The insurance industry continues to evolve as consumer trends, technology and compliance all impact the way that insurance is bought, sold and serviced.
To help offer some clarity as to the trends and challenges performance marketers face in the insurance industry, I asked three experts to share their views and intelligence with us.
In this first of three blogs in the series, I will share my conversation with Abby Sherkow, Research Lead at Cigna, to get her thoughts on what is happening in the health insurance space.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you ended up in the health insurance world?
“After graduating with my Masters in Public Health from Columbia University, I worked in pharmaceutical consulting, focusing on market access for new drug launches.I was responsible for reporting on trends in the US insurance space, and came to realize that the insurers were the ones really paving the way for change – they refused high cost drugs that showed no clinical efficacy; they focused on keeping customers well before they got sick leaning on wellness programs, etc. And as cliché as it sounds, I wanted to be involved in that change directly.”
What do you see as the top trends challenges currently facing of the health insurance industry? How do you see these impacting consumer behavior, and what will be important for insurance marketers to know?
“Health insurance is an unusual business. For the most part, in the U.S., the people who consume the product are not the ones that are directly paying for the product. More often, their employer is. So, for years, health insurers have been able to cater towards the employer and provider, leaving the consumer as an afterthought. However, with the rise of consumerism, customers are now demanding more from their carriers. Health insurers are finally looking to design tools and products that consumers can use. And consumers are becoming more involved directly in monitoring and managing their health through technology. Thus, the way that consumers interact with their care providers and insurers is evolving.”
Given these changes and the data that is being generated, do you think that insurance marketers and their companies are taking advantage of all of the consumer data that is currently available?
“First and foremost, it seems like we are sitting on too much data! Many of us do not have the infrastructure to compile all the information or the right tools to effectively make use of it.With that much information, you need to be deliberate on focus. And to date, true return on investment for a specific amount of information has not been proven.”
What is the number one thing that you recommend carriers focus on from a marketing perspective?
“Segmentation. As consumers, at this point, we are all so used to very personalized marketing from our other vendor relationships, that when we get an un-personalized email from our insurer, we kind of roll our eyes and automatically delete it. Insurers need to start acting like Apple, JCrew, and Target in order to really engage our consumers in context.
Jaimie Pickles is GM of Insurance at Jornaya.