With May comes Disability Insurance Awareness Month (DIAM), a time for the industry to reinvest in consumer awareness of an often overlooked benefit. What happens though when we say goodbye to May and the dust has settled with new disability insurance customers? An important “so what” looms: the potential use of the product, and with it a test of those customers' understanding of how their policy actually works.
Agents, benefit brokers, carrier sales reps and employers are among those responsible for education during the sales process. This is no small task; there are nuances to each disability insurance contract that must be understood and clearly conveyed. With any number of variations between contracts, it’s no wonder they say “the devil is in the details.”
Let’s assume that the sales process was successful. If it’s a group benefit, the employer has shared the plan documents with their employees and updated their website. The new customer is now on board; in most scenarios the policy sits on the shelf until there’s a reason to use it.
Now let’s imagine there’s a triggering event. The customer is now a claimant dealing with the uncertainties of a disability. It's certainly a stressful time to add in another layer of complexity with reviewing policy terms and conditions. Factoring in the amount of time that has likely lapsed since they reviewed their policy, there’s a chance the customer has some misconceptions or confusion when they set out to file the claim.
The claim process is a pivotal point in the overall customer experience. It’s when the ultimate promise can be fulfilled – to provide protection when it’s needed most. The claimant must rely on the policy they purchased months or years prior, and if their understanding of the terms is inadequate or their expectations are inaccurate, they can be left feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. This is not the best way to deliver on the promise.
Claim time can be the ideal time to explain the benefits, walk through the claim process, set mutual expectations, and establish the appropriate relationship. Thinking beyond just the message of “why disability insurance”, let’s not miss the goal of educating the customer on the “how” – something that can make all the difference with the customer experience. After all, it’s the claimant who is the true customer, right?