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Identity Resolution and Your Unified Insurance Customer Profile

, | January 26, 2023 | By

by Darwin Castro – 

You hear phrases like “Single view of the customer,” “360-degree customer view,” “Unified customer view,” and you from the Insurance marketing team, or the customer service team, or the sales team would roll your eyes and mutter to yourself “here we go again.” I get it – the hype has largely failed to deliver on the promises of the buzz words and the significant amount of money and time invested.

But take heart – today’s technology of the Customer Data Platform (CDP) is real and can actually deliver on the “Customer Identity” (yes, another catchphrase for it), and the “Holy Grail” is now within reach.

The Problem

Insurance companies face the challenge of combining the multiple instances of a customer across the many touchpoints into a single version that all systems and reporting can use for analysis.

A typical customer will engage through various devices such as a mobile, tablet, laptop, or personal computer (PC) with a range of logged-in information from anonymous to partial profile to a complete profile.  To complicate it even more, there are different channels of email, call centers, in-person agency, and social media, and video sharing platforms to track the single instance of the customer. Throughout the experience, the customer may forget their ID/Password and set up multiple instances of themselves, as they cannot remember their login.

This leaves insurance companies with the dilemma of trying to piece together the identity jigsaw puzzle using fragmented data collected along the customer journey from systems with different levels of data fidelity.  As you can imagine, this makes it nearly impossible to identify the customer from the patchwork of touch points– that is, until the advent of Customer Data Platform technology capabilities.

What is Identity Resolution?

Identity Resolution is the technology-enabled process of collecting unique identifiers at every touchpoint, matching those identifiers from other interactions, and building a customer’s singular profile, outlining each interaction with the insurance company.

An Example of Identity Resolution at Work

For our example, we will follow Oliver’s journey as he is looking to price new auto insurance due to the recent rate increase to understand the identity resolution process.

Oliver received a mobile alert from his current insurance company that his premium will increase at renewal and wants to see what other insurance companies would offer.  While on office lunch break, Oliver uses his mobile phone to visit Affordable Insurance’s website to start an auto insurance quote but does not register for an account yet. Because Oliver did not register, a new identity is created, storing all of his activities with a unique anonymous ID and mobile device ID.

Later in the day, Oliver downloads Affordable Insurance’s mobile app, registers, and logs-in with his email just before leaving the office. He re-enters the quote details and likes the price, so he purchases the auto policy.  Because Oliver did register, a new identity is created, storing all of his activities with the email ID and mobile device ID.

In the background, Affordable Insurance’s Customer Data Platform is gathering and comparing each interaction and looking for commonalities with every other interaction.  The platform matched the mobile ID between Oliver’s lunchtime interaction and just before leaving the office interaction.  As a result, the system added the interaction, ID, and details from the two interactions creating a single Oliver.  This resulted in a complete record enabling the first interaction to be combined with his first visit for reporting purposes.  Before CDP, Affordable Insurance would have created two Oliver’s – unregistered and registered, even though they are the same person.

Expanding on this – Oliver, having been impressed with the ease of transacting with Affordable Insurance and the lower premium, he is very interested in quoting his home insurance.  Oliver logs in using his ID from his home PC and completes a quote but closes the browser without completing this purchase.  Because Oliver used his ID, his identity is updated with all of his activities with the email ID and PC ID.

Like the first two events, CDP recognizes the new interaction is similar to the other two and creates a combined record of the events tied to the anonymous ID from the mobile device, the events when Oliver was logged-in to the mobile app, and those when he was logged in to the PC. In so doing, Affordable Insurance is building an understanding of Oliver’s experiences, preferences, and behaviors to better optimize subsequent interactions and tailor individualized solutions.

With CDP using Identify Resolution techniques, Oliver will have only one profile at Affordable Insurance, enabling a deeper understanding of his customer journey, comparing his experiences with other similar customers, developing targeted cross-sell marketing, and having a more accurate customer base.  Without CDP, there could have been three different Oliver’s depending on how the PC interaction is accounted, resulting in a less crisp customer experience analysis.

Identity Resolution Technical Components

Now that I have whetted your appetite to the possibilities that Identity Resolution offers let us take a quick technical detour and cover the components that enable Identity Resolution.

Data Onboarding –The process of transferring offline Client data to an online environment.

Identify Graph – A graph database that contains all known customer identifiers from every interaction. Some of the identifiers include email addresses, device IDs, account usernames, loyalty numbers, phone numbers, addresses, etc. The identifiers are collected passively through cookies, device IDs, etc., and actively through customer interaction from every device, channel, and platform engaged by the customer.

Gaining even greater insight, the Identify Graph can layer in financial, purchase history, demographic, and lifestyle data licensed from third-party service providers.  As each customer interaction is unique, so is the model for Identify Graphs.  Each Identity Resolution Tool uses a proprietary model, matching algorithms tailored to each customer’s use.

Persistent ID – All systems use a GUID generated by Identity Resolution to refer to the customer.  The Persistent ID is separated from the user ID and other identifiers allowing the user to change things such as the mobile device, but the Persistent ID and history remain intact.

Why is Identity Resolution Crucial for Your Business?

Having a unified customer profile is essential in empowering the multiple teams across your organization who use this information.

Marketing Team

Having a unified customer profile enables your Marketing team to understand each customer more uniquely, allowing for individually tailored engagements. The days of mailers with generic content are coming to an end very soon. Soon there will be tailored offerings based on customer’s preferences and delivered in a channel with the highest probability of catching your attention. In the example earlier where Oliver did not complete the PC’s home policy, marketing would have an individualized plan to send personalized offers to incent him to purchase the policy. The proposal would include known information such as the coverage options, limits, and multiple policy discounts from the quote and include multiple other options based on his profile he may purchase.  Using his profile, the message is delivered when Oliver is projected to be on his phone or PC to increase purchase chances.

Identity Resolution empowers the marketing team to measure return on ad spend (ROAS).  By tracking which users access the messaging, review, and later purchase, the ability to trace the purchase source increases, providing more apparent audience analytics.  Using this data enables the marketing team to increase the marketing impact and return on investment.

Customer Service/Sales

A unified view of the customer enables customer service to provide more personalized and pleasant interaction.  With the complete customer profile and information on the most recent interactions, the agent will quickly help the customer without repeating information and recognize the customer for their loyalty.  For example, I have frequent flyer status in one of the legacy airlines, and every time I call, I always feel good hearing an agent thank me for being a Platinum member at the start of the conversation. This sets the right tone and creates a valued message.

From a sales perspective, the sales messaging can be focused on products that the customer would be interested in and not ones that he has previously declined or does not fit the profile. For example, if the household view is established, the irritant of the spouse or children being offered products that are already provided through the household is nearly eliminated.  The ability to understand the customer and their relations unleashes robust data to increase sales.

Claims Team

The unified customer profile can be leveraged in claim processing to identify fraud opportunities by expanding the relationships.  Through scanning social media, Identity Resolution can build relationships between the claimant, other members of the claim, and even associations.   Through the relationship matrix, it may be possible to identify an individual with a history of fraud attempts, which would trigger a closer examination of the claim circumstances.

Everything now is about the customer.

Insurance companies must embrace the right technology to know everything they know about them, offer personalized customer experiences, optimize interactions, and increase conversion and retention. Customer Data Platform with Identity Resolution capabilities is an empowering technology that will help achieve all of these.