By Liran Hirschkorn
Let’s face it — insurance consumers aren’t experts. And the overwhelming number of questions they ask can be frustrating for insurance brokers.
But as new technology simplifies the insurance-buying process for everyone involved, the hassle of informing new clients and answering repeat questions is essentially disappearing. And with so many tools available, insurance brokers can create confident consumers and close deals faster than ever before.
Here are three major ways technology is improving the insurance experience for both brokers and clients:
1. It’s Making Information More Accessible
According to Jeff Root of SellTermLife.com, the Internet has revolutionized the life insurance industry.
“Life insurance consumers are more informed, more social and are coming from a market segment that has not been a usual target for life insurance over the past century,” he said. “The only problem is that no one is teaching life insurance agents to evolve with this change.”
When searching for a life insurance policy, most people do some level of online research even if they meet with an agent in person. But for every website that tells you to buy term insurance, there’s another telling you to buy whole life insurance. Then there are agents who make things worse by focusing only on the latest “hot product,” whether it’s an indexed universal life or something else.
Many people don’t know how to use online quoters, so these services often aren’t helpful either. Consumers often are unsure whether they should receive a preferred or standard rate, how many cigars qualify them as a “smoker,” or how table-rate pricing works.
All of these issues make determining a price and choosing the best policy confusing. But despite these complications, the right resources can enable individuals to educate themselves and lay some groundwork before they speak with a professional.
Life insurance guides on insurance websites can answer all or most of consumers’ questions. They provide clients with information pertaining to their life insurance needs, types of life
insurance coverage, how to obtain coverage if they have a health condition, how to customize a policy, how business owners can use life insurance, and important terms to expect during the insurance-purchasing process.
More informed consumers have a better understanding of their needs and desires. They’re more willing to commit to a policy, an agent and a process they understand.
2. It’s Opening Up Communication
Excellent resources can make consumers more willing to speak with an agent, but nothing can completely replace the clarity that direct conversation provides. New technologies allow you to speak with prospective clients anywhere via live chat. This takes them beyond a self-determined quote to a more accurate quote from an expert in real time. If they still want to play around with numbers, you can tell them what health rating to use in order to determine a more precise quote.
Tools such as join.me build on that component by letting you share your screen with potential clients. Screen sharing creates transparency, enables you to walk interested candidates through processes to eliminate confusion, and helps you carefully explain facts to build rapport. All these things make insurance brokers more connected to the customer.
3. It’s Breaking Down Barriers for Clients
Life insurance can be a delicate topic for many people, and many would rather not deal with it at all. Simplifying the process from considering insurance to officially becoming a client will encourage consumers to continue on the path to signing.
E-signatures are transforming the industry by making it easier for clients to sign applications and documents. In the past, clients could only sign applications in person or through a multi-step printing, mailing, and/or faxing process. Now, an application can be signed with just a few clicks and keystrokes.
Many companies have begun to realize the value of electronic signatures. Customers of e-SignLive by Silanis have reported a decrease in not-in-good-order rates by up to 75 percent, a decrease in annual costs of $5 million, improved customer retention rates of 14 percent, and the ability to close new business in a single session. Fewer barriers to entry equates to more efficiency and less frustration for consumers and industry professionals.
Non-medical underwriting also is improving and becoming more competitive with pricing, which offers clients more choices and a process that avoids exams. Principal Financial Group is enjoying the benefits of accelerated underwriting by offering up to $1 million of coverage without an exam to those in super-preferred or preferred categories.
The exam component has always been a deterrent for people. No one likes to have blood drawn, and some people are deathly afraid of needles. Now people can apply for life insurance online and, for some policies, without even speaking with an agent.
If agents embrace these technologies, they can effectively reach a broader audience, educate and empower that audience, move the application process along at a faster rate, and successfully close more deals in less time. Show your customers you care about them by simplifying this difficult and stressful task, and you’ll make your life easier in the process.
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