TAKING PERSONALIZATION TO THE NEXT LEVEL / A PARADIGM SHIFT IN FINANCIAL SERVICES
A paradigm shift:
Is it possible that Spotify knows our music taste better than we do? Every week, Spotify offers us a custom playlist, called “Discover Weekly”, of 30 songs that we might have never listened to before, but we shall probably like. When we think about it, the ability to predict our preferences is the secret sauce behind the world’s greatest data companies such as Netflix, Google, Amazon and Facebook. And if they know us so well, why should other service providers who accompany our life journey, such as Banks and Insurers be any different?
As personalization is becoming part of our everyday life, people are becoming more open to the idea of sharing their data. Service providers are learning how to make the best of such personal data. In a recent report, Accenture is reporting that nearly 80% of insurance customers are willing to share their personal data in exchange for lower premiumsor other benefits such as insurance coverage recommendations. Consequently, Insurance carriers are increasingly looking for innovative solutions to personalize their offering, messaging and pricing. After a decade during which only the data rails owners (Google, Facebook, etc.) mastered and leveraged personal data to increase conversion, the signs are indicating that financial service providers are waking up in an attempt to bridge the knowledge gap by using deep personalization technologies to feed AI systems and improve the performance of their newly deployed digital channels.
“PERSONA” is key for Insuretech:
While the life insurance market size is estimated to reach $2.8T by 2030 (Munich Re), insurance customers are still very costly to acquire – the average Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) in this space ranges between $500-$800 and characterized by users that are hard to convert. During 2018 for example, although half of all adults in the US have searched on-line for life-insurance information, only 1 in 3 purchased or attempted to purchase a policy. This fact is not surprising given that most insurers websites are still designed to offer a “serve all” experience, with a “fix” set of solutions.
A study by PWC, shows that the ‘serve all’ model is not relevant anymore and the only way for insurers to acquire customers at a reasonable CAC, is by (i) understanding in real-time who the customer is (even if that is his first entry to the portal) and (ii) based on pre-configured customer segments, offering a differentiated digital journey and products to each “Persona”.
The underlying technology:
The personalization paradigm is comprised of two separate challenges (i) Converting new users that were never engaged before; (ii) Selling more, to existing customers. Both domains require very deep understanding of the customers, but in completely different ways.
Aktibo, our recent investee startup is dealing with the first challenge. Bringing vast knowledge from the digital marketing space, Aktibo enables insurers to classify in real time every user who enters the digital channel (portal/App) and personalize the channel and the offering specifically for this user. Tests of the technology with large US’ insurance carriers resulted in 300% more conversions of “digital window shoppers” into buyers.
Neura, another portfolio startup, which Moneta has recently invested in, is dealing with the 2nd challenge: It is learning the real-life habits and behaviors of existing customers and allows brands to engage with them at the right time and place, or in other words – when it matters most for these clients.
What these hypotheses mean in reality, is that a high-tech parent in his/her thirties will enter a completely different portal (look-feel-colors), see different products, and read different messages, than a millennial student (or a teacher in his/her fifties). The offering that matches their “Persona” is a result of deep learning that is based on millions of prior cases learned by computers (Machine Leaning) which suggested the offering that will most likely be favored by the specific “Persona”.
The use of deep personalization technology is expected to keep growing and become a game changer for digital service providers. Definitions of Personas are enhanced all the time by additional data gathered by the systems. Then, feedback models, based on personas, are used to identify and attract the “high value customers”. Adding the ability to monitor customers’ behavior and follow their lifestyle in the real world (i.e. give score to Life Insurance customers who maintain healthy lifestyle) open an opportunity for service providers to incentivize their customers to adopt a desired lifestyle (i.e. by giving discounts) and to engage the customers with new offers at a moment that works best for the them.
With high acquisition costs and an increasing competition from tech companies, insurers can no longer lag-behind the digital revolution. Customers are craving for personalized offers and experiences. Technologies such as Neura and Aktibo are already there to help major carriers adopt to the digital era. BCG research is suggesting that insurance companies that will be smart and agile enough to move quickly to personalization are predicted to enjoy revenue increase by 6% to 10%, two to three times faster than those that won’t.