With over twenty brands, Achmea is one of the leaders in insurance in the Dutch market. In that respect, it’s not surprising that they’re also leaders when it comes to using AI in insurance. Even for Achmea, this use of AI is still very early days. They do see the value of it, both when it comes to improving their ROI, but also to improve their brand in terms of image and perception.

Centraal Beheer as service provider 

As part of their strategy, Centraal Beheer is in the process of a transformation. The goal for this specific company in the Achmea holding is to turn it into a service provider. One of their business challenges in realizing this is to transform themselves into a company that you want to have as a personal assistant. In other words, customer engagement is high on the list of priorities of Centraal Beheer.

At the end of the day, it’s all about “personalizing insurance,” according to Dijkstra and Van Tilbeurgh Not only to check if your insurance is still valid, but also to determine which one you need for your specific use case. Another example is usage-based insurance, where your premium is linked to how you behave yourself while driving.

“This type of hyper personalization is possible nowadays thanks to data,” they claim, and, more importantly, the analysis of this data. In order for data to be used in practice, however, it should be available in realtime. If that’s not the case, you can’t be sure that the insurance that’s recommended by the decision engine actually fits the customer.

A realtime availability of the data to Centraal Beheer, and therefore realtime advice to customers, makes it possible to have the most personal and relevant engagement with them.

Dynamic Customer Dialogue

One thing to take into account, according to Dijkstra and Van Tilbeurgh, is that “customers aren’t interested in talking about business processes.” So you should never bother them with having to switch channels during a process for example: “all the dialogue needs to be in one place.”   

In order to achieve a proper omnichannel engagement with their customers, Dijkstra and Van Tilbeurgh, together with others started to work on a project called Dynamic Customer Dialogue. Before they started this project, everything they did was siloed in specific channels: “the experience when you called was completely different from when you visited the website.” That had to change in order for them to achieve their goals.

Start with most popular channels

Obviously, you can’t go from siloed to complete omnichannel overnight, so Centraal Beheer started personalizing the website, using the Pega Customer Decision Hub. Starting with the website made a lot of sense, as it's one of the primary means of contact with customers. In order to have the best return on investment, starting with one of the most popular channels is the smart thing to do. 

Crucially, however, they didn’t start with the siloes in the backend, but with the customer-facing part. This really helps get the product owner on-board, as it doesn’t have an impact on the backend. It also reduces the risk on the organization as a whole. You don’t run the risk of messing things up in the backend.

As soon as a customer visits the Centeraal Beheer website and is in the orientation phase for car insurance for example, a realtime next-best-action is created, based on all the data Centraal Beheer has of the customer. Of the several recommendations, one is selected. This selection can be done by a business analyst, but also by built-in Pega Intelligence.

The impact of this (hyper-)personalization has been significant for Centraal Beheer. In general, sales has increased by 27 percent. They’re still in the early stages of project Dynamic Customer Dialogue, so this approach isn’t always successful. If that happens, they analyze and optimize the process.

After the website, they’re now looking at other popular channels to personalize, like giving customers a personalized Interactive Voice Recording (IVR), for example. These IVR’s can be quite annoying if you have to go through a lengthy menu to get the answers you are looking for. Personalizing them takes a substantial amount of that frustration out of this process. Based on the data Centraal Beheer has on you, it probably already has a good idea about why you call. 

Move towards omnichannel

The goal for Centraal Beheer, however, isn’t improving the separate processes, but to develop a proper omnichannel approach. As such, they’re working on sharing information between the two most popular channels, the website and the call center. When a customer wants to cancel, and they use the website to do that, they have to give a reason why. At the next step, they have the customer call them, obviously sharing the reason for cancelling with the agent, and suggesting next-best-actions. 41 percent of their customers actually changed channels during the cancellation process. Of that 41 percent, 85 percent eventually didn’t cancel. 

When it comes to outbound marketing, an omnichannel approach can help improve efficiency a lot as well. Centraal Beheer is working on feeding interactions with customers into the various marketing channels (including e-mail campaigns) and the recommendation engine. Every night, next-best-actions are scheduled for every customer. In this way, Centraal Beheer has automated its outbound marketing, giving every customer the best offer via the channel of their choice. 

Central brain 

In order for examples like the ones given above to succeed, it is very important to have one central brain that connects the various channels. This is true from a technological standpoint, but also from an organizational one. You need the channel owners on board to realize a transformation like this.

In order to get as many people on board as possible, Centraal Beheer has a dedicated customer engagement team in place. “Personalization should be in the DNA of your organization,” as Dijkstra and Van Tilbeurgh put it. This team gives workshops internally to stakeholders. One of those workshops is specifically designed to help people understand that there is more than e-mail when it comes to marketing. What are the possibilities of other channels?

Use cases drive personalization

Workshops are a good way to explain what is possible when customer engagement is higher on the list of priorities. Getting the business on board, however, requires more than workshops alone. “Use cases drive your personalization roadmap: that’s the only way to get the business on board,” as Dijkstra and Van Tilbeurgh note. That makes it a team effort, with everyone invested in the project. The marketeer comes up with a general use case. The business team personalizes it for the specific customers, and checks if more data is needed to be able to go live. Finally, there’s a feedback loop, in order to continuously improve the customer journey. 

Even though AI in insurance is very early days, it already plays a significant role in this process, with the Pega Customer Decision Hub acting as the brain. It helps the marketing automation team making the link between business and IT, without having to completely overhaul the back-end systems. As an organization Centraal Beheer can focus primarily on their customers, ensuring that their next-best-actions are right on the money, both for the customer and Centraal Beheer.

See the entire session from Centraal Beheer here