Risto Sallinen, Senior Account Manager at AXA Partners in Finland
“It’s not just about going online anymore. It’s about being mobile and bringing a human touch to digital settings”, says Risto Sallinen, Senior Account Manager at AXA Partners in Finland, commenting on future trends in the Nordic insurance market.
People in the Nordic countries are heavy smartphone users. Especially the younger generation. And they get easily bored if your digital experience doesn’t meet their expectations.
“If an app doesn’t work, they’ll just delete it and move on. They don’t stick and they’re definitely not as loyal to banks and insurance companies as the generations that came before them”, says Risto Sallinen.
Risto Sallinen has a background in finance and has worked as an account manager at AXA Partners for five years. He sees three emerging trends. In the near future, we’ll see:
Purely digital customer journey – Applying online for a mortgage and related insurance without the need for an in-person meeting to finalise the details.
Open platforms – Information about all your insurance policies from different insurance companies in one place.
More automation – Far less paperwork when applying for insurance or making claims.
Despite the fact that people today can easily apply online for a mortgage, they often still need to make an in-person appointment to finalise the details and sign the contract.
“The logical next step is to bring the entire customer journey into the digital realm. However, this requires the ability to create a digital experience with the same authenticity and trustworthiness as a physical meeting, while making the buying process smooth and easy”, continues Sallinen.
“People generally feel that insurance products can be difficult to buy and the benefits can be hard to understand. Digital journeys should focus on solving these challenges by visualising complex information for example by creating videos or animations, or by breaking down information into parts that will help guide customers through the process”, says Sallinen.
“It is also important to demonstrate commitment, authenticity and empathy in a digital world and that can be supported providing relevant value-added services. For example, banks could provide services that ensure their customers' financial well-being”, concludes Sallinen.
Sallinen believes that leveraging big data is key to creating an enhanced digital customer experience, and to delivering increased customer value throughout the chain. Data collection can lead to more relevant and customer-centric products and services.
“We have so much data that could be used to better serve the customer – providing targeted offers and enhanced services at just the right time – but we still use very little of it. Customers appreciate fast, flexible and caring service. Using available data more effectively is definitely something businesses need to capitalize on to a greater degree”, explains Sallinen.
Risto Sallinen envisions the ability to ask even highly complicated questions online.
“Asking questions gives us relevant information, enabling us to better understand customer needs and propose the right insurance coverage for loans. It’s about building trust by offering qualified advice in a personalised manner – even in a purely digital setting”, explains Sallinen.
Another trend involves open platforms, which enable you to gather all your insurance policies in one place. On these platforms, you can get an overview of all your insurance coverage – regardless of insurance company.
“In five to ten years, I believe that we’re going to be more open, enabling policyholders to find multiple companies and insurance policies in the same place. To this end, we’re working on innovations enabling our platform to more easily link up with other platforms that offer our services – regardless of whether this is a partner-run or open platform”, explains Sallinen.
A third trend, according to Sallinen, revolves around how automation is simplifying the claims process for policyholders.
“If we take unemployment insurance, for instance. We already have a process in place in Sweden, in co-operation with the Swedish Public Employment Service, where we employ blockchain technology to simplify the claims process for end-customers. This process simplifies administration for the government agency and for AXA Partners as well”, comments Sallinen.
In this new flexible and mobile world, banks have fewer and fewer face-to-face interactions with their customers. Everyone is looking for a digital experience.
“We need to make the customer journey seamless and easy. Getting the digital journey right is the key to success. We need to embrace the mobile experience, because it is here and now”, concludes Sallinen.