Horizon opens retail store with customer service, technology

In another sign that the insurance industry is becoming more consumer-oriented, one more big insurer announced that is opening a retail store to enhance the member experience. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey will open the state's first insurer retail center this summer in Moorestown, N.J.

"Employers are driving more of a cost share and decision making (for health insurance) down to their employees, and they look to companies like us to help them make more informed decisions," Joseph Albano, Horizon's vice president of consumer and senior markets, told NJBiz. "Using this retail setting and putting customers and prospective customers face to face with our associates can be a way that we can help folks make those decisions."

The 4,500-square-foot store will include private meeting rooms, interactive workstations for benefits and claims information and a children's entertainment center. Horizon has hired 10 new, specially trained employees to staff the store, answering customers' insurance-related questions, directing them to health and well-being resources and assisting them in purchasing insurance products and services, Insurance Networking News reported.

Horizon hopes the retail store will dovetail its well-received technological services, including web tools with quality customer service. "The tools and technology are great, but we have to complement them with the personal touch," Albano told Insurance & Technology. "So, the thinking in the retail setting is to provide those tools and those resources for people, along with someone who can help them understand the tools, the better route to get to the outcome that they're after and better ways to access our technology to have a better experience."

To learn more:
- read the Insurance Networking News article
- see the NJBiz article
- check out the Insurance & Technology article

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