How behavioural science can help insurers (a podcast with Ella Morrison)

Published on 21 July 2021

Welcome to Insurance Covered. In this episode we discuss the role behavioural science can and does have in the insurance industry. Our guest is Ella Morrison, Senior Behavioural Designer at Cowry Consulting.

We start by exploring what behavioural science is. "It's the study of human behaviour. It's made up of the different aspects, from cognitive psychology, social psychology, behavioural economics, neuroscience, but what it boils down to is understanding how humans make decisions and how we can use that to improve products, services, procedures, so that they're more in line with how we think". The idea that getting into the mind of the consumer, seeing their perspective can help you tailor a proposition to their specific needs and requirements, a strategy that has become increasingly popular in the last 10 years.  

Ella then gives some examples of how it works in a business environment. She explains the work Cowry Consulting do is working with private sector companies to develop their behavioural science capabilities internally. The idea of creating 'exceptional experiences' for both the end customer and employees. Fixing the user / customer journey, making sure that the products and the services that businesses are developing are actually in line with what motivates us and what appeals to us. 

We go on to look at it in the context of insurance. Ella explains Cowry Consulting have worked with a number of insurers to build their own behavioural science capabilities. She gives an example of working with Saga. "We worked with Saga in their contact centres, they were really struggling with customer retention. We needed to help the customer understand why their premiums are going up. Saga's client base is typically the older generation, so we needed to redesign the process to be user friendly and easier to understand, to prevent the customers feeling unsure and overwhelmed by the information they were being given.  we wanted to make sure that they fully understood why their premiums were changing and to help them guide them to the right policy for them. So we used behavioural science to redesign the conversation so that it was clearer and easier to process, the type of content and explain the policy details in a way that they could understand." Ella goes on to explain that it's crucial to change the process to meet the customers needs rather than make the customer change to fit the process. 

Finally, we briefly touch on what the future of behavioural science might look like in the next 10 years. Ella believes that we will see the behavioural sciences intertwining with data science which will result in both technological and psychological innovations, for example being able to have a fully bespoke and tailored 'nudge' for each customer depending on their own personal behaviours. Ella also suggests that behavioural design will become a key part of every business, ensuing that processes used are effective in meeting the needs of customers. 

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