How Do You Achieve True Straight-Through Processing? (STP Blog Series #3)

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In the first blog post in our STP series, we proposed an update to the definition of straight-through processing to better fit the modern landscape of the life and annuities industry. In the second post, we laid out the challenges that must be overcome.

Now it is time for action. What should carriers and distributors focus on to truly streamline and automate their sales processes?

Product-Agnostic Technology

Could you imagine asking a retailer to use one system to sell sneakers and another one to sell boots? How about yet another one to sell sandals?

It no longer makes sense to use rigid, single-purpose technologies for a narrow set of products. This results in a set of systems that is not agile enough to respond to complexities. It requires expensive and time-consuming customizations to manage.

Instead, seek out a single system that can support all lines of business. This unlocks the ability to sell multiple product lines quickly and easily. Clients and advisors get a consistent sales process regardless of how many or what kind of products are being sold.

Single Solution for All Sales Activities

Advisors want a single place from which to handle all sales activities. Determining product fit. Running quotes. Illustrating products. Sending all previous data to an application. Processing payment collection. E-signing. And finally, submitting to the carrier.

If everything is in one place, the advisor can quickly start and complete sales requirements. Data will flow from one phase to the next without manual re-entry. This saves time and frustration for advisors.

It also eliminates human error that leads to NIGO applications. You get a compliant process that is documented and provable.


E-signature is a key aspect of STP. Without it, the application process is forced offline and the STP chain is broken.

It benefits everyone involved in the insurance sales process. The client and advisor get an easy signing process, regardless of location. Your firm benefits from fewer errors. Plus, you have a full audit history, a defensible process and a proven, authentic signature.

With so many benefits, e-signature should be available in solutions natively. It should not be an afterthought or optional add-on. When e-signature costs extra—whether that is time, effort or both— adoption plummets. Paper sneaks back into the process.

Technology with Flexible, User-Driven Workflows

True STP eliminates roadblocks for the sales team, back office and end customer. No two companies, advisors or customers do things the same way. That means flexibility is key. Your technology should allow for creating your unique workflows.

Carriers need a solution that supports their various sales channels, distribution firm relationships and product offerings. If you are offering a consumer-direct solution, it needs to be simple. It must be intuitive and easy for consumers to use.

Equally, distributors need a solution that can handle their unique business processes. Choose technology that supports workflows and user experiences. A solution that is flexible enough to work for any channel and any distribution model.

Simplify Integrations

Integrations are vital to connect a solution into your internal and external processes. APIs make your solutions robust and seamless.

You need to be able to connect all pieces of the process. Like prefilling data into your solutions easily. Validating data entered to ensure accuracy. Pulling data into the system for ease of use and accuracy. And, you should be able to send data to all downstream systems like a CRM.

Plus, APIs give your partners the flexibility to keep the sales process fast and fully digital.

Eyes on the Prize

You may look at the key components of STP and think it is too complex a task to take on.

In reality, some state-of-the-art insurance platforms offer true end-to-end functionality. From pre-sale needs to post-issue. This takes the pressure off carriers and distributors. It brings a streamlined digital sales experience within reach. Finally.

You may also look at STP and wonder if the benefits are worth the effort.

We invite you to be on the lookout for the final post in our STP series. In it, we will discuss the new levels of success waiting to be had when you digitally transform your sales process.

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