UK insurers should embrace digital channels

UK insurers should embrace digital channels

Insurers need to focus on personal interaction with customers, digital channels and adopting a retailing mentality

Also on

  • UK insurers can learn vital lessons from the e-retailing sector who perform better at customer experience
  • Chinese insurers have embraced change, achieving the highest improvement in customer experience in the past year
  • KPMG report advises insurers to focus on personal interaction, digital channels and adopt retailing mentality

UK insurance customer experience is improving, but insurers need to focus on personal interaction with customers, digital channels and adopting a retailing mentality, according to a new report by KPMG.

KPMG’s Customer Experience Barometer analyses the responses from 5,000 customers from 160 leading banks, general insurers, life insurers, e-retailers and utilities across the UK, US, Germany, China and Australia.

The report revealed that only 16% and 13% of UK general and life insurance customers believe that customer experience has improved over the last year, typically a lower rate than other countries - for instance in China where 39% of general insurance customers expressed an improvement. 

Similarly only 34% and 30% of UK customers rated their general and life insurance customer experience highly, again lower than countries such as the US and Germany.

UK insurers should take note from these scores, particularly those who are looking towards other sectors for innovative ways to evolve their business models to reflect changing consumer behaviours. The reality is that customers’ insurance buying decisions are increasingly influenced by ‘peer review’ on the web and social media channels. This creates new opportunities for insurers to differentiate themselves – through better communication, as well as mining the data from these customer reviews to refine their products and customer experience. It’s therefore no surprise that the e-retailers fared better in the survey, where 53% of customers rated their experience highly.

Phil Smart, UK head of insurance at KPMG explained, “Improving customer experience is a challenge for the industry as insurers have relatively limited interaction with their customers. Unless a claim is made, there can be little to tell insurers apart besides price and brand. However commoditisation hasn’t held online retailers back and insurers have much to learn from this sector. Insurers should focus on improving their customer experience at the point of contact and adopt an online retailing mentality. The proliferation of aggregators is a good example of an increasing industry shift towards an online retail based model.”  

However the report highlights that it is the quality of the people – not the technology – that matters most to customers. So while customer experience levels are highest within those that self-serve, customers place significant importance on their interactions with the human face of an organisation.

Gary Reader, Global Head of Insurance at KPMG said “The greatest opportunity for sustainable revenue growth does not come from new products or geographical expansion, but rather from their ability to deliver a high quality and differentiating customer experience. Those that get it right will not only capture a greater share of new customers, they will also be better placed to keep their customers and extend their existing relationships.

“Insurers should take note of these findings and ensure that all their strategies put their customers’ needs at the very heart of their businesses.”  

The full report can be viewed here:

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For further information please contact:

Simon Chan, PR Assistant Manager, KPMG

T: +44 (0)207 694 2024

M: +44 (0)7747 564 737


KPMG Press Office: +44 (0)207 694 8773


About the Customer Experience Barometer

The KPMG Customer Experience Barometer is designed to provide a means of measuring, tracking and benchmarking the customer experience for markets, sectors and brands.  To develop the report, KPMG International partnered with Edelman Berland in Q4 2013 to collect data from 5,000 consumers spread equally across five major markets:  Australia, China, Germany, the UK and the US.  The report examines the perceptions of these consumers of their customer experience across more than 160 leading brands in the banking, general insurance, life insurance, e-retailing, and utilities sectors.  It considers more than 30 individual attributes, measuring each for ‘importance’ and ‘performance,’ establishing where there are ‘performance gaps,’ showing the overall range from highest to lowest score and illustrating relative performance across sectors and markets.

About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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