Digital Body Language – Everything You Need To Know

Digital body language is online user behavior that can predict intent, indicate fraudulent behavior, and reveal nuances that are shaping customer experiences. More and more insurance leaders are prioritizing access to digital body language. Are you?

In this article, we uncover why digital body language is crucial for insurers, and what the landscape would look like if you could react to users in real-time. Let’s dig in.

What is Digital Body Language? 

Traditional body language is part of our everyday communication. It’s a sum of nonverbal gestures, like our eye movements, posture, facial expressions, and tone of voice. 

Digital body language is how we communicate behind our screens. In your workplace, you might hear digital body language between coworkers associated with Zoom calls, Slack messages, and email. 

Here, we’re talking about a ‘faceless’ digital body language that’s a bit more nuanced. 

Take, for instance, the way you interact with a website. You take more time scrolling through a web page that interests you; you might open a new tab or search feature to cross-reference something; you hesitate over a spot to re-read for clarification; and you hover your mouse over buttons you might click on. These are your digital body language cues. 

Similar to your traditional body language, your digital body language is instinctive, reactive, and packed with valuable information; so is your customer’s. 

When and Why Did Digital Body Language Become Important?

Imagine sitting down with a salesperson to fill out an application, but before you begin, they put on a blindfold, spin their chair backwards, and put on noise-canceling headphones.

I don’t know what sounds weirder: meeting in-person with a salesperson after 2020, or having them behave that way. 

But as strange as that sounds, this is the reality of engaging in business through the new ‘faceless’ internet, a market where we no longer do business face-to-face, but rather, behind a screen. 

Five years ago, an agent would sit down with a potential customer and offer a helping hand if they seemed confused. If the customer was excited, the agent might try to cross-sell another product. If they were displaying nervous cues, the agent would note a potential red flag and would initiate a more thorough questioning.

As insurance companies continue to move online for faster processing and better customer experiences, fraudulent activity is harder to detect. This, coupled with the rise in sophisticated digital fraudsters has combined to make life insurance fraud a $20 billion dollar challenge in the industry.

Digital body language became important the day insurance companies moved online. Our migration to digital experiences has ripped the rug out from insurance agents trained in reading behavioral cues to assess risk and close sales. 

When users engage with digital forms and online applications, they leave behind behavioral breadcrumbs from thousands of micro-expressions that tell an important story about their intent. Without access to these behavioral breadcrumbs, your agents might as well put on a blindfold, put on those noise-canceling headphones, and watch the competition swoop up your customers. 

What are the Alternatives? 

First-party intent data companies that use AI and machine learning to read and predict user behavior change the landscape for insurers. But what if an insurance company doesn’t want to invest in data collection software? Are they going to be left in the dust? 

Yes and no. 

Third-party data providers like Equifax, LexisNexis, and FICO can provide insurers with basic information. Plus, they tend to be cheaper on the front end. That said, they come with some big downfalls. Here are some of the main ones to consider. 

For starters, data from third parties sell to the masses, so your data points aren’t always relevant for your target market. This also means that your direct competitors could be making moves from the same pool of information since it’s not data you actually own.

Third-party data collection is also under a lot of scrutiny as consumers are becoming more aware of breaches in their privacy, and they’re pushing back. With lawsuits and changing legislation around user privacy, third-party data is less reliable. 

And finally, third-party data sets can only give you data that’s backward-facing. They can give you information about what a group of customers did and what happened as a retroactive outcome. While this can give your analytics team something to look at to guess the next moves, AI and machine learning technology can cut out the guesswork by analyzing the data for you and reacting as it’s happening. 

First-party intent companies like ForMotiv have ten times more behavioral data than existing solutions. They’ve developed a way to read a user’s digital body language by analyzing thousands of digital body language micro-expressions while a user fills out an online application. Where they move their mouse, how they type, if they hesitate on an answer and then change it, and hundreds of other behavioral features tell a story about that user’s intent and react to it. 

What was the Norm Before We Had This Technology?

Before digital body language technology, insurers relied on behavioral cues they read from in-person interactions.

Then when the landscape started moving online, marketers were stuck using tools like Google analytics and heat mapping. They’d track session replays to try and get an idea of what people did. It was a situation where analysts did the best they could with what they had. Unfortunately, similar to third-party data, it was all retroactive. 

What Impacts Can Digital Body Language Have On Insurers?

Digital body language insights change the game for insurers. With access to thousands of unique behavioral data points they never had before, insurance companies using AI technology can discover the root causes of their user’s actions, allowing them to understand their true motivation and intent with over 90% accuracy — more effective than when business was done face-to-face. 

Here’s exactly what digital body language insights can do for insurance. 

Optimize Accelerated Underwriting

To meet the demands of instantly gratified consumers, accelerated underwriting is the new norm. But companies who prioritize speed over accuracy risk a high impact on their fraud and loss ratio. Behavioral insights from AI and machine learning offer straight-through processing by predicting user intent, in real-time, to add or remove friction accordingly. 

Improve Risk & Fraud Models

With companies like ForMotiv, real-time risk signals or scoring can be consumed offline or real-time. Why do both? So insurers can dynamically intervene when an applicant is showing signs of risky behavior to allow further qualification of an applicant before approving their policy. 

Predict & Prevent Application Nondisclosure

A surprising number of applicants fudge their medical details. (Have you heard of “smokers’ amnesia?” Read about it right here.) Digital body language insights can help identify medical/tobacco nondisclosure by catching the digital equivalent of fidgety behavior. 

Identify Bots

Behavioral intelligence AI fights against AI used for fraud by identifying bots programmed to scrape pre-fill data. Better yet, real-time interaction allows carriers to intuitively hide or show pre-fill information accordingly.

Improve Lead Scoring & Prioritization Models

Wouldn’t you rather focus your remarketing dollars on high intent and high lifetime value customers? Agents and marketers can prioritize high-intent users vs. window shoppers either real-time to close deals faster. 

Agent Optimization

AI insights allow carriers to drill down on agent and agency metrics like never before. Insurers can benchmark agents by loss ratio, closed business, productivity, or certain behavioral metrics/actions. 

Unfortunately, agent fraud is more common than you think. (Read about it here.) Behavioral insights can tell you when agents are manipulating applications to “game” the system. 

Improve Customer Experiences

Improve your customer’s digital experiences by uncovering chokepoints and identifying the perfect “micro-moments” to engage, encourage, and nudge a user to convert. AI and machine learning create adaptive experiences that dynamically recognize and react when a user is confused or about to abandon ship. These real-time interventions dramatically improve insurers’ conversion rates.

What are the Financial Benefits for Insurers?

Sure, this all sounds great, and maybe a little bit too good to be true… but what’s the financial benefit breakdown for insurance? Here’s what that looks like in each department.

  • Marketing and customer experience: Over 16% increase in average conversions. 
  • Claims: 12% early church reduction rate, and steadily growing. 
  • Risk and fraud: Over 14% improvement for the average risk model, avoiding thousands of dollars from fraud. 
  • Underwriting: A drastically increased number of applicants taken through accelerated underwriting.

ForMotiv and Digital Body Language

Across the board, insurers working with companies like ForMotiv have this in common: thousands (and thousands) of ROI dollars. At the time of this article, insurance leaders have reported over $18,000,000 of ROI attributed to ForMotiv’s behavioral data. We expect that number to continue to skyrocket as our adaptive models continue to integrate into the industry. 

Want to see how it’s possible for your company? Schedule a call and we’ll walk you through a demo with relevant use cases. We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.