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Agents Still Submit Some Applications on Paper: Analysts

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What You Need to Know

  • Agents send in 38% of submissions through agent portals.
  • About 23% of the submissions flow in through email.
  • Another 2% trickle in through the telephone.

Many life insurance agents are using cutting-edge systems to send in business — and many aren’t.

A team from Aite-Novarica looked at the state of life insurance submission technology recently, in a report that was sponsored by Equisoft and based on interviews with insurers’ chief information officers. The team was hunting for ways that insurers could use technology to improve life insurers’ support for agents.

One thing the team measured was agents’ use of five major submission processes:

  • The insurer’s own agent portal: 38%
  • Email: 23%
  • Paper forms: 22%
  • Outside companies’ platforms: 15%
  • Telephone: 2%

Many life insurers have been encouraging agents to use digital submission systems, but some insurers have products and underwriting processes that are hard to digitize, according to the Aite-Novarica team.

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And, in spite of insurers’ emphasis on agent portals, “career agents with long-standing relationships with underwriters can be slow to adopt these,” the analysts concluded.

The analysts also found that agents often communicate directly with underwriters; insurers are more comfortable with sending data to agents than with getting data from agents; and large brokers and brokerage general agencies have a hard time getting systems that can handle complicated agent compensation arrangements.