Allstate's Customer-Centric Approach to Website Design

Kevin Rice
Insurance Experts' Forum, May 22, 2014

To meet customer expectations, website design requires a balance of art and science. In the insurance industry, our websites are not just competing with each other—we are also trying to live up to the expectations set by retailers, social media sites, news sites, and other online entities. And as if that wasn’t enough, websites now need to work across multiple contexts like tablets and touch screens. Times have certainly changed.

Also see: The New Customer Experience 

For Allstate, I have the privilege and responsibility of leading the technology teams that build and maintain our customer- and consumer-facing systems. These teams have an excellent partnership with our eBusiness marketing team, helping make key strategies come alive.

From my perspective, there are some key differences between how to approach consumer-facing websites and how to take on internal sites or traditional IT projects. One of the biggest things is that with consumer-facing websites, you have to update the user experience regularly. The work is never “done.” Work is really a cycle of measure, analyze, test, prototype, launch — then repeat. 

For example, we recently updated our online quoting tool. Using multiple layers of measurement to understand how people were interacting with our website. Through multiple rounds of research, we took steps to understand consumers’ behavioral and emotional needs in the quoting process, which told us what was working and what needed more focus.

Several mockups and prototypes were produced to discover what would help consumers the most. In this process we also engaged the knowledge of our agency force, asking them about consumers’ needs in the quoting process. One product of this collaboration was the creation of “what-if” scenarios that let customers, as they consider coverage options, choose certain events and see the potential net impact to their finances based on their coverage selections.

So, by combining website analysis and the input of our agency force, we ended up focusing less on the traditional sales process and more on the little things that consumers need to make decisions. The results were tools that enable customers to make educated, value-based decisions that meet their needs.

On this project, and in all of our work on consumer-facing websites, our goal is to create engaging and educational tools that build confidence and strengthen a customer’s relationship with Allstate. The key part of this strategy is aligning a customer’s digital conversations with what they’d expect from their local Allstate agent.

In preparing for this blog, I had a great conversation with Don Bordeau, our director of Online Sales & Service. When talking about online consumer interaction, he noted that our work is directly focused on engagement, not just the experience. All our applications must provide tools, resources and interaction points with a level of care, education and reassurance that exceeds consumer expectations and digital benchmarks. And, Don concluded, every visit online is a conversation with the Allstate brand, a brand we take very seriously, so we stay focused on making each and every conversation end with satisfaction and confidence.

I could not agree more. I hope you’ll share what you think matters most when designing consumer-facing websites.

Kevin Rice is Allstate's director of mobile, Internet and social technology. 

Readers are encouraged to respond to Kevin using the “Add Your Comments” box below.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

Comments (2)

Thanks for sharing this, Kevin. ...interesting read. I wondered if you and/or Don factored in any location information into customer interactions?

Posted by: tim b | May 27, 2014 12:14 PM

Report this Comment

Thanks for sharing this, Kevin. ...interesting read. I wondered if you and/or Don factored in any location information into customer interactions?

Posted by: tim b | May 27, 2014 12:13 PM

Report this Comment

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Blog Archive

Trends in P&C and L/H/A Policy Administration Systems

Novarica research shows that nearly 40 percent of P&C and life/health/annuity carriers are currently replacing or planning to replace a policy administration system.

Product Configurators: Moving Insurers toward Self-Sufficiency

Insurers may like a vendor’s full service model for updating policy content rules, but they don’t want to be held captive if the vendor doesn’t offer fast speed-to-market.

How Quote Data Can Deliver Powerful Business Insights

Quote data often is disregarded due to its volume, but properly managed can offer insights into product and pricing strategy, expense control, cross selling and upselling.

Insurers: Let's Be The Best

I don’t like when insurance companies are hectored by people inside or outside of the industry about how they aren’t innovative. Many insurers are leading the way in gleaning real results from emerging technology disciplines, including big data, analytics, mobile technology, and telematics.

6 Crucial Guidelines for Digital Insurers

Going digital isn’t just something that can be accomplished by decree. It takes finesse to keep everything in sync.

Top Stories in Property/Casualty

Novarica Commentaries are available to clients only, but we’ve posted direct links to some of the most important stories below.