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D2C in Insurance: What Insurance Providers Need to Stop Relying Heavily on Agents for Business

Digitization and ever-evolving customer experience expectations have impacted the insurance industry and its customer journey as much as any other. An insurance carrier with a D2C strategy today can think of generating direct sales and staking claim on the market share.

Younger, more digitally savvy, customers no longer want to talk to age-old family insurance agents for their insurance needs. Neither do they want to go with whatever plan their family is on. They want to go online and make their own insurance buying choices. They want to choose policies from a D2C brand that give them convenience at the time of purchase, and flexibility post-purchase.

On the other hand, insurance companies are feeling the need to expand towards a D2C model of distribution and reduce reliance on agents for business. This, of course, comes in the toe of COVID-19 forcing all businesses to go online and remote. Further, insurance companies are also feeling the heat of the competition that digital-native insurtech firms are creating. Insurtech firms have stopped being only a marketplace to find a policy or an agent. Instead, D2C in insurance has become more popular and insurtech firms have started creating their own policies and omnichannel distribution models, and really making a dent in the market.

So, what should traditional insurance companies do in the face of changing customer expectation and market landscape? They need to go direct-to-customer (D2C in insurance) via multiple digital channels, and reduce reliance on insurance agents as a source of business.

To help traditional insurance companies understand this landscape further, in this article we showcase three things that leading insurance companies are doing. Of these 3 companies, two (Lemonade and Ambetter) have D2C channel and D2C insurance offering, while ValuePenguin provides information that helps consumers find the right insurance products for their needs. We’ve analyzed their digital presence with the help of an AI based digital and marketing intelligence tool called SimilarWeb.

But first, let’s get to know these insurance companies a little better -

Lemonade

Lemonade has shaped a unique business model for D2C Insurance based on behavioral economics and technology. They are using AI and chatbots to deliver D2C Insurance policies and manage claims for their consumers online without employing the use of insurance brokers or agents.

When new customers sign up for D2C Insurance and pay their premiums, Lemonade charges a linear rate on these premiums aiming to cover its functional charges. Lemonade’s assurance of transparency advances their brand image and helps them build a strong relationship with younger digital insurance buyers. Lemonade has also gone a step ahead and published their insurance policies on GitHub, permitting anyone – regulators, consumers, even competitors – to make edits to it.

ValuePenguin

ValuePenguin and its parent company LendingTree, have one common mission: to empower consumers with tools, insights, and assets to help them make smarter, more informed financial decisions. They do this by enabling customers to deep dive into rates, factors affecting policy costs, do city-by-city breakdowns, etc for auto insurance, home insurance, health insurance, and credit cards.

Ambetter

Though a player with 30+ years of experience in the insurance industry, Ambetter has come up with a unique digital model. They offer a set of insurance options according to the individual’s needs. They also make use of modern technologies to streamline the enrollment process and assist members to gain the most out of their health plans. Ambetter has also come up with an online portal that is powered by virtual assistant, where consumers can navigate the experience of enrolling in and using their health policies. This helps to proffer customers with personalized, stepwise, online guidance to make the enrollment process effortless.

Optimize for organic search but don’t forget relevance

Organic search is key to customer being able to find you. Why? Because most customers today go online and type their needs in a search bar on their phone or their laptop. So, insurance companies need to optimize their website and non-gated content for non-branded keywords. This means optimizing for generic keywords such as “fsa vs has”, “renters insurance”, and “pet insurance”. Given ValuePenguin’s motive is to promote financial decision-making information, they’ve also optimized for keywords like “uber credit card” and “best rewards credit card”.

organic keywords rankings stats

Fig 1 - Organic keyword rankings and traffic share distribution between Lemonade, ValuePenguin, and Ambetter, for top 10 keywords, as shown by SimilarWeb

Of the 3 companies we’re analyzing, both Lemonade and ValuePenguin have done a good job at this. For ValuePenguin, even though this has translated into a great degree of organic search traffic (as seen in Fig 2 below), it has also shown poor website engagement, with the lowest visit duration and pages per visit, and highest bounce rate, among the 3 (as seen in Fig 8, below). On the other hand, Lemonade has been able to bank upon the few keywords it has done good with, and keep a high website engagement by focusing on relevance.

search traffic stats

Fig 2 – Search traffic distribution between Lemodane, ValuePenguin, and Ambetter, as seen via SimilarWeb

Get Creative with Social Media Channels

When thinking about social media channels, most businesses tend to limit themselves to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and sometimes Linkedin. However, those are just the tip-of-the-iceberg. There is a huge amount of potential that social media channels can bring to insurance companies when taking their offerings direct-to-customers.

social media traffic distribution

Fig 3 - The distribution of social media traffic between Lemonade, ValuePenguin, and Ambetter, as seen via SimilarWeb

For instance, Lemonade and Ambetter have been getting a good amount of traffic by tapping into Youtube. Further, they’ve also been tapping into Reddit and that shows in their traffic breakdown (in Fig 3, above).

Invest in search and display ads

Getting all the juice out of organic marketing is necessary. But it’s as important to invest in paid marketing channels as it is in organic channels. Some common paid marketing channels to start with include search (pay-per-click) ads on search engines like Google, and display ads on third-party platforms.

Of the 3 insurance companies we’re analyzing, Lemonade has been able to nail this the best, with the highest share of traffic from search, as well as display ads.

search ads traffic

Fig 4 - Traffic share from search ads, for Lemonade, ValuePenguin, and Ambetter, as seen via SimilarWeb

display ads traffic

Fig 5 - Traffic share from display ads, for Lemonade, ValuePenguin, and Ambetter, as seen via SimilarWeb

We’ve done a similar analysis of the CPG industries and highlighted how brands like McCormick, Hershey’s Betty Crocker, Campbells, and Kraft Recipes can take their customer experience to the next level, with our blog. Check it out today.

Bonus

Some additional points to keep in mind:

  • Have a mobile-friendly digital presence. All the 3 insurance companies receive more than half their traffic from mobile devices.
  • traffic distribution by device

    Fig 6 – Device distribution of traffic, for Lemonade, ValuePenguin, and Ambetter, as seen via SimilarWeb

  • The more the direct digital traffic, the better the website engagement. Ambetter has the highest direct traffic, of the 3 companies, and results in a higher visit duration and pager per visit, as well as the lowest bounce rate of the three.
  • marketing channels overview

    Fig 7 – Marketing channels and share of traffic for Lemonade, ValuePenguin, and Ambetter, as seen via SimilarWeb

    website performance statistics

    Fig 8 – Website performance statistics for Lemonade, ValuePenguin, and Ambetter, as seen via SimilarWeb

  • Invest in a Digital Experience Management (DXP) platform. Of the 3 insurance companies analyzed, two rely on digital experience platforms such as Drupal and Adobe Experience Manager for their digital presence.

website technologies companies

Fig 9 – Website technologies being used by Lemonade, ValuePenguin, and Ambetter, as seen via SimilarWeb

Incorporating D2C in Insurance Industry Key to Continued Success

Further advances in technologies, customer demands, and digital trends in the coming years will lead to massive transformation in the D2C Insurance industry. What traditional insurance firms can learn from these digital challengers, and how they make changes to innovate and become customer-centric will be the cornerstone of not just continued success but also continued relevance in the market.

Altudo believes that an advanced customer experience platform modernizes your insurance distribution channels and go-to-market strategy. Learn how you can strengthen the core of your insurance company Altudo Customer Experience Services. Reach out to us today at marketing@altudo.co to get in touch with our insurance industry experts.

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Benchmarking CX for Your Business
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Prakash Jha Director, Sales | Altudo


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