Enabling Change in Life Insurance: what does it “tech” to get the job done?
As published in InsureTechNews : https://insurtechnews.com/insights/enabling-change-in-life-insurance-what-does-it-tech-to-get-the-job-done
Written by Dustin Yoder, CEO Sureify Dror Katzav, CEO, Atidot Brent Williams, CEO Benekiva Andrei Pop, CEO, Human API | The COVID-19 pandemic has turned up the heat on insurers. Now, more than ever before, they need to provide their business units with digital tools to conduct business, keep agents selling and enable connections to customers in a socially-distanced world. The new business and social climate mandates that customers be able to shop for, buy and manage a policy without a face-to-face interaction for the future. Those carriers that have put the technology and processes in place to meet this increased business and customer expectation will have continued success even while the model of what “work” and “financial security” look like is changing. Those who haven’t yet modernized are under added pressure to up their digital game. Looking at a cross section of insurtech software and data leaders can provide carriers with a great deal of wisdom on how digital enablement is creating a more robust, more accurate, more cost-effective life insurance model for those willing to mix old and new. The leaders cited here demonstrate how implementing across-the-board technology enhancements can ultimately produce the recipe for success, not just today, but for the long term.
A recent Celent study shows that, in 2019, many of the most basic customer interactions related to the sale and service of life insurance could not be met digitally. More than 50% of insurers were unable to satisfy even basic customer needs (like changing a name, email address or beneficiary) without a face-to-face or fax transaction. It took a global pandemic to wake the industry up given that many needed processes were stopped in its tracks. Today, many carriers who believed time was on their side are scrambling to adapt to this new environment, which arrived overnight and shows no signs of abatement. Frenetic activity is now being undertaken to plug a gap that was apparent even before the virus hit. A permanent digital end-to-end solution is no longer a nicety – it is a necessity.
Sureify began offering the “innovative” end-to-end digital experience that is now an absolute requirement for the life insurance industry long before the virus changed the transactional environment. The company’s platform is built to be flexible and modular.
LifetimeAcquire enables omnichannel sales that drive placement rates via quoting, e-application, automated underwriting, and new business transmission.
LifetimeService allows insurers to offer their in-force customers comprehensive self-service portals and native applications.
LifetimeEngage uses a variety of channels, including web and mobile applications, to keep customers learning, growing and engaged as policyholders.
As different insurtech partners are brought in to fill specific roles for different clients, Sureify completely customizes offerings to fit individual carriers’ needs, even in a constantly-shifting business landscape. With a full complement of like-minded groundbreakers, Sureify orchestrates better, more cost-effective products and processes. The company’s continued growth is further proof that digital transformation is no longer an option, but a necessity. “The idea that digital transformation is innovative has changed overnight, and now many of these digital capabilities are the new normal for doing business post-COVID” noted Sureify CEO, Dustin Yoder. “Life insurers who make digital transformation part of their core strategy in 2020 will be well-positioned, not just throughout this pandemic, but into the future.”
Traditional methods of gathering needed information for underwriting such as in-person paramedical exams and attending physician statement requests are significantly delayed or paused for the moment as the medical field turns its attention to the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, carriers and reinsurers must find a digital method for collecting medical data to continue underwriting cases. Distribution firms are also on the lookout for new ways to assist clients remotely, and to streamline the insurance buying experience to help more consumers secure peace of mind.
Human API allows consumers to digitally connect and share health data from the comfort of their homes -- with no IT integration work to get up and running. This “no-touch” approach to medical data retrieval supports business continuity for carriers, reinsurers, and distribution firms while ushering in a new era of digital transformation in insurance. Carriers and reinsurers are finding that an applicant’s electronic medical records often contain valuable information such as recent lab tests, vitals, and social history that can be used to expedite underwriting. The use of EHR data has grown exponentially, especially in recent weeks, and it shows the potential to replace the APS, in-person exams and lab work. This could pave the road to a future with automated rules engines, accelerated underwriting programs, and granular risk stratification. Stakeholders from all across the life insurance industry are fully embracing EHR data to adapt to our new normal and better serve consumers.
Life insurers and annuity writers have more client data than any other industry yet analyzing policyholder behavior has always posed a challenge. The recent rise in unemployment rates, regulatory changes and the unprecedented market volatility have exacerbated that challenge. Over the course of the past six months, we have been confronted with regulatory changes, the COVID-19 pandemic, Shelter-In-Place orders, a mandatory 90-day premium grace period, interest-rate drops, and a two-billion-dollar relief package. Traditional capabilities and paradigms lack the flexibility to enable insurers to overcome uncertainty, limiting their ability to understand demand elasticity and analyze new market trends in real-time.
Choosing a digital, data-driven approach will empower life insurers to embrace new opportunities and overcome unforeseen risks. Life insurers need the ability to analyze parameters such as lapse, mortality, profitability (and many more) to generate accurate real time predictions that will support their strategy. The fastest, most efficient, and most accurate method to generate insights and predictions dictates the use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies. AI and ML can process large amounts of data from multiple internal and external data sources and then learn and produce new insights as events occur. Atidot offers such real-time data analysis based on clients’ portfolios. The solution provides a 360-degree view of policyholders and producers using insights and recommendations. It also allows strategic scenario modeling on individual policyholders, or on insurers’ overall portfolio and prediction of trends, looking at both individual consumer policyholder behavior and market changes in real time. This allows carriers to monitor, analyze and strategize to improve profitability immediately. “The pandemic has accelerated the digitization process within life carriers however, they have yet to maximize the potential within their data” says Dror Katzav, Atidot CEO.
In today's more hectic than usual environment, brought on by COVID-19, companies are challenged to keep business continuity effortless. Carriers need to easily move their claims operations to employees working from home, with no drop in productivity or issues with claims processing. Even the best life insurance modernized by technology combined with data means nothing if it does not produce the fulfillment of a customer claim.
Benekiva’s Bene-Claims module has allowed forward-thinking clients to transform their claims processes from intake through payout. The platform automates documentation, intake process, correspondence, workflows, rules, reporting, interest calculations and more. The company’s flexible architecture allows the platform to connect with multiple carriers’ systems across an organization to offer a single claims platform regardless of product line, product riders/rules, or underlying company that the policy was written under. Carriers using Benekiva’s claims module experienced business as usual, or even better than usual. Per Steve Shaffer, Chairman, President, and CEO of Homesteaders Life Company, "With Benekiva's ability to work anywhere, anytime, and any device, during COVID-19, it has been business as usual for our claims staff and most importantly, we have been able to uphold our superior servicing standard to our beneficiaries."
Insurers working with Benekiva have reported the following benefits:
- 40% operational efficiency in claims processing, workflows, and payout
- Accurate rider and benefit calculations that saved a carrier $2 to $4 million a year
- Optimized interest calculations which saved a carrier over 40 hours a week
- Reduction of cycle time of 75%
As the industry goes forward, the increased sense of urgency that has resulted from COVID-19 is unlikely to diminish. That means that digital transformation will be essential to any carrier hoping to be viable in this new domain. As the method of doing business transforms to an “all digital” experience, it should be a given that 100% of insurers will be able to complete virtually all business transactions through mobile and web-based applications. Those insurers, and their start-up partners, who come to the table early will be best situated to sell more, manage risk better and operate in a cost-effective manner well into the future. Those who are in the beginning stages of offering such an experience may still be able to make up ground as they accelerate their processes to fit into today’s exclusively-remote business world. Those who haven’t yet started a digital transformation will need the best allies in insurtech to survive into the future.