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3 Keys to Automating Group Benefits Underwriting

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Many insurers have made progress in automating some aspects of their group insurance benefits. But underwriting, quoting/rating and renewals are often still bogged down in manual processes.

(Related: LexisNexis Shifts Life Insurance Underwriting Into High Gear)

Automating underwriting decisions, placing configuration in the hands of business users, and integrating systems, including customer relationship management (CRM) lead to faster quote turnarounds. In a true group situation, automation begins with robust automatic census mapping upload capabilities and accurate risk assessment. Once client data is obtained, proposals and documents can be generated within minutes, not days.

Here are three keys to automating underwriting.

1. Eliminate rekeying and manual workarounds

No one should ever need to rekey data. Once information is captured once, all authorized people should be able to use it.

Redundant data entry is eliminated across roles and systems when data populates key fields automatically.  The system also should notify users when they have tasks in the queue that require attention. Notes and messages track progress and status, making it easy for different users to step in and quickly assess the status of a quote, expediting prospects through the quoting process.

Similarly, configurable rates, business rules and proposal templates further reduce maintenance time and reliance on IT resources. Manual workarounds are no longer necessary as processes are optimized for efficiency and automation. And human intervention, when needed, is triggered based on rules.

2. Create your portal to success

Self-service portals for brokers, employers and employees provide everyone with the online tools they need. Insurers improve relationships with brokers and agents by giving them mobile access to quotes, client information and underwriting decisions on only the products and group sizes they have permissions for. Letting employees enroll online boosts sales of voluntary products and can facilitate cross-selling.

3. Leverage your data to the max with AI and an underwriting workbench

Data pulls all the moving parts together with insights leading to improved decision making and measurable results. Now more than ever, data is playing a part in almost every aspect of the organization from customer engagement to predictive analytics and risk mitigation.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are further enhancing these capabilities in group benefits in the form of chatbots. These and other cognitive computing technologies are bridging the knowledge gap by bringing financial information and advice to employers and employees. Alegeus’s Emma, for example, is a chatbot designed to assist customers with their benefits account. It can even tell a HIPAA joke.

An underwriting workbench that integrates all your data is an important piece of the puzzle of digital transformation and supports the collaboration necessary for success. It joins together sales and underwriting teams providing access to brokers and agents, exchanges and apps – an investment in lucrative return business and renewal opportunities that promotes customer retention and growth.

Digital transformation is not a process that takes place overnight. But a digitally enabled, connected environment for underwriting group benefits will provide results across the value chain. In a world where business practices must move quickly to keep pace with innovation, a strong underwriting workbench optimizes the entire lifecycle and improves efficiency at every touchpoint.

— Read Benefits Toolmakers Still Court Agents on ThinkAdvisor.

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Mike de Waal is the president of Global IQX, an employee benefits sales and service software provider.


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