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Insurers fail to deliver on expectations created – Social media assessment results

South African insurers have struggled to keep up with increased customer demands during the Covid-19 crisis. This was one of the take outs of an assessment of the South African insurance industry by BrandsEye during the lockdown. The assessment was based on an analysis of social media feedback about SA insurers during the pandemic. For the period of 10 May to 9 June 2020, BrandsEye retrieved 9 346 public social media mentions about five South African insurers.

“Covid-19 exacerbated entrenched service issues such as turnaround and resolution time as insurers struggled to keep up with the demand, specifically with regards to claims. Despite some initial positivity around proposed debt relief measures, Covid-19 conversation exposed weaknesses among insurers relief offerings which customers felt were better in theory than in practice,” Brandseye noted.

Here are some of the take-outs:

Industry Net Sentiment improved in response to Covid-19 CSI campaigns and sponsorships
Covid-19 relief was well received in theory, but customers were disappointed with the application
Charge disputes comprised 8.4% of Covid-19 complaints, e.g. customers struggled to get clear communication from their insurers.
Insurers struggled to keep up with Covid-19 related claims
14.8% of market conduct mentions accused insurers of unethical behaviour

“Delivering responsive digital customer service is vital for insurers to grow customer satisfaction and reduce churn. Insurers must prioritise digital channels, like social media, as platforms for interactions and complaints resolution with clients – and not simply for marketing purposes,” Brandseye advises.

The analysis of the data and recommendations highlights the importance of a proper complaints’ management framework. The recently amended GCoC stresses this fact. The amendments to the GCoC also provide detailed guidelines with regards to communication with the complainant during this process, thereby adhering to the demands of “treating customers fairly” outcomes and refining the key steps: “A provider must ensure that its complaint processes and procedures are transparent, visible and accessible through channels that are appropriate to the provider’s clients.

One must, in fairness, take into account the turmoil created by Lockdown Regulations, with most people working from home, and what was required to establish off-premises work stations. On the other hand, negative reactions to failure to pay claims for business interruption, whether justified or, has reached unprecedented heights, and will continue to affect these ratings negatively.

Click here to read more about the Brandseye research.

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