technologies such as chat, instant messaging, and mobile apps are also used and providing value for insurers. Furthermore, insurers in EMEA and APAC more closely match their investments in customer service to their stated strategic importance.

Insurers expect customer service costs to stay flat or only increase slightly while they significantly increase customer technology spending. This finding represents how automation can improve overall efficiency.

“Customer service is a coveted differentiator that should spark insurers to ramp up their efforts to improve both the front and back end tools and technology,” stated Risk, Senior Analyst in Celent’s Insurance practice.

“To meet customer expectations in an increasingly digital world, insurers should embrace change and incorporate new systems and processes while harnessing data and using real-time analytics,” remarked Monks, Analyst in Celent’s Insurance practice. “Like it or not, customer and distribution partner behaviors and expectations are changing the business model.”