InsuranceNewsNet reports that distributors are becoming frustrated with slow application processing times. The delays could be due to a mixture of staffing shortages, technologies deficiencies, or simply that carriers were not ready for a sales boom.
Life insurance sales surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Annuity demand is still high. As interest rates do not seem to be decreasing any time soon, annuity sales will not either.
This increase in demand is a good thing for carriers. But it comes with its own set of challenges.
You need to keep your distribution partners, advisors and consumers happy. That means creating the best possible sales experience. The exact definition of the optimal sales experience can vary depending on whom you ask. But one principle is universally true—long waits ruin the experience for everyone.
The modern consumer expects streamlined digital shopping experiences. They enjoy conveniences like TurboTax, two-day shipping and virtual doctor visits. These are the rule, not the exception. Meanwhile, the life and annuities industry lags. We make advisors and consumers wait weeks or even months for a decision.
Add to that scenario a surge in demand, and processing time drags out even more. And, both consumers and distribution partners start to get grumpy with carriers. A good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless.
The Tools for the Job
High application volumes are a challenge, but carriers are not left without solutions. The benefits of modern digital solutions can get rid of the bottlenecks in the sales process to accelerate sales.
Not-in-good-order (NIGO) applications cause costly and frustrating delays. On average, 60% of life and annuity applications are deemed NIGO.
There is a better way to live.
Some insurance platforms report average NIGO rates as low as 4%. One carrier reported their NIGO rates dropping by 87% after adopting an insurance sales platform. The best platform solutions prevent NIGOs from license gaps, payment errors and missing paperwork. Even replacements, which are notoriously difficult to solve for.
The best of modern insurance sales platforms perform can-sell checks. They use rules to prevent advisors from submitting applications without all necessary paperwork. These tools prevent keying errors by prefilling known information. Through integrations with other systems, they help prevent payment errors and replacement NIGOs.
Keep It Digital
Paper is one of the worst offenders that slow down your processes. Paper leads to a reliance on in-person meetings and snail mail. And that means days—sometimes weeks—in delays.
Many carriers and distributors fail to achieve a fully digital application process. The chain is most often broken with signatures. The application may start online. But the need for wet signatures brings the whole process back to paper.
E-signature capabilities enable a fully digital process. E-signature speeds up the process of signature capture. No need to mail documents or schedule in-person meetings. E-signatures are also more secure than wet signatures and provide a defensible audit trail.
End-to-end insurance sales platforms can provide this unbroken chain for your sales processes. Some come with e-signature capabilities built in, which increases adoption among distributors.
Accelerate Your Underwriting
Automated and accelerated underwriting offer an opportunity to speed up your processes. LIMRA reports that most carriers already offer some form of automated or accelerated underwriting. They use platforms with modeling and predictive analytics to speed up the underwriting process.
Sometimes, carriers can automate the entire process to accept or decline cases based on their underwriting rules. Other times, carriers simply accelerate the process by using rules to waive some items, such as medical requirements.
The ultimate time- and cost-saving version of this is bringing automated underwriting forward, into the point of sale. With available data, such as prescription profiles and EHR data, underwriting systems can provide a decision on 80% of cases. If you integrate that with your e-application platform, you can provide that automated decision in real time. This can completely transform the life insurance sales process.
Give the People What They Want
Your clients, distribution partners and advisors are demanding a more streamlined sales experience. And, they want faster application processing.
End-to-end insurance platforms can eliminate the speed bumps in traditional processing. Which means you can offer the experiences your distribution partners, advisors and clients have always wanted.