Insurers that earn jeers from their customers are falling further behind the ones that earn cheers, according to customer experience advisory firm Watermark Consulting following an analysis of stock market returns for insurers that lead in customer experience versus those that lag behind. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

Watermark's Insurance Customer Experience (CX) ROI Study focused on model portfolios of the Top 5 ("Leaders") and Bottom 5 ("Laggards") publicly traded insurers in J.D. Power and Associates' annual Insurance Satisfaction Studies.

With nearly a decade of data examined, the study found that a portfolio of property-casualty insurers which excelled in customer satisfaction far outperformed the industry index (which, in turn, outperformed insurers with the weakest satisfaction). The Leaders generated average annual returns which were more than double that of the Laggards.

The results suggest insurers should consider investing more in their customer experience. For example, carriers that impress policyholders reap tangible rewards in the form of increased loyalty, greater wallet share, stronger word-of-mouth and a more competitive cost structure - all of which makes them more appealing and valuable in the eyes of the market.

"Insurers that lead in customer experience are rewarded handsomely by consumers and investors alike," explained Jon Picoult, Founder and Principal of Watermark Consulting. "What was most striking was that the margin of outperformance between the Leaders and Laggards has widened considerably over the past couple years. The competitive edge enjoyed by Insurance Customer Experience Leaders is not just real, it is strengthening."