Is it too early for New Year’s resolutions?
For life and annuity insurance carriers, that’s an easy answer—no.
To make any meaningful headway in improving efficiency or streamlining processes, it takes time. Change is slow. Good change is even slower.
For the typical carrier, there are plenty of processes that could use a facelift. Inefficient processes can cost more than they should or even lose you sales. It’s possible to turn these drags on profitability into competitive advantages. It will just take a little planning. Since we’re entering budget season, now’s the perfect time to start asking what problems you want to solve in 2023.
When it comes to solutions, technology is the obvious place to start. Today’s digital solutions have transformed how many insurers manage their workflows. Your main task is deciding which processes to improve and finding the technology that will get you there.
Let’s explore some of the most common challenges carriers face and where technology can be the greatest help.
When it comes to your advisors, your goal should be ease of process. The right platform can help you provide a seamless, comprehensive workflow. Imagine a scenario where your advisor can move from presale suitability to needs analysis to quoting to illustration to application—all within the same digital workflow. Some of today’s sophisticated digital sales platforms offer exactly that. Your distribution partners will no longer need to jump from platform to platform or in and out of paper processes.
Here is where an e-Application tool can change your life. NIGOs increase the costs of the application process. Dragging out the application creates a poor experience for the client. A sale becomes less likely as the clock ticks on. The best e-Application solutions will not let users proceed without all necessary forms or required information. This drastically improves NIGO rates.
Case in point: typical NIGO rates for paper applications are around 60%. NIGO rates for applications submitted through today’s best e-Application platforms is typically somewhere between 4% and 10%. Imagine what a NIGO reduction like that would do for your business. That’s a big improvement in expenses and a whole lot of time back on your calendar.
We live in a world where two-day shipping is the baseline. Waiting weeks or even months to hear back on a life insurance application is a bad experience for the customer. Life insurance applications are complex, but machines are getting smarter all the time.
Sophisticated underwriting software can offer accelerated and even automated underwriting. Automated underwriting uses logic to accept or decline cases based on predefined rules. Accelerated underwriting still requires a human touch but uses rules to skip some stages of the process for qualifying applications. This can include things like the paramedical exam, which is notorious for delaying the process.
This tech-empowered underwriting saves carriers in underwriting costs. It also offers the customer a far faster decision—on average a full two-thirds faster.
Plus, some carriers are integrating their underwriting tool with their e-Application software. This groundbreaking next step for the industry brings automated and accelerated underwriting into the point of sale. Sometimes, a decision can be provided while the customer is still sitting with the advisor.
They say communication is key. This is especially true regarding the platforms you use to process business. Some insurers are achieving coveted straight-through processing by integrating their e-Application solution with their admin platform. The application information travels directly from the distributor to the carrier’s system. This eliminates the need for data to be manually transposed. It cuts down on data entry errors and saves time and expenses on the carrier’s side.
Overnighting policies and mailing paper statements to clients might seem like a necessary step. But for every year that goes by the cost of this outdated practice continues to rise. An e-Delivery solution replaces snail mail with digital delivery, offering automated confirmation of receipt and bringing paper delivery into the digital age.
It’ll save you a ton of money. A typical carrier might spend $25 per policy for printing, binding, packaging and mailing. Multiply that by the number of applications you process in an average month and—well, you can do the math. It’s a scary number.
When new or updated regulations require changes inside your e-Application platform, you are stuck waiting for your vendor to make the updates. Meanwhile, distribution partners you worked hard to convert to digital workflows are now forced back to paper. It’s a bad experience for everyone involved. Some e-Application platforms have an answer: self-administration capabilities. This allows carriers to make needed updates quickly and take full advantage of their e-Application solution.
There is no shortage of challenges for insurers in today’s dynamic life and annuity industry. You can’t possibly take them all on at once. But, as you sit down to plan where to put your efforts going into next year, it pays to think about which challenges you would like to see crossed off the list in 2023.