A hit or a miss: 5 success factors for customer portals in the insurance industry

MUNICH, November 8, 2016 – Whether customer satisfaction, cost savings or new sales ideas: many insurance companies hope to benefit from launching or optimizing customer portals. On closer examination, however, it becomes apparent that most of the projects fail. Business and IT consultants Q_PERIOR identify 5 critical success factors for insurers which make the difference between a hit or a miss.

1. Specific objective

Many customer portal projects fail to answer the question: “What do we want to achieve with a customer portal?” Implementation is justified as a kind of end in itself, perhaps for fear of losing ground in the digitization race. No objectives, no measurable success. A high-quality preliminary study which defines these objectives, is therefore essential.

2. Business and methodological framework

On the business side, relevant target areas such as customer satisfaction or earnings growth as well as a realistic business case with measurable indicators of success should be defined. With the aid of these indicators, all decisions relating to the development of the customer portal can be critically assessed with the result that the focus remains on customer benefits and the company’s interests as the project progresses. In determining a methodological framework, attention must be paid to the fundamental principles of requirements and process management. For example, this includes the principle of defining the process first and thereafter the IT support. A defined software development and change request process is also essential for the success of every customer portal project.

3. Customer added value

Once the business and methodological foundation has been laid, any customer portal stands or falls on whether customers use the services on offer. As manual activities are shifted from the insurance company towards the customer in the self-service portal, there has to be noticeable added value for the customer. From the central collation and storage of all relevant information, via exclusive online offers to short-term on-demand products such as daily skiing insurance: there are many options for creating incentives.

4. Interaction frequency

In order to achieve targets in the area of reducing costs, the services offered must be used by customers at a certain frequency. Ranking the frequency of use – measured or estimated – is therefore to be recommended. This allows a well-founded decision to be made as to which customer interactions are to be promoted in the portal and which are better covered by means of qualified advice from the sales force.

5. Product and process integration

In principle, insurance companies should offer products with low purchase hurdles in the customer portal. The important aspect is that the products are integrated with the service process so that the customer is not obliged to enter large volumes of data. It is also vital that the products offered are relevant in terms of their substance and timing. For example, if a customer registers the mileage of his vehicle online, he will regard offers to do with cars as logical, but he is likely to be put off by a proposal to take out third party pet insurance.

“The decisive element across all success factors is to adopt the customer’s perspective when it comes to implementation”, explains Alexander Horn, Principal Consultant at Q_PERIOR by way of conclusion. “This is the only way that insurance companies will succeed in offering relevant products in their portals and positioning themselves successfully amidst digital competition.”


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