Competition in the life insurance space has shifted from battles over product innovation and skirmishes fought in the name of efficiency. Today’s top carriers are winning the fight for customer attention by solving one of the industry’s traditional weak points—customer experience.
Accelerating policy on-boarding with life insurance illustration and quoting software
For insurance companies, part of enhancing client experiences is providing a suite of digital solutions that streamline the illustration and application process as well as offering agent and customer self-service options. These digital agent tools generate quotes and illustrations, conduct comparisons, highlight insurance benefits, and enable up-selling.
They deliver straight-through-processing of the application leading to quicker decisions and faster issue. And, agent and customer portals permit real-time policy changes and access to commission reports.
Most importantly, to meet today’s heightened customer expectations, all of these tools have to seamlessly integrate with, not only each other, but with the modern policy administration system, CRM and the carrier’s internal tools.
Those companies who absolutely nail the elements critical to delivering world-class customer experiences will surge ahead of their competitors—for three important reasons:
Reason #1: Enhanced advisor and client experience
Traditional insurers are competing not just with each other, but with the digital-born upstarts who threaten to take market-share. These fully digital companies have the advantage of being agile, quick to respond to market changes and highly responsive to customer demands.
They are not saddled with 20-30-year-old legacy systems that make it hard, if not impossible, for traditional insurers to quickly make product changes, develop new products and offer multi-channel digital service to their customers.
—Karen Monks, Karen Monks, Sr. Analyst, Celent, co-author of Celent’s Life Insurance Illustration Systems: North American Edition. Featured in Illustration Systems Can Improve Point-of-Sale Efficiency video.
Traditional insurers are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to the age and flexibility of both their core policy administration and illustration tools.
That’s a significant issue because one of the biggest changes insurance companies must address comes from outside the industry entirely. Today’s customers’ expectations are conditioned by the online interactions they have with companies from many different industries.
Consumers have come to expect the same great experience they have when they are able to order a book with just one-click, watch their pizza traveling from the restaurant to their front door on their phone, or enjoy a movie they hadn’t considered watching until their streaming service recommended it.
They bring all of those expectations with them to the insurance transaction. And, unfortunately, they are often let down. Today’s customers aren’t willing to wait for annual or even monthly printed statements to review their coverage.
They don’t want to have to call a center and talk to someone just to make a simple address change. And they don’t always want to have to schedule a meeting with an advisor when they want to change a policy or even buy a new product.
Today’s consumer wants fully digital, real-time service on whatever device they choose, whenever they desire. They want the service to be personalized. They want instant answers and instant approvals.
And the end consumer is not the only stakeholder whose digital expectations challenge carriers. Competition to attract the best advisors is high. And one of the battlegrounds is around the tools and processes an insurer can provide an agent to enable them to work efficiently and effectively and meet more client needs.
It will become harder and harder to attract 30-40-year-old advisors if a company can’t offer omni-channel tools that allow them to work whenever, wherever and on whatever device they choose.
—Bruno Leduc, Senior Director, Digital Insurance Solutions, Equisoft. Featured in Why Celent Ranks Equisoft/illustrate as a Top Illustration Solution video.
Reason 2: Increase speed-to-market
The pace of regulatory change is accelerating. Market demands are in constant flux. The traditional path to making product changes or developing new products on legacy systems is no longer a competitive option.
For companies still relying on legacy core systems and front-end tools that are not easily configurable developing new products could involve writing new code or even implementing new systems and may take as long as a year. Even relatively small tasks like rate changes can take hours because of the manual processes involved in making alterations within a legacy system.
Digital-born companies can respond as much as 5x faster because they are not burdened with outdated systems. They are able to aggregate and analyze client and market data faster and more effectively. They can identify trends and make adjustments to their offerings with greater speed than traditional firms.
And, as traditional firms undergo their own digital transformation—modernizing their back-office and integrating digital agent and client tools—it becomes hard for those who haven’t evolved to remain competitive.
Working with multiple systems and tools that aren’t integrated is inefficient, frustrating, costly and slow. The best digital agent and client tools can reduce complexity because a single application works for life, health and annuity product lines—and is fully integrated with the modern policy administration system. They increase productivity, improve time to market and reduce cost of releasing new products.
As part of a comprehensive digitization of a company’s infrastructure front-end tools will streamline digital experience across the full life cycle of a policy, from sales to claims—accelerating underwriting, customer on-boarding and product development.
Reason 3: Drive Sales
Traditionally, advisors may have spent hours working up positioning information in a spreadsheet with numerous sheets, and then have to pass that to an assistant who would spend a day or two crafting a PowerPoint presentation from the data. The process was manual, frustrating and ate up time that would be better spent in front of clients.
Today, the best integrated digital agent tools enhance advisors’ sales capability by offering purpose-built features like side-by-side comparisons of products, sales concepts and strategies that help them easily position insurance products in minutes. They make presentations and recommendations more effective and enable advisors to do more of them—increasing sales.
Integrated illustration, electronic application and servicing portals enable agents to quickly generate quotes and submit applications without spreading the paper-based process over several client meetings.
Not only is the client experience better and the agent freed to work with more clients—but digital processing, built-in validation features and the ability to monitor pending business increases the likelihood of applications being approved and policies issued in a timely manner.
Insurance companies that implement digital agent and client tools as part of their modernization journey will increase speed-to-market, drive sales and deliver superior customer experiences.
A comprehensive suite of tools that feature straight-through processing and APIs that interact with the insurers back office lay the foundation for what will be possible for forward-thinking organizations as they navigate their digital transformation in the coming years. Those who are slow to adopt these solutions risk being left behind.