Experts believe the life insurance industry sector was slow to react to the technological options available to them for some time, but now say companies are moving in the right direction with all necessary haste.
Perhaps one of the most important ways life insurance technology is making the industry more accessible to a larger number - and wider variety - of consumers these days is by speeding up the application and approval processes, according to a report from Investment News. Depending on the type and amount of life insurance requested the underwriting process could take many weeks with multiple requests of information from the potential client, their doctor or from other sources of information. However, emerging technology is cutting that time down.
For most life insurers, the application process is completely digitally, which speeds up the entire process, the report said. In addition, the number of questions each application carries has dwindled as information can be more directly targeted, which makes it easier for insurers to cull through applications and make underwriting decisions without a lot of back-and-forth or need for clarification. As more parts of the process become fully automated with artificial intelligence and other tools, process times can be cut even further.
"They're finally getting out of the Fred Flintstone age," Thomas Henske, partner at Lenox Advisors Inc., told the site. "This is definitely not an Amazon experience yet. But it's going to get there."
Into the cloud
This trend may be particularly important for life insurers when it comes to connecting with millennials and other young adults because they present a significant population group with a notable need for life insurance, but may not always be amenable to the traditional life insurance process, according to The Huffington Post. But with more tech options speeding up that process, many of those concerns or objections can be eliminated quickly and easily. That, in turn, may help unlock a potentially massive market for life insurers, potentially for years into the future. Nonetheless, it's still advisable that companies not only make the application process as "online" as possible but also manageable through online portals.
A focus on the "mass market" may not be as profitable on a per-policy basis as other types of life insurance, but it's still a huge slice of the pie, according to Insurance News Net. Estimates show these consumers alone could add $10 billion in annual premiums to the sector, but that will likely require greater outreach and consumer engagement in general.
Generally speaking, the more life insurers can do to make their offerings more consumer-friendly both in terms of tech and the flexibility of coverage options, the better off they will be when it comes to reaching a potentially untapped audience.