(Image source: PURE homepage.)
Customer experience is a high priority for all insurers, but an effective CX can mean different things to different carriers. What is appropriate for a price sensitive mass consumer market may fall short for a carrier that markets to high-net-worth individuals and families. PURE Insurance (White Plains, N.Y.) provides high-value policies for home and other property lines of insurance aimed at just such a customer base. Last year, IIR had the opportunity to talk with Matthew Schreibeis, PURE’s SVP of Member Experience, on the occasion of the company’s launch of the PURE Mobile App last year. We reengaged recently to talk about CX more broadly from the perspective of a carrier with a specialized customer.
Insurance Innovation Reporter: Since PURE doesn’t serve the average consumer, I would imagine that your concept of customer experience must be different than, say, the average retail auto insurer. What’s special about PURE’s high-net-worth members when it comes to CX?
Matthew Schreibeis, SVP of Member Experience, PURE: The characteristics of our members are a bit different than a standard consumer. First, they often have many different assets to protect—usually several homes, several cars, and more complex needs. Second, they tend to be highly informed consumers in all aspects of their life and insurance is no different. We try to deliver an experience that speaks to them in a sophisticated way, addresses their multiple, complex needs and provides incremental advice and education.
IIR: CX is a hot topic because of constantly increased demand on the part of customers. What’s different about the demand of your customers, and how is that changing?
MS: One of our members told us a couple of years ago that he used to think of “luxury” as having somebody do something for him. Now he thinks of luxury as being able to do something himself, seamlessly in real time with no friction. A lot of that mentality kind of makes its way into to one of our two pillars when I think about member experience. The first is to serve members as efficiently as possible with our digital solutions and technology; the second is to create new sources of value for our PURE members.
These pillars guide how we continuously offer an extremely high standard of ease of doing business with us. We try to improve those common insurance interactions: paying a bill, getting your auto ID card, adding another driver to your policy, adding another item to your collection. And we strive to deliver that not only in digital fashion, but also a seamless, frictionless experience.
We’re constantly thinking about for the premiums they pay us, and how we can create more and more value for them. That allows us to think about things beyond traditional insurance interactions. We also have the connections and a unique corporate structure as a reciprocal insurer that helps us to deliver more value for them.
IIR: What does all this mean for your goals as Senior Vice President of Member Experience?
MS: I have three general goals as head of Member Experience. The first is around data and insights. We regularly gather interpret and promote feedback from our membership. We constantly listen to our members through different surveys, focus groups, and interviews, and we make sure we’re hearing what they’re asking from their insurance carrier and responding to their evolving needs. It’s my job to make sure that we’re not only listening, but also that we’re identifying trends behind what they’re saying. One of my tasks is then to communicate those insights to the rest of the organisation so that individuals in claims, risk management and underwriting can all react to those insights and make sure that we’re getting better and better.
My second goal as the head of member experience is to drive continuous improvement in common interactions we have with our members. It’s about how we remove friction and make it incredibly easy to do business with us for all of ou
r members’ core insurance needs.
The third area is more about big breakthrough ideas—how we can create new value for the membership. It includes the new initiatives we undertake, but also how do we approach ideation, testing new things, implementing them, driving adoption and bringing about a kind of step change.
IIR: We talked about the PURE Mobile App shortly after its launch last year. Let’s do a little catch-up on that by way of talking about how it addresses your priority to serve members as efficiently as possible with digital solutions.
MS: The PURE Mobile App is one of the ways that we are able to increase ease of doing business. It brings all of the digital tools from our member portal into an Apple- and Google-supported mobile app that Members can access with just a few taps of their finger. Adoption has been fast, with nearly 20 percent of the membership downloading the PURE mobile app since we launched it last year. It allows members to enjoy quick service for a range of experiences, such as accessing auto ID cards, going to Bill Pay and tracking their claims. With just a few taps, they can achieve all of those common types of interaction and stay connected with us as a company.
We’ve also been investing in more and more functionality since launch in response to member demand. On example is insurance ID cards. We were hearing from our Members that they were purchasing a new car and oftentimes were being asked to prove that they had insurance coverage before they drove the car off the lot. We now offer functionality within the app that lets members enter the VIN number of the new vehicle that they’re purchasing and generate a temporary auto ID card and secure coverage for the next 30 days. We’re able to give people the ability to prove that coverage while they’re at the dealership in a seamless, fast manner without having to try to call the broker or call us. Since the purchase is often occurs on Saturday, that can be challenging at times.
