2021 is finally here. For life insurers, the tumultuous year that just ended has turned the need for transforming the client experience into an absolute demand. How has your business faired in this wake?
This past year’s disruption to “business as usual” has forced accelerated underwriting as never before. Life insurers have long been planning to digitize their business and transform the client experience to make it easier, and “more pleasant” to learn about, qualify for, and buy life insurance albeit slowly. From an easier digital buying experience to varying ways to evaluate risk, these tools are practically mainstream in other insurance markets, must now become the norm for life carriers.
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While a large percentage of insurers have experienced an increase in sales during the pandemic, a recent LIMRA survey of insurers who experienced a decrease in sales, identified that the majority attributed the decrease to the inability to hold face-to-face meetings. Adopting an e-application process that is easy and intuitive to use (for both customer and agent) could be key to combating this decrease. E-applications eliminate NIGO (not-in-good-order) applications and result in less back and forth with the underwriter, agent and insured. The more times an agent must go back to the inured for information, the more chances for the insured to back out of the sale. The faster the agent can provide quotes and illustrations; the faster a deal can be closed. Tools like e-document delivery and e-signature provide additional speed to policy completion
With an increase in applications and the demand for shorter turnarounds, underwriting processes must be streamlined as well. New technology and processes to replace exams and labs have been developed and will continue to be refined and to enter the market. When incorporated into underwriting systems like Sapiens UnderwritingPro, they can provide an almost instant decisions without intervention by an underwriter. This eliminates routine tasks and allows underwriters to focus on more complicated cases where their knowledge and skills are best utilized.
EHRs (electronic health records) also promise to be a game changer for underwriting. These records can be obtained in a matter of days rather than weeks. Underwriting systems can order the EHR as part of the rules process, based on application question answers or other criteria, and the records can even be attached to the case before their initial review.
Evidence shows consumers are currently evaluating their morbidity and are more interested in buying or increasing their life insurance. A McKinsey report from September 2020 stated, “Customer demand is at an all-time high”. Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has only reemphasized the need for mortality protection. The time for transformation is now.