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Consumers are pleased with the speed and simplicity of securing insurance through online providers. Digital insurance company Onlia is working to enhance customer service in additional ways, while working with the industry and Ontario regulators to increase innovation.iStockPhoto / Getty Images

Numerous technology advances have made it possible for fully digital, direct insurance providers like Onlia to bring innovation to the insurance marketplace.

Onlia has been operating in Ontario for close to two years and already is making an impact on the category – offering fast quotes, easy sign-ups and simple access to policies – responding to the needs of today’s digital customers.

“People are used to an on-demand experience, and for the insurance industry that means not having to wait a week for a quote or to be in a queue to get their coverage changed,” says Pieter Louter, Onlia’s CEO.

“They want the same instant gratification from insurance that they receive from online retail and streaming services – a few clicks and it should be done.”

Onlia recognizes that speed and convenience are big drivers of their customers’ satisfaction. At the same time, the company has intensified its focus on customer experience and expanded customer support services.

“We find that about 80 per cent of the needs of our customers are met because of how fast and easy the site is to navigate,” Mr. Louter says. “We have also taken steps to ensure we respond to those customers who need extra help along the way.”

For people who have questions or unique requirements that would benefit from more explanation, Onlia has a direct chat feature and an online customer support team. It has also recently added telephone services.

“Even in a digital environment, people sometimes need a human touch,” says Mr. Louter. “For that reason, we have recently added a call-in line for customers during business hours and a 24/7 claims-support response.”

When customers do reach out, it rarely slows down the process; for example, Onlia data analysis shows that, on average, customers wait four minutes to reach an agent over the phone and one minute via live chat.

According to Mr. Louter, having the opportunity to speak to an Onlia representative by phone is particularly important during the claims process. “No matter how big or small a car collision is, or how much water has flooded your basement, damage to personal property always has an impact and can be both scary and stressful. Having a person to talk to can make the difference between a positive or negative experience.”

We find that about 80 per cent of the needs of our customers are met because of how fast and easy the site is to navigate.

Pieter Louter
CEO of Onlia

Taking the next steps in customer support and transparency

“Amazing customer service! My first time with Onlia. The process is user-friendly and streamlined. What stood out the most to me is the amazing customer service. Professional yet personable.”

Bolstered by positive customer reviews, such as the one above from Trustpilot, Onlia continues to evolve and become even more customer-centric.

Onlia is also working with the Ontario Ministry of Finance and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) on an initiative to expand transparency and innovation in digital insurance.

“We’d like to see regulatory changes that encourage innovation and, ideally, digitize the end-to-end insurance experience,” Mr. Louter says. “We continue to work with FSRA to enact policies that are more fair, transparent and efficient for the end consumer and that empower companies to innovate using modern processes and technology.

“We believe that customers would benefit from all steps going paperless and, in the process, empowering customers to manage their own policies from start to finish.” This would involve expanding digital applications to allow onboarding, submitting a claim, virtual adjuster visits and removal of the 30-day notice of policy cancellation by registered mail.

“There is so much more that can be improved to create more transparency and services for customers to put them at the centre of their own insurance experience,” Mr. Louter says.

Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.