We have also added the ability to add more jewellery to a collections policy to the PURE Moble App. Our membership often purchases new pieces of jewellery, and now they can add them to a policy with just a few taps of taps in the app. The App lets them take a picture of it, upload the receipt from the item, and immediately get it added to your collections policy. That gives them peace of mind, so they can go about your day knowing that, if it the item were lost or damaged, it would be covered by us as well.
IIR: Who might you call out as a vendor partner PURE has worked with to develop the PURE Mobile App?
MS: We’ve worked with Invisr, a New York City-based low-code development shop, a smaller kind of tech company that has partnered with us for build of our member portal all the way back in 2016. They later partnered with us on the rebuild in 2019, and then they were our partner for the build of the mobile app. The build occurred throughout 2020.
IIR: PURE takes a “trust-based” approach to claims; could you explain what that means?
MS: In 2021, we introduced a new loss-adjustment process to resolve our simplest claims more quickly for our members. We call it trust-based adjusting to be able to pay small claims quicker and get members back on their way much faster than we have in the past.
Before this approach, when we had a loss, we were always reaching out to our member, making make sure we have the appropriate kind of valuation of the item. It was an attempt for us to make sure that we are connecting with our member, making sure that we had an agreed upon value and a detailed understanding of the loss. What we found is, by nature, the trust-based approach leans into the fact that we are allowing only the most responsible families into this club, when we go through our underwriting process. When a member has a loss, we are able to do the appropriate diligence on fraud and other detections from an AI perspective, and then move quickly past that, understand and hear what the member is telling us about the loss, trust them that they are providing the right information, and move forward with the actual claims payments and processing right away without needing to try to conduct a lot of research on the side or spending time going back and forth to get an appraisal, or other traditional steps for the claims process in most other companies.
Since we launched this new process, we’ve handled more than 500 claims using the new approach and were able to close them on average 63 days faster, with more than two-thirds of the claims closed within a week. We introduced this process for mysterious disappearance claims on our collections policies. For example, if a member loses a ring, we are now able to kind of get them paid and adjusted for that claim and under week two-thirds of the time.
IIR: What vendor partners do you use for addressing claims fraud?
MS: We have a few partners that we are using to help us with Claims fraud. For example, we’re currently piloting FRISS [Utrecht, Netherlands] on Auto and Auto Bodily Injury claims to detect fraud. The broader rollout and usage are still being determined. Another partner is G4S, which provides an investigation service. If our adjuster detects fraud, then G4S can assist us with the investigation.
IIR: How has the trust-based approach been received by members?
MS: The response has been great. By minimising kind of the overall disruption of the claims process, members are able to get on with their lives faster. We’ve seen an improvement in our survey feedback for those claims as well, with overall satisfaction has increasing. We’re currently looking at ways that we can expand this approach to a range of other claim types to make sure that we are adjusting them as efficiently and fast possible, with the appropriate kind of safeguards and processes for fraud and for compliance.
IIR: Let’s talk a little about the second pillar you mentioned: creating new sources of value for PURE’s members. What are some ways you’re doing that?
MS: One example is PURE Home Spotlight, a new digital solution that we created to help our members in the home buying process. The process of buying a new home starts well before you engage your insurance company for a quote on a new home. You’re doing a lot of research earlier, you’re looking at different homes. Thinking about what members go through, we saw an opportunity for us to help them to be more confident and more and better informed in the home buying process earlier on.
This tool allows a member to go to the Member Portal or the Mobile App, type in the address of a home that they are interested in buying, and within seconds we deliver a report to them about the property that includes up to 30 different data elements on risk characteristics, such as fire flood zones, hurricane, earthquake, earthquake ratings, etc. It gives them information on the claim history on the home, publicly filed permits on the home, and whether or not the home is likely to be insured by PURE or not—the overall insurability of a property. We provide this report to them free of charge. It’s been adopted by over 1,000 members, now, as a way to be more educated when they’re looking to purchase a new home.
IIR: So, while there’s an insurance dimension, the service adds value beyond that.
