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Life Insurance and Technology, They go Hand in Hand

By Craig Campbell, COO, EPIC Specialty Benefits

Craig Campbell, COO, EPIC Specialty Benefits

As a baby boomer, I admit I sometimes miss the good old days when business was written on napkins and sealed with a handshake. When computers became popular, it felt like the true salesperson died. I’m excited that everything has come full circle and the life insurance salesperson is back and stronger than ever because of technology. Technology provides the tools to personalize a sale more so than ever before, providing a user experience that can be unforgettable.

Life insurance premiums and policy ownership have been steadily declining for many years, while customer expectations have become grandiose. This has led to a new market paradigm based on enhanced product features, invigorated sales, and exceptional customer experience. To address these new requirements, technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), connected devices, and advanced analytics are offering up opportunities to insurers to stay relevant. It’s an exciting time that is moving quickly.

AI is leading consumer-driven change, including automated underwriting processes. Think of Snapshot from Progressive, a monitoring device placed in your car that personalizes your insurance rate based on your actual driving. Consumers signed up in droves to use the device. We can do the same thing with life insurance, but insurers are not getting the massive number of volunteers. We’re finding that consumers are not as eager to strap a device to their body, nor to share their personal biometric figures on an ongoing basis. It will take time for consumers to get used to the idea of using AI in personal ways for insurance-buying purposes. As much as I want the data, I can’t say I disagree with them.

However, when using AI to improve the user journey, the insurance industry was one of the first to use chatbots. This makes sense because it’s a tool that pulls together all the information available on a customer and uses it to engage in conversations, both written and verbal. The insurance industry is known to be very black and white, specifically with life insurance, so the chatbot has proven to be a very effective tool. Chatbots reduce customer confusion, are available 24/7, and can conceivably initiate the claims process. Expect to see these used more often.

The advancement I am most excited about is RPA. Many companies use a smaller-scaled version of an RPA, making this a less scary leap towards operational effectiveness. RPA technology does not alter the existing IT infrastructure; it works alongside it, again making it a less-invasive AI implementation. Some of the easier tasks such as claims processing and issuing policies can easily be mapped out and the processing time can be reduced by 50%. If these functions were automated, new positions could beopened for the same individuals to lead the company in new ways.

As an insurance carrier, we face many internal and external pressures with the changes in the economy, society, and technology. However, the impact of the changes is in our own hands, as it is with all insurers. I choose to look at these challenges as opportunities that have been presented to help us embrace these moments of change.

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