By Angus MacCaull

Ask a handful of insurance professionals about customer engagement and they’ll likely admit it’s on their minds. As an industry we’re trying to create more touchpoints with people beyond the yearly renewal.

Last month on an industry podcast, Coverager founder Shefi Ben-Hutta offered a different perspective.

“There is no such thing as customer engagement in insurance,” said Ben-Hutta. “I wouldn’t solve for customer engagement. I would solve for pricing, offer a better price.”

This perspective may have some truth. At the very least, a lot of recent customer engagement efforts through newsletters or smartphone apps have fallen flat. People don’t want to deal with insurance issues day-to-day. Insurance is often a grudge purchase that only takes place because the government or the bank makes it a requirement to get on the road or get a mortgage. Unless you’re an insurance nerd, it’s no fun to think about it. It’s no fun to talk about it. The only time anyone seems to care is when they can get it cheaper.

But I do think that customer engagement exists in insurance. In our broker model we call it building community.

Collage of folks at AA Munro Insurance

Community is at the heart of how we understand the insurance value proposition. A group protects the individual risks of its members. Without community, insurance can become an empty promise. Why pay for claims if you don’t value the collective good?

When we do customer engagement, we don’t reach out to people primarily to talk about insurance. We don’t even reach out primarily to talk about their cars or their homes. What’s really important is the roads and the neighbourhoods around the things we insure.

Are the kids in the parade this year? Is the local team having fun? How’s the breakfast program going at the school?

These are the kinds of touchpoints that make a difference in insurance. Maybe they happen online. Maybe they happen offline. I don’t see our challenge simply as a matter of having more of them. We need to listen closely and make the right ones—the ones that show we care.