Survey Finds Poor Health of Online Insurance Services Could Represent High Costs to Insurers

Data Indicates Consumers Likely to Put Down the Mouse and Pick Up the Phone to Resolve Insurance Issues They Experience Online

Jun 07, 2010, 09:00 ET from OpTier

NEW YORK, June 7 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the results of a new survey, four out of five Americans (83 percent) are likely to resolve any issues they experience in purchasing or processing an insurance claim online by reaching for the phone. The survey, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for OpTier®, the leader in Business Transaction Management (BTM) for the enterprise, also found that young people aged 18-34 are 10 percentage points more likely than older consumers to have already purchased or plan to purchase or research health insurance online (25 percent vs. 15 percent, respectively). As this segment of the population ages, it is possible insurers can expect more consumers turning to the web to compare and buy health insurance.

Online customers looking to resolve claims and other issues via phone are an expensive proposition for insurance companies; it can prove costly in the form of lost customers or a customer service representative's time. A February 2010 report from Forrester Research, Inc. titled "Increasing Online Insurance Self-Service Adoption," estimates that "for every 20,000 calls deflected to online self-service, an insurance carrier could realize $100,000 to $200,000 in potential cost savings."

The survey also found that young people (18-34) are taking the lead in researching and purchasing insurance online. This data points to steadily rising pressure on insurance provider sites to improve existing customer service levels while readying themselves for the next wave of online consumers.

Other interesting data points in the survey include:

  • Consumers with a college degree (89 percent), a household income of $50,000 or more (86 percent), and those who are married (86 percent) are most likely to abandon the computer and pick up the phone to resolve an issue experienced online.
  • Those who are more educated are also more likely to research or purchase a health insurance policy online; 27 percent of college graduates report that they have already or plan to do so compared to just 15 percent of those without a college degree.

Insurance companies that participate in comparison shopping sites face the greatest pressure to deliver estimates in just a few seconds as glitches in site performance add up to lost revenue. Meanwhile the insurer's online portals are facing similar pressure to provide content that efficiently services customers. The recently passed Obama administration Health Care Reform Bill is likely to contribute to increased traffic on insurance sites in the next five years as states will be required to create online exchanges where consumers who do not have policies through their employers can shop for insurance and get quotes.

BTM technology such as OpTier BTM™ is one way for insurance companies to ensure high-quality customer service online. Traditional monitoring systems do not provide the necessary transparency to prevent these problems from occurring. With OpTier BTM, organizations can accurately and continuously monitor transaction response times for websites and other IT resources, and isolate and resolve issues more quickly. This improves the performance of corporate websites, helps to prevent service outages and ensures that changes in IT infrastructure do not adversely impact customers.

"Insurance companies today need to be sure that their online operations can perform at peak levels without degradation in service to keep pace with needs of their customers while keeping costs down," said Motti Tal, executive vice president of product, marketing and business development at OpTier. "OpTier BTM monitors consumer transactions through the entire IT infrastructure and pinpoints and alerts staff to problems in real time so issues can be resolved before they negatively impact the end-user experience."

To hear more about the impact of online performance in the insurance market click here and listen to a webinar on managing dynamic IT change in a complex insurance environment with guest speakers from Forrester Research, Inc. and OpTier.

The survey of 1,005 Americans ages 18 and older was conducted online by Ipsos Public Affairs for OpTier between May 6th and May 10th.

About OpTier

Of the billions of business transactions conducted every second, more are assured by OpTier than by any other IT management software company.

OpTier's Business Transaction Management solution (OpTier BTM™) enables business application owners to take control over service performance and availability. OpTier BTM assures the quick and successful execution of all business transactions, by managing every step of every transaction. It delivers unparalleled visibility of all business transactions in order to eliminate outages, effectively manage change and improve end-user experience. OpTier, with a fast-growing list of Global 2000 customers, pioneered the concept that transactions are where IT and business meet.


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