I recently spoke with three top producers about how technology is changing, for better or worse, the way they do business. Here, they talk about whether they’re using e-policies and tablets and what those products mean for life insurance sales today … and down the road.
For the rest of this roundtable, see:
Part two: To tweet, or not to tweet?
Part three: Technology for beginners
Q. One of the areas of the insurance business that seems to be getting a lot of technological attention these days is underwriting. In particular, a number of carriers have been focusing on e-signature and e-policy delivery capabilities, with an aim to dramatically shorten the underwriting timeframe. The challenge, many carriers and wholesalers say, is getting their producers to actually use these kinds of available technologies. Are you using them in your own practice? Why or why not? And speaking more broadly, what advice would you give to both carriers and fellow producers to help integrate these kinds of advancements more quickly?
Michael Morrow, CFP, MDRT member, international speaker and author of the best-selling “Leading Marketing Strategies” and “The Picture Sells the Story”: We are using e-signature — and e-application — in our office. We are confident that as time goes by more and more carriers will be offering this technology, and we expect it to be the norm in the very near future.
E-signature will never replace face-to-face meetings with clients, but there are many situations in which we find tremendous value in using e-signature. We find the process to be very convenient, and our clients embrace it.
We have found this technology to be very user-friendly and easy to integrate. Keep in mind that companies have really improved upon these technologies from the initial launch, years back. We would encourage advisors who may have had a challenging experience the first time around to give these technologies another chance.
We are not using e-policy delivery. It may work as a supplement in the future, but we will always request a printed hard copy policy. We believe in a proper policy delivery and want our clients to be able to pick up their policies in 25 years.
John F. Nichols, MSM, CLU, president of Chicago-based Disability Resource Group Inc.: We are using e-policy, e-signature, and a tele-application process in our practice. These enhance the client experience and confidentiality, keep the client and us on track, reduce errors, and speed up the fulfillment of the purchase.
My advice to producers is to create a process that integrates the available technology and methodologies, train your staff and communicate with clients early and regularly. Make the process part of your business model and have it become part of your culture. My advice to carriers is to continue to research and implement appropriate technologies to enhance the advisor and client experience.
Ryan J. Pinney, CSFP, vice president of brokerage sales for Pinney Insurance Center in Roseville, Calif.: I think that e-processing of life insurance business is not only the future, but it’s how the most effective producers are doing business today. I say this from my somewhat unique position of personal producer and direct marketer — a company that sells insurance over the Internet, as well as a brokerage agency.
We have seen the use of e-processing grow over the past five to six years and have really seen it pick up in the past 18 to 24 months. Today, my company and the producers we work with write business almost exclusively via an e-application process. There are some very obvious reasons for this, including reduced paperwork and increased convenience, but there are some less obvious ones as well, like improved cycle times, increased placement ratio and increased customer satisfaction.