Have you ever waited in line at Starbucks, ordered a bagel and a coffee, received your beverage, and then felt you must return to the counter to inform the barista your bagel was never cooked. This happened to me today. The barista said, “I am sorry for the inconvenience, but the label for your bagel never printed out. Let me make you one now.” I had to wait four more minutes, but I did receive a tasty treat. Of course, I’ll continue shopping at Starbucks because they work hard to please their customers. It’s integrated into their business culture. Customer service is a big reason why people pay so much for a delicious drink including their exact specifications. As consumers, we love convenience and speed. We’ve been trained by new consumer-driven delivery models to expect the best and to speak up when we don’t get it the first time around.
Turning to Insurance
Ah, the Starbucks metaphor works time after time. What does this have to do with my business? I don’t want to admit this, but, sometimes, I stay up late at night pondering how to streamline the underwriting process for annuity and life insurance prospects. These hardworking folks deserve to get the most for their premiums with as few snags as possible. Last week, I was browsing the web and discovered an interesting piece from InvestmentNews.com, which explained how insurers are making this process easier through automation of more aspects of the policy creation process. I encourage you to join me in considering how these tech insights can inform your current business model, especially so you can begin to develop handier applications for new and existing customers (or at least work with insurers who provide such tools for you):
According to Investment News: “Now, rather than wait months to get a life insurance policy, some companies can issue fully underwritten policies — that is, those taking full medical history into account — within one to two weeks. A handful of more cutting-edge companies can issue them on the spot.”
How They Do It
Life insurance carriers want to automate everything. It’s a matter of posting the questions that you need to review on your website, providing a secure way for prospects to submit their answers, and then having a database application automatically review each consumer’s information. Then, you can have human workers review applications for things that the application flags as potential problems for underwriting a policy. The article describes the trend towards a more digitized application process and fewer questions asked of each consumer. What’s more, “Insurers are now able to gather some consumer data, such as prescription, credit and motor-vehicle information, from third-party sources.”
Consumers Have Privacy Concerns
For consumers, there are the usual privacy concerns. Personally, I’m not crazy about the idea of a potential insurer considering the prescriptions I’ve purchased in the last year as a factor in policy underwriting. However, consumers can use an automated underwriting process if they have a way to get their questions answered about the access and use of their protected data. As annuity and life insurance sellers, we should be prepared to answer these types of questions for each company that we represent.
The Bottom Line
If you choose to partner with insurers who can access prospects’ protected medical information (with the proper consents, of course) in a timely manner and quickly determine if their data fits the underwriting criteria, you will have happier customers. I see this as consumers being able to actualize their need for a new life insurance policy or a more comprehensive product in a shorter time. They might also like it so much that they begin to refer others to your company.