How Tech Is Breathing New Life Into Life Insurance

The life insurance industry offers more than just policies: Carriers also strive to provide comfort, stability and peace of mind to their customers.

When someone buys life insurance, they trust that the insurer will be present and involved in fulfilling the policy’s promise by distributing money responsibly.

Also, in our digital age, consumers expect an instant and seamless service that provides comprehensive support beyond payments.

Fortunately, several technology companies have emerged to help insurance companies embrace—and even benefit from—the digital age.

That’s important at a time when, along with trust and stability, customers are looking for a better experience with every product or service they buy.

To offer a better customer experience, insurers must be willing to embrace cutting-edge technology that allows them to adapt to changing consumer expectations.

Streamlining Complex Processes

By embracing emerging innovations in life insurance that can easily leverage new technologies, such as onboarding and payments, life insurers can increase customer satisfaction while optimizing their own operations.

This is a true win-win proposition that can streamline underwriting and claims services while driving the connectivity and strengthening data sharing needed to deliver more customized policies.

Digital age life insurance models are already being used to leverage automation for more convenient registration, allowing customers to complete complex processes without becoming overwhelmed by the maze of bureaucracy of it all.

Insurtech companies like Lemonade are, in fact, built on the modern customer expectation of once-sluggish processes like enrollment and onboarding. This technology-turned-insurance company leverages technology to enable customers to apply, get approved, and start using life insurance in just minutes.

The same improvements can be applied to the insurance claims process, which has long been characterized as stressful, expensive, and time-consuming.

Life insurance claims are filed at an often challenging and painful time for plaintiffs, who simply want to receive their payments as quickly and easily as possible.

Going digital can make a big difference here — insurers like Benekiva and FINEOS, for example, have platforms that allow insurers to completely digitize claim forms so they can fulfill their benefits efficiently anywhere, at any time, from any device.

More common technology solutions to lighten the customer’s burden such as automated insurance agents, or chatbots, have proven useful for the insurance companies that accept them.

Insurtech company Spixii hosts a conversation process automation, or CPA, platform to help customers buy policies, submit claims, receive customer service, and more.

It should be noted that these digital solutions are not specific to the insurance technology space.

Incumbents can adopt and integrate existing technologies to offer similar resources to their customers without needing to develop their own technology solutions.

By adopting technology that can handle manual, repetitive, and resource-intensive tasks, both existing and new insurers can free up their staff to focus energy and value on more complex claims and services.

In the long term, small changes such as reducing the number of customer service calls and integrating support services across platforms or reducing the tediousness of onboarding and automating registration forms, can result in important operational cost savings.

Extending Support Beyond Payments

Life insurance companies have fulfilled their promises to provide financial support to bereaved families.

However, while the lightening financial burden of the loss is undoubtedly significant, the family needs more than financial assistance.

This is where operators have a unique opportunity to redefine how they support bereaved families in the 21st century.

It took beneficiaries an average of 420 man-hours over 13 months to complete a loved one’s post-death processes — i.e. funeral arrangements, estate administration, closing of accounts, etc. —not to mention the untold emotional baggage.

Fortunately, the modern era has given life insurance providers an unprecedented ability to expand the ways they support beneficiaries beyond financial security by leveraging technology to provide grieving families with an added layer of administrative and emotional assistance.

Leading life insurance companies like MetLife are embracing technology to enhance their suite of additional concierge services — from grief counseling to funeral assistance — that help families get through incredibly difficult times.

New York Life also offers beneficiaries grief resources to support families through grief, and offers beneficiaries our platform service, Empathy, to provide logistical and emotional support.

This reimagination of what life insurance can provide goes beyond mere altruistic service to consumers – it’s a true value-creating situation that can benefit the insurance company itself, especially in terms of asset retention.

Consider that, across the industry, less than 4% of beneficiary assets are held by insurance companies.

When beneficiaries receive support that goes beyond their needs, experience superior customer service, and see firsthand the importance of life insurance, it strengthens trust and loyalty to their provider — and these same beneficiary families will know exactly where to turn when it was time to buy their own policy or recommend life insurance services to friends and loved ones.

Balancing Technology and Human Support

Technology is the future for countless industries, and life insurance is no exception.

By leveraging technology, insurance companies can fulfill their promise to help people in their time of greatest need.

But the value of human support should not be overlooked or underestimated.

All of these digital processes still require a human touch, to maintain relationships and make policyholders and their families feel heard, seen and supported.

Embracing the right technology solutions allows insurers to strike a balance between human concern and innovative streamlining.

This could shift perceptions of life insurance from a purely financial industry to one that provides grieving families with the money they need and the love and support they deserve.

Ron Gura is the CEO and co-founder of Empathy.




(Photo: New Africa/Shutterstock)

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