Defining the Customer - A Snap Poll for the Celent Executive Panel

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18 June 2024

Available Only for Members of the NA Celent Insurance Executive Panel


Snap polls reflect questions posed by members of the Celent Executive Panel, a group of C level executives in the insurance industry. This comes from an insurer that wants to understand how to describe the different types of 'customers' involved with delivering products.

This deck provides a summary of the responses to a Snap Poll conducted June 11– June 17, 2024. Questions for a snap poll come from one of the other members of the panel. The snap poll was fielded to select members of the Celent Executive Panel, a group of C level executives in the insurance industry. 20 insurers responded to this survey

If you are an insurer and are interested in participating and receiving these snap polls, please email to verify eligibility.

The question that was posed was:


This insurer wants to understand what everyone else calls the different types of ‘customers’ that an insurer works with.The ask is coming from the Marketing / Customer Experience Department. They are trying to define “customer” so they can provide a clear strategy for their organization. Internally, there is a lot of internal confusion about who the customer is. Organizationally, marketing defines the “customer” as the policy holder because this is who is paying the insurer. But they are struggling with what to call the agents.Distribution partners? And they aren’t clear how to refer to internal clients.For example, if they work on the Social Media team and are creating a LinkedIn post for the Cyber Product team, are they marketing’s customer? Client? Business partner? Does that get confusing if they use the term “business partner” if they also refer to their agents as partners?


Which of the following distribution models does your company use? (mark all that apply)

  • Direct to consumer - B2C
  • Employed or captive agency- B2C
  • Independent agency - B2B2C
  • Wholesaler/MGAs - B2B2B2C??
  • Other

If you work with agents, wholesalers, or MGAs, what do you call those distributors?

  • Agents
  • Customers
  • Business partners
  • Distributors
  • Other

Why use that term? What does it mean to you?

What do you call the individuals/or organizations that are the end buyers of the insurance policy?

  • Customer
  • Buyer
  • Client
  • Policyholder
  • Something else?

What internal roles are involved with making your product?

What term do you use, enterprise wide, to describe those colleagues?

  • Customer
  • Client
  • Business Partner
  • Something else?

Why use that term? What does it mean to you?

What is your market? Mark all that apply.


  • Personal
  • Commercial
  • Small Commercial
  • Middle Market
  • Large Commercial
  • Specialty
  • Workers Comp
  • We’re a reinsurer selling to insurers
  • Other


  • Term
  • Group
  • Annuities
  • Other