(Image credit: Dollar Photo Club.)
The insurance industry processes and handles incredibly large volumes of documents every day. Regardless of whether they are proposals, policies, coverage statements, endorsement forms, invoices or claims forms, insurers and agencies are tasked with drafting, proofreading, adjusting (often based on regulatory changes), sending and processing these documents that can often have missing or incorrect information. Although many companies have overhauled their legacy systems, a large number still rely on manual documents and processes, much to the detriment of their employees and customers. In doing so, how much risk does this create for the insurer? Here are some of the larger risks associated with poor document management:
Risk of non-compliance
Manual document management is a mentally taxing experience for insurance professionals over time. The current insurance customer engagement process requires a document and information hand-off between the carrier, agent and policyholder in a way that exposes many insurers to compliance risk each time that new information is entered, edited and shared with another. Depending on nuanced wording required because of state regulations or the type of policy coverage, incorrect information can not only bottleneck the customer experience, but force companies unknowingly out of compliance. Requiring humans to fill out and update customer information leaves each stakeholder susceptible to errors that can be detrimental to all parties involved. Modern technology mitigates this issue by fully automating the process from customer date acquisition to document generation and delivery, allowing each stakeholder to track all adjustments made by others.
Risk of Degrading Consumer Experience
Great customer experience is hard to find, but insurance faces these struggles even more so due to their complex requirements and acquisition process. Insurance giving the customer too many open-ended options can lead to confusion, frustration and inevitably, frequent interactions with insurance call centers. According to audio branding specialist PHMG (Manchester, U.K.), every single call in the insurance sector is put on hold, compared to the North American average of 70 percent across all industries. This makes the insurer more susceptible to losing customers as a result.
Carriers can create a much more linear, manageable experience for consumers through the use of web-based forms and documents (“smart forms”). These intelligent forms not only allow embedding of multimedia (using a video to welcome your prospect, explain puzzling terms or coverages, etc.) but can also provide responsive questions, which adjust subsequent questions on the form based on previous answers. This simple modification can alleviate a customers’ feeling of uncertainty about the relevance a specific question, which can massively impact customer experience and help reduce the need of the call center.
Risk of Missed Revenue Opportunity
Customers tend to want minimal contact with their insurer in between binding a policy and claims (when they want maximum contact), so every interaction counts tenfold compared to most other industries. That’s why each document should be structured to clearly highlight what the policy is offering and excluding, while also give the carrier ample opportunity to upsell products and coverages when the opportunity is presented. This is obviously advantageous for an insurer who can use more dynamic documents to clearly present additional policy protections, but also for the consumer who could be misinformed about certain incidents they thought were covered, and aren’t. Improved ways that digital documents can help carriers promote additional offerings include video, images, marketing collateral and cautionary warnings where there are gaps in their coverage. Smart Forms can help carriers assure that their clients are making informed decisions with clearly explained concerns and options.
Insurance is in the middle of a technology revolution, placing immense pressure on insurers to overhaul many systems from the front end, claims, underwriting and marketing just to stay competitive. But insurers cannot afford to underestimate the impact of document communication with customers. By modernizing customer communication platforms, insurers can greatly reduce these three major risks, and improve the quality of the customer experience simultaneously.