MS: Yes, and we think it could be a real game-changer. Too often, a Member enters into contract before they even understand that the home is exposed, for example, to wildfire because it’s a Colorado home. They may live in Chicago and just not even be aware of that hazard. This report will surface those kinds of issues if they exist. It will surface whether the member will need to buy flood insurance if you get this property, along with a range of other kinds of insights. It allows brokers to have those conversations earlier on, before member answers enters into contract as well—so it allows them to perform their advisory function better and eliminate some of the potential awkward conversations that happen with when a member is looking to buy a home that when haven’t really considered the insurance implications until really late in the process.
IIR: In an email exchange you mentioned Art Spotlight. Let’s talk about that
MS: Sure. Over one hundred thousand families that are members of PURE today, and over 2,000 of them have $1,000,000 or more in art that we insure. Those passionate art collectors are the group that were targeting with Art Spotlight. With this tool, you can simply text a contemporary artist to this number and we are able to run that artist against a massive database of clearing houses that allow us to instantaneously return back to you a perspective on that artist—their latest sales, how much their sales have been going for recently, whether they’re trending up or down in terms of value. Our members who go to big art fairs and are interested in exploring the purchase of new art from contemporary artists are able to get kind of that insight just on the go.
We have other services for them that layer in more personalized advice, but this is kind of a new tool that we’ve used big AI technology to create a little bit more value for our Members that are interested in art.
IIR: Did you partner with vendor to develop Art Spotlight?
MS: The AI Partner that we are using for the Art Spotlight is Wondeur [New York].
IIR: How are you helping customers in the more central problem of ensuring the right coverage.
MS: We’ve created the Advice Dashboard to help our members understand coverage options and to reinforce the advice that they’re getting from our broker partners. It compares an individual member’s account to the behavior and data of our collective membership to identify potential ways to strengthen that account. For example, we know that 83 percent of our members who purchase an excess policy purchase uninsured motorist coverage as well. So, if you are not one of those individuals purchasing that coverage, we can bubble up that insight to you and educate you on why uninsured motorist coverage can be important ,and why you might want to have a conversation with your broker about whether or not that’s right for you.
Another example is a rule that flags members that have $22,000 in jewellery coverage on their collection policy and, as such are very close to a credit protection credit for us—which can make the overall cost of their insurance come down well. If we know that you’re at $22,000 level and it’s been three years or more since you’ve added any item, we can reach out to you and let you know that if you purchased any jewellery during that period, first, it would be great to make sure that it’s we know about it so that you can be kind of properly insured for it, and also that it would likely kind of increase your overall collections policy to a place that would give you a credit.
The spirit behind the Advice Dashboard is how we use our understanding and knowledge and data internally for what this selection of 100,000 successful families are doing to surface up some of these insights, so that an individual may make a better decision. The dashboard is accessible for all of our members on the member portal as well to run these rules specific to their account and see what pieces of advice that we would offer for them—while helping to reinforce the advice that they’re getting from their broker.
IIR: How do the things we’ve talked about reflect PURE’s overall concept of the insurer/policyholder relationship?
MS: First, we like to say that the Members are the hero of our story here. Our members have incredible dedication to risk prevention and they have demonstrated incredible resiliency in a lot of our claims stories. So, we try to keep the member at the center of our story because it’s the actions that they do that help protect the membership at large, in all the loss prevention that that they do. It’s about how we can help to facilitate appropriate and preventative actions of this membership as a whole so that we can ensure that the membership thrives.
It layers into a second guiding thought that we have, which is that every single member interaction matters. At the same time, we believe we have to weigh the impact to the overall membership versus the individual member. We often think about how we delight the Member and all these kind of unique ways, but we also have to be conscious that the collective membership is the over sentiment that we’re trying to protect.
Another consideration important for our relationship with our Members is the recognition that empowered employees create these meaningful and personalised experiences. I talked a lot about some of the bigger initiatives that that I’m working on, but every single day our claims professionals and service teams are empowered to engage with our members in a deeper way than they could if they had a traditional insurance company—and are encouraged to make sure they are understanding who that member is listening very carefully with that member so that they can delight them and not just be kind of on to the next claim, on to the next phone call.
The final thing I’ll mention is that we recognize that this is an ongoing journey requiring a lot of continuous improvement. We need to keep at it, keep working on and be mindful that what constitutes a seamless digital experience today will quickly become an average or below average experience three months from now, six months from now, a year from now. We recognize there’s a lot of additional work that we need to do to make sure that we’re delivering on our members’ expectations.