The life insurance industry offers more than just policies: insurance carriers also strive to offer their customers comfort, stability and peace of mind.
When someone buys life insurance, they trust the insurer to be present and involved in fulfilling the promise of the policy by distributing the money responsibly.
Additionally, in our digital age, consumers expect instant, seamless services that offer comprehensive support beyond payout.
Fortunately, several tech companies have sprung up to help insurance companies embrace — and even capitalize on — the digital age.
This is vital at a time when customers are looking for an enhanced experience alongside trust and stability for any product or service they purchase.
To provide an enhanced customer experience, insurance companies must be ready to adopt cutting-edge technologies that enable them to adapt to changing consumer expectations.
Streamline complicated processes
By adopting new innovations in areas of life insurance that can easily benefit from new technologies such as onboarding and payouts, life insurance companies can increase customer satisfaction while streamlining their own operations.
It’s a true win-win offering that can streamline underwriting and claims services while fostering the connectivity and strengthening data sharing required to deliver bespoke policies.
Digital age life insurance models are already being used to leverage automation for more convenient registration, allowing clients to complete complex processes without being overwhelmed by the bureaucratic maze of it all.
Indeed, insurtech companies like Lemonade were built around today’s customer expectations of once-sluggish processes like registration and onboarding. These tech-turned insurance companies use technology to enable customers to apply, get approved, and start onboarding life insurance in minutes.
The same improvements can be applied to the insurance claims process, which has long been described as stressful, costly and time-consuming.
Life insurance claims are submitted at what is often a challenging and painful time for claimants who simply want to receive their payouts as quickly and effortlessly as possible.
Digitization can make a big difference here – insurtech companies like Benekiva and FINEOS, for example, have platforms that enable insurers to fully digitize claim forms, allowing them to efficiently deliver services anywhere, anytime, and from any device.
More general technical solutions to relieve customers, such as automated insurance agents or chatbots, are already proving beneficial to the insurers who use them.
Insurtech company Spixii hosts a Conversational Process Automation, or CPA, platform to help customers purchase policies, file claims, get customer service, and more.
It is worth noting that these digital solutions are not specific to the insurtech space.
Legacy insurance companies can adopt and integrate available technologies to offer their customers similar resources without having to develop their own technical solutions.
By using technology that can handle otherwise manual, repetitive, resource-intensive tasks, both old and new insurers can free up their staff to focus energy and value on more complex claims and services.
In the long run, small changes like reducing the number of customer service calls and integrating support services across platforms, or reducing tedious onboarding and automating registration forms can result in significant operational cost savings.
Extension of support beyond payout
Life insurers have kept their promise to provide financial support to grieving families.
But while easing the financial burden of loss is undoubtedly significant, families need more than just financial help.
Here, supporters have a unique opportunity to redefine how they support bereaved families in the 21st century.
Beneficiaries can take an average of 420 work hours in 13 months to complete the processes following the death of a loved one – ie funeral arrangements, administration of the estate, closing of accounts, etc. – not to mention the incalculable emotional drain.
Fortunately, the modern age has given life insurance providers an unprecedented opportunity to expand the way they support beneficiaries beyond financial security, using technology to provide additional administrative and emotional support to grieving families.
Leading life insurance companies like MetLife are turning to technology to enhance their offering of additional concierge services – from bereavement counseling to funeral services – to help families get through extraordinarily difficult times.
New York Life similarly offers bereavement resources to support families in bereavement and offers beneficiaries the services of our Empathy platform to provide logistical and emotional support.
This reimagining of what life insurance can offer goes beyond a purely altruistic service to consumers – it’s a true value-add situation that insurers themselves can capitalize on, particularly when it comes to asset preservation.
Consider that across the industry, less than 4% of beneficiary assets are retained by the insurance carrier.
When beneficiaries receive support that goes beyond their needs, experiences superior customer service, and sees first-hand the importance of life insurance, it cements trust and loyalty in their provider – and those same beneficiary families know exactly where to turn when it comes to it the time to buy their own policies or to recommend life insurance services to friends and family.
Balance between technology and human support
Technology is the future for countless industries, and life insurance is no exception.
Through the use of technology, insurance companies can best deliver on their promise to help people in times of greatest need.
But the value of human support should never 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.
By deploying the right technological solutions, insurers can strike that delicate balance between human caring and innovative rationalization.
This can change the perception of life insurance from a purely financial industry to one that offers grieving families the money they need and the compassion and support they deserve.
Ron Gura is CEO and co-founder of Empathy.
(Photo: New Africa/Shutterstock)