The essential functionality required by preneed insurers represents a significant departure from the mainstream insurance market. Each line of business has essential functionality critical to the success of the operation. In some cases, functionality in the preneed market constitutes table stakes, while other functionalities represent key differentiators offering the insurer a competitive advantage. The following is a list of must-have qualities in a solution that will help insurers solve the preneed puzzle:
- Scalability – the preneed market is based on high volumes of low margin policies and a broad range of different product types – including interesting crediting options, such as commission percentages and billing periods. The policy administration system must be able to accommodate this variance and high volumes of policies on a single instance. The alternative is to continue “cloning” systems by creating additional environments to mitigate policy volume and performance issues, which creates problem with efficiency.
- Modern technology – many preneed insurers working on the same legacy system for years have developed an expertise in not only the legacy system itself, but also the technologies on which the legacy system resides. Often it is the retirement of these human resources that necessitates a change and movement to modern technology where support resources are plentiful and well-versed in the latest technology.
- Accessibility from mobile applications and portals – funeral directors need to access specific policy information at all hours, since they are on call 24 hours a day. Also, the ability to expose crucial functionality and data via portals and mobile applications, allowing a wide range of users to gain access on their terms, will continue to increase in importance.
- Seamless connectivity to distributers across channels – the ability to provide an omni-channel approach with built-in flexibility for integrating and communicating with a variety of channels is crucial.
- Flexibility to design new features and products – preneed insurers must maintain flexibility due to a wide range of product features and also the potential for innovation, depending on changes in the death care industry. The ability to offer a new rider with minimal disruption can mean the difference between being a market leader or a purveyor of stagnant products.
- Opportunities for self-sufficiency – insurers don’t want to be beholden to their vendor, so a flexible platform with a partner offering a proven path to vendor-independence and complete self-sufficiency is a must.
- Openness for business analytics– there is so much data available within the typical preneed insurer’s operational data that efficiently mining and analyzing it can yield tremendous benefits in nearly every facet of the operation: product, new business, customer service, claims, everywhere. Funeral directors will likely have different needs than third party marketers and the home office staff.
Knowledge of the preneed market is perhaps the most vital quality to look for when seeking a preneed solution. Preneed is a niche business that requires a certain level of proven experience. While technical expertise and platform knowledge from the vendor is essential, insurers demand acumen in the preneed market as well. Insurers don’t want to have to teach their partner what makes the preneed market special. Also, experience and knowledgeable resources speed implementation time, while reducing costs and risk. To learn more about choosing a preneed solution, please check out my white paper, Solving the Preneed Dilemma.