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Key Lessons to Learn from Legal & General's American Expansion

Legal & General is a stalwart in the U.K.’s life insurance industry. They now have their sights set on the American market. Legal & General is looking to leverage what they’ve learned through their success in the UK and market trends they’ve seen, to improve on their market position in the United States.

The keys to their success echo themes Equisoft has seen playing out across leading companies over the past few years. The most successful life insurers we deal with on a daily basis have made streamlining all facets of the buying process a critical priority in support of increasing client engagement. They have expanded the scope of client interactions beyond the discovery and quoting phase and found ways to create meaningful experiences in a regular rhythm. And it’s all underpinned by smart strategy and strong, forward-focused technology. It’s about the right investments in the right moments to carry companies more quickly into their digital futures.

Legal & General’s triumph in the UK market and their already sizable market position in the United States owes a lot to those core principles. Here’s what Morgan Spillane - Legal & General’s Chief Technology and Data Officer of the Retail Division, shared with Life Accelerated host Anthony O’Donnell:

1. The importance of a streamlined online buying process

One important aspect of Legal & General’s growth is their focus on streamlining the online buying process. A streamlined online buying process can provide several benefits for both customers and insurers.

The importance of the online buying process should be taken into consideration when designing the customer journey Spillane explains how L&G sells 99.99% of all their products online, stressing the importance of creating a seamless customer journey in order to facilitate the buying experience.

You have to empathize with the situation in which customers are buying the product and cater to their level of understanding and familiarity with the products. This is also where the importance of straight-through processing is stressed, as Spillane highlights that around 80% of L&G customers can purchase a life insurance product within 5 minutes.

Here’s Morgan Spillane on L&G’s strategy to meet the needs of customers in their markets:

“These digital interactions, whether it's with our business customers or consumers, it's very important that we constantly tune those journeys, to make sure that they are fit for purpose. And, and the best way to do that is ongoing and regular dialogues with consumers…and constantly scan the market and see what others are doing.”

2. Price agility is a competitive advantage

L&G has won over the U.K. market and was already named the 28th largest life insurer in the U.S. as of 2019. One of the reasons they have been able to grow so successfully in the U.K. has been price agility.

Price agility refers to the ability of a company to quickly and easily adjust their prices in response to changes in the market or other factors. For life insurers, this can be a valuable tool as it allows them to remain competitive and attract customers.

“In very simple terms, when you hold the high-ground, as we do, given our position in the market. It's not really in our interests to move market prices, but where our competitors do, if they do it in the morning, we will typically spot that by lunchtime and we will react by close of play on the same day.”

Morgan Spillane, CIO, Legal & General Retail Division

At L&G, this doesn’t require extensive resource allocation or putting a large team together. They’ve built configurable tools that allow pricing actuaries to simply react as they see fit.

3. Digital presence is becoming increasingly important

Spillane discusses how there has been a push in the UK life insurance industry to interact more regularly with customers. This trend is driven by, not only strong U.K. client-supporting regulations but also the increasing importance of creating a digital presence for customers to interact with.

In today's digital world, customers expect to be able to access information and services online, and life insurers that do not have a strong digital presence may struggle to compete with those that do. However, given the nature of the product, there are very few natural customer touchpoints.

During the interview with O’Donnell, Morgan explains:

“It's fair to say that there's been a big push in the UK industry to interact more regularly with life customers. Historically and not surprising – the only contact is at the point of quote and dare I say, when the customer dies. Which might seem strange, but that is the nature of the product.”

Morgan explains the importance of more frequent communication as a way to keep in check with UK regulations as well as inform more vulnerable customers: “At least every couple of years, we should reach out to our customers and remind them what products they've bought from us, why they bought it, and make sure that the product is still relevant to their needs. Because needs change over time.”

There you have it- 3 lessons learned in Morgan Spillane and Legal & General’s transition to the United States life insurance markets.

As technology continues to evolve, digitalization is no longer a nice-to-have, but an essential in order to remain competitive in today’s market, whether that’s the US, UK or anywhere else. As such, streamlining the online buying process to improve customer satisfaction and make the purchasing process faster and more efficient is becoming increasingly important.

Tune into Morgan’s conversation on Life Accelerated wherever you listen to your podcasts.

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