Property and casualty insurance companies in Canada are falling short of customer expectations for digital self-service tools, customer service channels and omni-channel integration. According to the inaugural J.D. Power 2019 Canada Insurance Digital Experience Report, released today, this lack of digital maturity on the part of P&C insurers leaves the door open to competition from alternative, digital native companies such as Amazon, Google and Uber. This article is copyright 2019 The Best Customer Guide.

"Today's P&C insurance customer expects their provider to deliver an efficient, seamless experience across multiple offline and digital channels," said Tom Super, Vice President Property and Casualty Insurance Intelligence at J.D. Power. "The insurance carriers we evaluated for this report show a visible presence when it comes to their digital offerings, but they are still severely lacking when it comes to meeting expectations of core insurance digital functionality."

The J.D. Power 2019 Canada Insurance Digital Experience Report evaluates digital consumer experiences among P&C insurance shoppers seeking quotes and existing customers conducting typical policy-servicing activities. The report examines the functional aspects of websites and mobile apps based on five factors (in order of importance): ease of navigation; appearance; key information; range of services; and clarity of information. The report was conducted in partnership with Centric Digital, the leader in digital intelligence, and includes Centric Digital's DIMENSIONS measurement of insurers' digital strengths, weaknesses and overall digital maturity.

Following are key findings of the 2019 report:

  • Digital offerings lack maturity
    Areas in which Canadian P&C insurance companies come up short in the eyes of their customers are digital self-service tools that often lack basic features such managing policies across product lines and customer services channels that are not fully integrated across different digital communications channels, such as text, web, social media, and email.
  • Many insurance customers open to idea of alternative providers
    One-third of all Canadian P&C insurance customers are open to the idea of getting insurance from digital native companies such as Amazon (35%) and Google (35%). Further, one in four say they would be open to switching their auto policies to an auto manufacturer (28%) or Uber (24%). Another 19% say they would consider insurance offered by Tesla.
  • More insurance customers using mobile apps
    Two-thirds (67%) of insurance customers say they used a mobile device or app for their most recent insurance transaction. Nearly one-third (30%) said they used their mobile device during their most recent auto insurance shopping experience, while 70% of mobile consumers use the channel to manage their existing policies, such as paying their bill or managing a claim.

"Canadian P&C insurers are on the right path," said Peter Smith, Chief Strategy Officer at Centric Digital. "They have made significant progress in web design but lack the industry-specific capabilities many US insurers offer. Additionally, many Canadian P&C insurers fail to create experiences that meet or exceed consumer expectations established in other industries. This report provides valuable insights to help insurers bridge this experiential divide."

The 2019 Canada Insurance Digital Experience Report is based on evaluations from almost 2,000 insurance shoppers who sought quotes via digital channels and existing insurance customers who conducted typical policy-servicing activities via digital channels within the past year. The report was fielded in May-June 2019.

Desjardins is the overall top performer in Centric Digital's digital capabilities evaluation. The carrier earned a score of 683 which is substantially higher than the industry average score of 503. Desjardins stands out across almost all categories with leading scores across customer service; messaging; social networks; user tools; and insurance-specific capabilities such as claims and account management.