E-signatures and the Customer Experience in Insurance

Mark Breading, March 29, 2016
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Insurers have pivoted toward the customer and identified improving the customer experience as the top strategic initiative across the insurance industry. SMA research indicates that 85 percent of North American insurers have major initiatives in this area. There is a widespread recognition that the industry has long been product focused, concentrating on improving the efficiencies of internal processes.

A Shift to "Customer First"

Now a tectonic shift is underway as insurers transform their cultures, processes, and technology platforms to consider the customer first. This includes not only the traditional individual and business policyholder customers, but also considers the independent agents and brokers as partners or customers in a somewhat different sense. This entails understanding the customer journey, rethinking the processes, and ultimately making it as easy as possible for customers to do business with insurers. [promotion id="15489"]

E-Signatures: Great Potential

In seeking ways to simplify touchpoints and provide customers with new options for interaction, one capability to significantly improve the experience is widely available but sometimes overlooked or misapplied: e-signatures. This is curious in some ways since the technology itself is relatively mature, the legal and regulatory issues are largely behind us, and great solutions are available in the marketplace. On one hand, insurers have made great progress in implementing e-signatures in key areas of the business. On the other, there is still great potential to extend usage to many other areas. The bigger problem lies in what I have termed the misapplication of e-signature technology. E-signature capabilities have become relatively easy to acquire and implement, with many vendors touting solutions. This is good in that the tech has been adopted and implemented in many places across insurance. What is problematic is the breadth of functionality. It varies widely, ranging from pure capture solutions to those that offer robust, enterprise platforms supporting all types of e-signatures in a secure, scalable, auditable manner that allows integration with other key systems and workflows. Insurers should look toward the later type of solutions for two reasons. 1.  First, they provide the type of enterprise capabilities just listed. 2. Second, and vitally important, they enable customers to make all types of sales and service transactions with insurers in ways that they expect in today’s mobile, digital world – namely, via any channel or device they want – and then signal their legal assent via the variety of easy to use methods that they have become accustomed to in their daily lives.  

"E-Signatures enable customers to make all types of sales and service transactions with insurers in ways that they expect in today's mobile, digital world - namely, via any channel or device they want."

  About the Author: Mark Breading is a recognized expert in advanced technologies and their implications for the insurance industry. He has exceptional knowledge of the customer experience, analytics, digital content management, and maturing and emerging technologies. Exclusively serving the insurance industry, Strategy Meets Action (SMA) is an advisory services firm offering retainers, research, consulting, events, and innovation offerings to both insurance companies and solution providers. Learn more about SMA at www.strategymeetsaction.com. Contact: [email protected] or 614.562.8310