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Insurance Billing Shouldn't be an Afterthought 

Written By: Todd Greenbaum

Most property and casualty insurance executives with whom I have spoken say that insurance must be sold every YEAR.  I think they are wrong.  I think insurance is sold every DAY, because it’s every day that a customer is likely to interface with your company–make a phone call, open an email or an envelope, or manage their account online.  Every day, a customer can be given a reason to stay loyal or to look for coverage elsewhere.  It’s important to recognize that every day presents an opportunity to deliver an incredible a customer experience or, conversely, a lackluster performance.

Are you doing the best you can for your customer?

Billing is the most common touchpoint that a carrier has with its customer.  Therefore, a keen focus on the billing experience should be critical to all insurance carriers and MGAs.  To be certain, everyone talks about how important billing is but not every insurance carrier walks the walk.

What actions should a carrier be taking to ensure that their billing promotes the greatest customer experience possible?  What resources are dedicated to ensuring that EVERY SINGLE interaction is perfect?  

These are important questions that no one can afford to leave unanswered.  They’re also not questions that can be answered in a few sentences.  Consider the following 5 actions as a calculated jumpstart to get you thinking critically about the state of your billing performance and how it effects your company.

  1. INVEST: Have you invested intelligently in your servicing expertise and capabilities?  Your investments could include software, services, or people, but most of the time it’s some combination of all three.  As you begin the investment process, here’s a hint…you don’t have to spend years and millions of dollars on software to create a better customer experience (anyone who tells you otherwise is probably trying to sell you millions of dollars of software).

  2. ANALYZE: Your product and service metrics have a massive story to tell!  Big data is being used by global companies across every industry to understand and predict customer behavior.  Use the software, services and people in which you have invested to analyze your data so that you have a good understanding of how your customers react to your products and services.  Then, you can make well-informed decisions about how to properly address these findings.

  3. MANAGE: The results of your servicing and your analytics need to be managed.  You can’t simply buy expensive software and pay expensive people and expect better: better doesn’t come automatically or easily.  Software alone won’t increase your revenue–neither will hiring people.  Skilled management is what generates better.  Expert management should yield action to ensure that important changes, which come from an assessment of your customers’ needs, permeate throughout the entire organization.  What steps are you taking to improve your billing offering?  Are you using your findings to ensure that every customer interaction is SPECTACULAR?

  4. ASK: Your customers know what they want.  Ask them about what they’re missing.  Send surveys.  Call them.  If you distribute your products through a retail agency network then ask your agents what they want.  Make sure you understand what they don’t like about your offering.  Agents are vocal and helpful resources that will give you a thorough understanding of what your service is lacking.

  5. EDUCATE: Educate, educate, educate!  Every person in your billing center has an opportunity to satisfy a customer every day–they can do this with professional, timely and accurate responses.  Even the superstars who have been with your company for years will undoubtedly forget some guidelines or procedures and are therefore at risk of delivering a less than exceptional customer experience.  Ongoing education is crucial for success and it’s not just for licensed professionals anymore!

The following articles will dig more deeply into each of these items and explore how to ensure a great customer experience with a great billing option.