Response Times in Insurance Is Low

Way back in 1996, a report by Claes Fornell revealed that customer satisfaction for the insurance company was lower compared to other industries.

Fast forward, 15 years on and the insurance industry still suffers from low CX satisfaction rates.

In fact, an article on CMSWire states,

customer service is the most important driver of CX, but a little more than half (56 per cent) of life insurance customers say they get the help they need, and sometimes insurers rely too much on technology.” 


As the insurance industry faces the challenge of servicing millennials and Gen Z, which will soon be the groups with the largest buying power, there is very little tolerance for slow or inadequate response times. This is the age of instant gratification with fierce business competition as companies from all industries are scrambling to make use of artificial intelligence tools and messaging to reach their target base. Any insurance company that does not step up its response time game is set to lose business fast. 


What Does Customer Service Response Time Mean for the Insurance Industry? 


Just like other businesses, the insurance industry is undergoing rapid changes in customer behavior and expectations. Customers are literally shopping for the best insurance deals using comparison sites and looking for instant responses to their queries. 


Imagine this scenario: 


A customer wants to buy a health insurance policy and checks for the best deal on a comparison site. They like three deals from three different companies. They visit the website of all three and send out a query either on live chat or through the contact form. 

One of them is you. Your agent receives the query but decides to answer the next day because he’s about to clock out in 10 minutes, plus he doesn’t have access to the new discount deal anyways, so it’s best he replies tomorrow. 


At the same time, the agent of another company responds instant to the customer’s query and also gets them to sign up for the policy after taking the conversation from email to the phone. The agent of that company is about to clock out too, but because he knows his delayed response time will result in a poor email response time average affecting his and his team’s performance, he gives it another 15 minutes and closes the lead. 


The customer is happy and shares this insurance company’s details with their friend. Through sheer word-of-mouth marketing, the company makes five more happy customers. 


All while your company is trying to figure out why you’re not meeting your sales target. 


If you’re not implementing a strong email response time, chat response time, or service response time (multiple terms with the same meaning), you’re losing business in millions. 


What is the Ideal Email Response Time for the Insurance Industry? 


Like any other business, the ideal email response time is under 12 hours.


However, in the age of instant gratification though, the ideal response time to a lead email should not be later than an hour on email. And on chat, it should not be less than five minutes. 


But wait. Before you start pushing your agents to reply to all emails instantly, you must create response time benchmarks that take into account your current agent capacity, query load, and any existing challenge. 

How Do You Get Started With Implementing Response Time Benchmarks? 


The easy answer would be to buy an email response tool or perhaps a sales intelligence tool and begin implementing it in your workplace. 


But tools alone are not the solution to a problem, least of all to a process problem that affects revenue, employee motivation, and customer satisfaction. 


So, how do you get started? 


Here are five steps we recommend to customers. 


  • Start by Identifying Current Bottlenecks and Challenges 


When companies do the math, they understandably have a knee-jerk reaction to slow response times. They begin setting new goals, investing in new tools, hiring new talent, ad nauseum. 


In all of this, they miss out on a key step – that is conducting an in-depth analysis of some key challenges such as: 


  • The number of queries handled per agent per hour. 
  • The complexity of the query and total time to respond to gather relevant information to respond to queries. 
  • Availability of knowledge base for agents to access to respond. 
  • The time it takes for an agent to reach out to other stakeholders to provide information. 
  • The performance motivation of each employee. 
  • Any existing incentive for employee motivation. 
  • Any existing technology challenge. 


Once you’ve identified these (and possibly many more) challenges, the next step is to start creating policies and set benchmarks. 


  • Create Policy Frameworks 


Armed with informed data you can start creating policy frameworks and communicate the same to your team. 


We’ve created in-depth policy templates that you can access and use for free. 

It’s with this policy that you can then move into the next part – which is creating response time goals and identifying the technology stack that can help you achieve these goals. 

  • Investing in the Right Response Time Tool 


Whether it’s on chat, email, or call, you’ll need to invest in the right tool to help you measure the performance and response time of your agents. 


If your insurance company’s main communication model is email, then you’ll need an email analytics and response time measurements tool like timetoreply that allows you to measure your sales agents, CS agents, and business development agents’ response time to lead queries, customer complaints or any other interaction. 


If your insurance company’s main communication is on call or chat, you might want to invest in Freshdesk or Zendesk. 


We’ve covered the difference between timetoreply vs Freshdesk vs Zendesk here. 


  • Monitoring Success & Improvising As You Go 


The change will not happen overnight. It might be six months to a year before you see visible results in terms of increased sales, higher closing rates, and higher performance metrics. 


This is why the goal is not instant change. Rather, the goal is learning, improvising, and reaching closer to the ideal response time as you go. 


As mentioned, the tools you use will help you & your team develop a data-driven mindset. It will make it easy for you to motivate, promote, and incentivize the right members of your team, and most importantly help give you transparency without compromising on privacy. 




Speed is an essential factor in your insurance service standards. However, speed can only be achieved if you have transparent data. Simply aiming to shoot a dart in the dark will leave you and your team bewildered. But, with the right combination of tools, processes, and talents – your insurance service is bound to take a quantum leap into the future! 


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Follow these five steps and you'll get visibility into your teams' email performance, understand your current response times and email volumes, be able to set KPIs, identify areas for improvement, set alerts to ensure nothing slips through the cracks and more!

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