"The companies that will stand out will be the ones that find ways to move at the pace of the people they’re insuring."


Digital technologies erode the value generated. This seems counterintuitive, given the extent companies are investing in digital technologies these a days. Yet industry trends demonstrate that although digital technologies have the capability to make some companies market winners, for many more its impact depletes corporate earnings and the overall value of an industry. Consumers, not companies, are often the ultimate winners in the digital era.

Today, digital transformation is more of a necessity than a value driver. Insurance is a highly regulated industry where it is not easy to move quickly, but the fact is consumers are moving at exceptional rates. Consumers expect the same convenience and simplicity from their insurance companies that they demand when ordering food or a booking a cab. They demand clear, relevant, rapid information at the time of their choice. An EXL text analysis on consumer review data for one of the top UK insurers demonstrated that the inconvenience of providing the NCD proof was a bigger concern among customer reviews than the claims. Clearly, the customers are increasingly getting easier to upset and harder to please.

The companies that will stand out will be the ones that find ways to move at the pace of the people they’re insuring. 

The solution is not always spending a lot of cash. One of the key elements of digital marketing, for example, involves making a persistent connection with customers over freely available social and earned media. EXL’s research on UK insurers reveals a strong positive relation between the earned media value of the social media buzz, brand consideration and market share.

In EXL’s experience, insurers’ must invest in capabilities more than the tools to make the digital work. Insurers need to look at the holistic approach towards all the pillars of their digital transformation capabilities, rather than investing all their energy in setting up new technologies alone:

  • Business & Marketing Strategy to embrace digital transformation as a core focus
  • Team engagement to ensure that the staff are on board and prepared for the changes required
  • Innovation Process to involve quick test and learn with fail fast ethos
  • Technology Stack to support operations
  • Data & Analytics to drive enhanced user experience

Case Study


The client was a growing player in the non-life insurance market. The market is dominated by brokers, partners and direct channels. Within the direct channels, aggregators have come into vogue and are growing at a great pace. However, sales through aggregators have high cost per sale and lower value per sale. This is because aggregators attract price-sensitive customers who have lower stickiness with an insurer. This leads to reduction in margin and higher churn rate.

The client engaged EXL to assess the current customer acquisition process. The objective was to increase the effectiveness (sales volumes) and optimize efficiency (cost per acquisition) of the more profitable non-aggregator direct channel.


EXL leveraged its proprietary digital diagnostic framework to gauge the marketing capabilities of the client. The framework involved deep-diving into the owned and paid channels, analytics capabilities, campaign effectiveness, and data architecture and availability. Other components of the marketing lifecycle were also taken as inputs for the diagnostic.

The team relied on desk research, stakeholder meetings, primary research and customer data mining to assess the as-is state of customer acquisition process. It was found out that the client lacked visibility of the holistic customer journeys. Moreover, the reports that the team used were limited and lacked the required level of sophistication. In terms of predictive analytics capabilities also, there were areas of improvement.


EXL provided the client with a detailed digital transformation roadmap, with an in-depth list of recommendations in each of the six pillars. The recommendations further led into short term, medium terms and long term activities.


  • Identified the targeting models for the direct mail channel to target cold customer base to reduce the cost per acquisition by at least 35%, with a further scope of optimization possible depending upon volume of expected conversions
  • Demonstrated an opportunity of 0.7 MM £ savings through better targeting of customers and channel optimization strategies
  • Demonstrated additional top-line upside of 5 MM £ through intelligent targeted offer design based on customer demographics and price elasticity analysis
  • Designed better visualizations of campaign performance with drill down capability so as to facilitate root cause analysis
  • Identified areas of improvement in customer journeys through identification of detractor drivers from benchmarking studies; this leads to better user experience and provides uplift in conversion
  • Delivered a proof of concept of social media analytics using Natural Language Processing methodologies and tools and leveraging unstructured data

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