An Unfulfilling Customer Experience

So, Customer Experience Management (CEM or CXM, depending on who you talk to) seems to be The Next Big Thing from what we see in the insurance media. Carriers are more focused than ever on ensuring an integrated cross-channel experience or an ability to provide a seamless view across products. If my recent experience is any indication, some of them have a long way to go.

Here’s the setup. I’ve had our two family cars on a personal auto policy with one of the top direct writers for several years. To be honest, I’m a happy customer. Billing and policy management are all online, and the couple of claims we had were handled really well through the carrier’s preferred repair center program. I find their mobile app useful as well. In short, I would recommend the carrier to friends. At least, I would have…

For no particular reason, I left my home owners and personal excess coverage with a small, regional carrier through my local, independent agent. It’s the same agent that my father had for 50 years, and I guess I felt a little guilty when I pulled the auto policy (after a less than stellar claims experience coupled with uncompetitive rates). Anyway, when a new agent joined the firm, she reached out and made a bid to win back my auto policy. She did a nice job and presented some compelling numbers, though I wasn’t thrilled with the carrier she chose (they tend to rate near the bottom in JD Power and other customer satisfaction ratings and have fewer online services).

Her efforts prompted me to question my whole portfolio, so I figured a good place to start would be to have my current auto carrier quote my homeowners and excess coverage to get me an apples-to-apples comparison. What I figured would happen was something like this:

  • I’d log into my account.
  • There, I would find a button to “add coverages” or “get another quote.”
  • I’d select homeowners and umbrella and be lead through some simple product choices. These quotes would be largely pre-populated based on the fact that I already have coverage with the carrier (e.g. “Is the address we have on file the home for which you would like to get a quote?”)
  • I would receive a single quote with line item detail and the bundling discounts included.
  • There would also be an “estimated annual premium” totalled across my existing policy and the two additional policies.

Seems reasonable, no?

Well, the actual experience was quite a bit different. Once I logged in, I clicked on a link that allowed me to get a new quote. Unfortunately, it was to start a new auto policy. There were also easily accessible options to add or delete vehicles or coverage - maybe all these guys do is auto despite what it says on the Website?

After a few false starts, I finally found a link to add a new policy type. I chose home owners, and was directed to a partner site. In and of itself that’s not a problem, since I can understand that not all carriers can directly write all covers. However, my experience started with me having to rekey all of my demographic/address info – info that my carrier has had for 5 years. After I went through all of the configuration options, I finished my quote and received my emailed copy. However, the multi-policy discount wasn’t obvious, nor was there any indication of a combined annual premium. I was lead to wonder whether I would have two separate bills (probably, given the experience thus far).

And next, when I wanted to do my personal excess coverage… you guessed it. Start pretty much from scratch and go through the same experience. Here the disconnect was even more telling, as the quote process required me to identify the limits on my existing homeowners and auto policy. Wait a minute - YOU are the carrier that has my auto policy. You mean you can’t be bothered to verify the coverages and limits on your own policy? Finally, when I went back to the original Website and logged in to my account, there’s no obvious way to access the quotes I just got (I include the qualifier “obvious,” as I wasn’t willing to spend 10 minutes hunting).

Maybe Amazon has spoiled me, but they obviously get the retail experience. Even if I buy products from a fulfilment partner that isn’t directly “Amazon”, I receive a unified experience. I don’t have to enter my credit card information or shipping address twice. My orders are all in one place. My shipping status is all in one place.

I’m afraid this blog is turning into a rant, so I’ll wrap it up here. I’m seriously considering walking down the block to the storefront operation that one of the other major carriers has in town and saying “get me a quote for all of this.” We’ll see where that gets me.