Middle-market commercial insurance buyers want easy-to-use online technology to help manage their costs, but the services that carriers currently offer often fall short of expectations.
According to a new online mini-survey of Risk & Insurance® readers sponsored by Wausau Insurance, less than half of middle-market commercial insurance buyers use the password-secured online technology offered by their carrier, and barely half of those who use the online service rate it as good or better.
Moreover, when users were asked about three specific online carrier services that they had ranked among the most valuable to their company, only half of the respondents said these services were easy to use.
"This survey shows a disconnect between what insurance buyers value, and what some of them are actually getting from their insurance carrier," said Joe Gilles, president and chief operating officer of Wisconsin-based Wausau Insurance, part of the Liberty Mutual Group.
"This should be a wake-up call for any commercial carriers who haven't already figured out that their customers need and deserve easy-to-use online technology to help them manage their total cost of risk."
The confidential survey of 148 middle-market commercial insurance buyers, who were not asked to identify their insurance carrier, showed that only 69 of 148 respondents, or 47 percent, said they even use online data and reporting resources available on their carrier's Web sites to help manage their commercial insurance.Of these 69 users, only 38 respondents, or 55 percent, rated their carrier's online capabilities as good or better.
Among the areas where online services are falling short, the survey found:
- 78 percent placed a high value on "overall claim profiles" such as showing the cause of loss, or the nature of the risk, yet only 52 percent said their carrier's profiles were easy to use, according to the data.
- 74 percent placed a high value on "large claim cost analysis," yet only 50 percent said their carrier's online analysis service was easy to use.
- 65 percent placed a high value on "identification of top loss causes," yet only 48 percent said their carrier's service was easy to use.
The survey also asked respondents who use their carrier's password-secured online Web site to rate the technology by line of insurance.
While 61 percent rated their carrier's workers' compensation capabilities as good or better, online technology for every other line cited--property, general liability, commercial auto, umbrella and package--was rated as good or better by 45 percent or less.
The ratings were even lower for the educational value of carriers' public Internet sites. Only 43 percent of respondents who use their carrier's online technology rated the educational value of its public Internet site as good or better.
"When it comes to online technology, some survey respondents see their carrier as one-dimensional and too focused on workers' compensation," Gilles said."This re-confirms our belief that the best carriers will continue to be the ones who provide consistently excellent service across all lines, whether it be in the form of online technology or any other type of service."
January 1, 2005
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