The next level of insurance fintech: gamification and design

Insurance – arguably one of the most traditional and established sectors in the finance world – is recognising the need for modernisation in its customer communications.  A recent FIS survey reveals 80 per cent of insurers feel the need to incorporate digital innovation into their business to meet key challenges such as improving customer satisfaction and maintaining market position. As with all verticals, customer interactions within the insurance industry are becoming more complex and expectations are escalating, making interactive real-time communications critical to business success.  

Among the various digital techniques the insurance industry is exploring to more effectively engage its customers, gamification stands out as potentially one of the most effective. Throughout 2017 insurance companies will increasingly use this tactic to enhance services with better design and greater interactivity across channels. Fintech providers will apply similar techniques used by gaming experts to improve customers’ overall digital experiences and drive loyalty in a competitive marketplace.  

As insurers adopt new cloud-based technologies to meet the challenges of the digital age, gamification is an attractive way for insurers to deliver enhanced digital experiences and embrace new customer-centric business models. It involves applying the fundamentals of gaming – and commitment to great design – to help deliver well thought-out templates that are easy to use, pleasing to look at, and ultimately help build deeper relationships and engage proactively with customers.

Gamification examples

So can insurers use gamification to effectively communicate and engage with their customers? They’re certainly trying and there are already good examples of insurance companies doing just that.  Aviva Drive – an app that monitors driver skills – is a good example. After using the free app for 200 miles, Aviva insurance customers receive a safe driver score based on cornering, braking, and acceleration skills. 

This score can be used to reduce car insurance premiums, with discounts increasing relative to score and policy value. To produce the app Aviva established a digital task force of website creators, data analysts, and games developers, dedicated to engaging a new generation of customers to ensure relevancy and innovation for a tech-expectant audience. In the health insurance industry Bupa launched a similar app, Bupa Boost, allowing businesses to challenge their employees to monitor and improve health and wellness, rewarding achievements when goals are met.  Insurers are also using gamification to strengthen brand awareness and affinity, particularly among tech-savvy millennials. 

This age group – described as “the most underinsured generation since the war” – are widely forgoing personal policies such as life and income protection insurance, and are the least likely of all age groups to take out travel insurance. Insurers need new ways to engage with this generation and motivate them to explore the products available, and gamification provides a viable solution by incorporating the technologies they are so comfortable with.  

By applying gamification techniques as part of their customer communications solutions, insurers can turn mundane tasks and processes such as applications, policy renewals, claims, and information updates into well-designed, interactive transactions that customer actively consume. Implementing gaming elements will empower insurers to deliver more regular, successful interactions with their customers while helping educate prospects about relevant products and messaging effectively.

An innovative engagement mechanism

But from our experience, while the use of gamification can be an innovative engagement mechanism, it is important that insurers support these techniques with great design, accuracy, and personalisation – much like the concept of customer communications, where the design, content and means of delivery must be controlled by the business.  

To maximise the potential of gamification as a type of interactive communications, insurers and fintech providers must apply similar lessons that they have learned from their experience with customer communications: 

  • Business, not technology, must drive gamification. When introducing gamification into customer communications, there must be a clear business purpose and business control beyond just user interface, or sheer customer experience. If it’s done without this in mind, gamification could be seen as frivolous and not supportive of improving customer experience.
  • Use data to personalise the experience. Interactivity within communications enables companies to collect relevant data from customers that can then drive their business processes. Gamification can only work if the experience delivered is relevant to the target customer, so insurers should make use of customer data to provide a personalised experience.
  • The right content, at the right time and place, still applies. If companies look at gamification as another method of delivering communications, then the design and functionality of these games must be connected to – and utilise the content repositories of – other customer communications. This ensures that all personalised communications, no matter what form they take, are consistent, accurate and relevant to an individual customer.
  • Prioritise functionality over appearance. While eye-catching design is important to draw customers in, insurers must ensure gimmicks do not supplant value. If functionality is not up to scratch – for instance if the system isn’t designed or configured correctly, or doesn’t work across all devices – customers won’t stay for long and they won’t return to an application that doesn’t work for them.
  • Pitch the system at the right level. Insurers must consider their target audience when implementing gamification to achieve the right balance of simplicity and sophistication. Brand styling is key and document templates must feature great design, using eye-catching graphics and charts as visual representations of complex data.

Interactive, real-time communications are now critical to business success and, through the use of innovate fintech solutions, insurance companies can move beyond traditional enterprise communications using the most modern architecture and cloud capabilities. 

In 2017 more fintech companies will seek to enhance services of ‘digital design forces’ to increase gamification and greater interactivity of communications to improve digital experience, and drive customer loyalty in a competitive marketplace.

Martin Davey, Chief Technology Officer, Smart Communications
Image Credit: Investment Zen / Flickr