‘Over my Dead Body’ - was the highest rated show aired by Dutch public broadcaster. It followed the lives of five terminally ill young people and created both controversy and debate when it went on air. ‘Over My Dead Body’ set out to break through the one last taboo still existing among young people, by confronting the facts of life and death openly. As the taboo surrounding death slowly fades, people are looking differently at their own funeral and want to have more choice in the matter. This has led to an extension of the funeral experience cycle. Previously, the focus was on the bereaved (the Arranging and Aftercare phases), now there is a bigger focus on the earlier Orientation and Choose phases, where people can be helped to arrange their own funeral.
Insurance companies have missed the point – Again!! Traditional insurance companies active in the funeral market often only offer commoditised financial products to cover the funeral costs or income risks. Unfortunately, these products fulfil a mere fraction of the needs in the entire experience surrounding someone’s death. Insurance websites include bog standard information about premiums and coverage but fail to answer the real questions consumers have, such as “What should I arrange beforehand?”, “What are all the options I can choose from?” and “How much will a funeral cost?” This gap in the market is being addressed by the rise of so called Funeral ‘in kind’ insurers. These ‘in kind’ insurers, insure and arrange for the actual funeral. Thus when the policyholder dies, the insurer not only bears the expenses but takes care of the funeral arrangements as well – as against ordinary funeral expense insurance, where an amount is paid out and the beneficiary is responsible for making funeral arrangements. It is little wonder that the larger insurers are falling behind in the market as they fail to fulfil customer needs. Is this market dead for regular insurers? Insurance companies wishing to secure a place in the funeral market should offer an experience in addition to their low interest and commoditised products. Recently, Capgemini helped the largest Dutch insurer to live up to their brand promise to take away all your worries by guiding them through three stages: • Build a business case and identify customer needs through segmentation and the customer experience cycle. • Determine the customer experience you want to offer • Select partners and deliver on the promise Together with Capgemini, the insurer developed a new ‘When I’m not around anymore’ concept, which included a new internet portal and a helpdesk to guide people about funeral choices, required arrangements, extra services, registration of wishes and 24 hour support. Death and Funeral are difficult topics, and customers prefer to pace themselves rather than be pushed into buying a product from an ‘insurance salesman’ We strongly believe that if most insurers were to take a good look at the customer experience in the funeral market, they would realise that they are only fulfilling a fraction of customer needs. To compete against the ‘in kind’ insurers, Insurers need to look at the entire customer experience lifecycle, identify real needs and choose which needs to fulfil in order to still be relevant to your customers. While we recognise that this is a difficult topic, we would like to know: what would you expect from your insurer in terms of your funeral?