Five Areas Ripe for Insurance Innovation

The next phase in technology evolution process of the insurance industry and could be the one step that vaults your company to its next level of growth and profitability.

(Image credit: Dollar Photo Club.)

No company becomes a leader in its industry while hiding behind a legacy system and refusing to update processes. Instead, leaders must be unafraid to blaze a trail and facilitate business evolution by adopting new technology.

At its core, the insurance industry is all about making a connection—and technology is the way we make connections today. In 10 years, the percentage of people reading email on a smartphone or tablet has gone from zero to 80 percent. Insurance companies, increasingly aware of their customers’ and prospects’ dependency on the Internet, smartphones and tablets, are adjusting by creating innovative apps and online tools that make shopping for and buying insurance easier and more accessible.

If you’re like me, you probably remember what it was like to do business 20 years ago—when you had to grab the yellow pages to find business phone numbers and the fax machine was the Holy Grail of office tech. These days, instant access through constantly-carried mobile devices isn’t just expected, it’s required to gain the attention of an increasingly distracted customer base.

Like it or not, technology has boldly inserted itself into our lives and disrupted the way we communicate and conduct business. Nevertheless, there are still insurers that are lagging in automating sales, quoting, underwriting renewals.    Here are five changes that your company should consider making in order to capture and retain the interest of a tech-obsessed consumer class:

  1. Streamline the sales and underwriting process: Data should be entered just once for use by all downstream systems.  Fewer touch points make for a more accurate experience, instant quotes and faster policy issues—which enhances the overall customer experience. It also makes the agent’s job easier, which gives your sales force more time to spend on prospecting and client retention.
  2. Automate the renewal process: Quickly and easily retain clients, slash grunt work, and manage annual renewals by updating your system to automatically access and use on-file information to underwrite renewals and calculate new rates.  Because renewals and overall sales volume can also peak during certain months, automated renewals are an important part of ensuring consistent quality control while easing the workload on employees.
  3. End the reliance on manual proposal generation: Proposals can be time-consuming to prepare, especially when a client wants to review a variety of products and options. By automating proposals, you can leverage all of the information collected on clients and create dynamic packages with fewer errors and quote-specific requirements. These tools can also prepare proposals for presentation in various formats, making them easier to present to clients.
  4. Improve the accuracy of rate calculators in the field: Giving your agents the competitive advantage is easy when your rate calculators and field underwriting tools allow them to do their job more efficiently and accurately. Further, accurate rate calculators help to define the parameters of approval of various groups, which means both clients and agents have more realistic policy expectations.
  5. Implement a system for automatic rate quotes and revisions: The more information insurers gain access to through technology, the more they need comprehensive, technologically driven systems for rate quotes and revisions. With the right system, you can build an infrastructure that makes your company better able to adapt to increasing data and risk assessments. Integrating the tech side of rate quotes with the marketing and sales side not only creates a more efficient process, it also allows for more standardized and consistent results from a highly scalable system.

Making these changes to your business does more than give agents access to fast, accurate information. It also creates a system that’s scalable as your company grows and helps you better manage and integrate regulatory changes.

Advanced technology is an enduring partner in our future success.  The next phase in technology evolution process of the insurance industry and could be the one step that vaults your company to its next level of growth and   profitability.

Michael J. de Waal // Mike de Waal is president and founder of Global IQX, an Ottawa-based software provider of web-based sales and service solutions to employee benefits insurers.  He has deep experience in both software development and business management skills. Early in his career, he worked as a computer programmer and then went on to become a financial planner and a benefits consultant with giant Manulife Financial before becoming a tech entrepreneur.  He can be reached at mike@globaliqx.com.

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