Engineering Financial Wellness

For insurers, trying to improve customer experience often involves engineering a consistent brand message that engages consumers. Novarica’s recent report CX Technology in Insurance outlines the many tools insurers can deploy in order to accomplish this. The diversity of solution options, however, can make it challenging to organize their deployment in a consistent, systematic manner.

My colleague Nancy Casbarro’s recent blog post provides a nice example of how these tools might be orchestrated. As she described, over the past few years, consumers have seen the proliferation of “financial wellness” programs. The term “financial wellness” has become a buzzword, describing with varying degrees of specificity how secure one feels in their household finances.

Financial wellness has become an engaging concept for consumers due to the fragility of many Americans’ personal or household finances—fragility rooted in spiraling student loan debt, lack of home equity, lack of substantial retirement investments, and, most recently, pandemic uncertainty.

This concept derived from programs promoted by retirement services and retail banks over the last decade, and insurers have now started to jump on the bandwagon. The idea of financial wellness comes through to insurance in three ways:

  • Financial wellness as a selling point for insurers to market their products. This is a traditional way to talk about many insurance products, especially life/annuities. Guardian Life and MassMutual have both developed demand-generation-oriented content around the role of life insurance in financial wellness.
  • Financial wellness as a product in the group benefits space. Carriers can partner with employers to provide, or broker, a holistic program centered around employee financial wellness. Employees might be provided with a digital portal bringing together educational content, calculators, and personalized dashboards showing their investments, insurance, and other financial indicators. Examples include Workplace Financial Wellness by Principal or WellnessPATH from Lincoln.
  • Financial wellness as a unifying brand experience designed to engage customers directly. These consumers do not necessarily have to be employees participating in a group plan; they can be regular insurance customers who look to the insurer’s brand to provide (or broker) the products needed to achieve financial wellness and help consumers reach their goals. Examples of this sort of experience design include LINK by Prudential and PlanSmart from MetLife.

The tools in an insurer’s CX tech and MarTech stacks can be deployed and orchestrated in varying ways to engineer and promote these financial wellness programs. Some examples of this include:

  • Insurers need to keep their financial wellness offerings singularly branded and not just a collection of products. Digital analytics can measure interaction with branded content. CRM can store preferences and orchestrate activity. Good content management in a digital asset management platform can insure brand consistency.
  • CX engineering platforms are the ultimate way to personalize experiences around a consumer’s needs and goals. This will provide the AI/data/recommendations to provide real value within the financial wellness experience. Digital marketing platforms with good segment targeting can be used to promote the experience and prepare consumers to be engaged.
  • Survey tools and social media monitoring platforms can be deployed to see how well the financial wellness message or program is being received. Favorability with the brand can be correlated with engagement in the platform, and “financial wellness” might be a verbatim scanned on social media.

Wealth management firms and retail banks have a head start in this space, sell products that occupy more of the financial wellness spectrum, and have already deployed many of the technologies described above. But by investing in and mustering these technologies, insurers can promote their own programs and products, and start to take their own share of the market around financial wellness.

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