4 Big Trends Shaping the Life Insurance and Annuities Industry in 2019 (and Beyond)

Digital Transformation

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The life insurance industry has been on the cusp of a revolution for a decade. In 2019, insurers are facing more pressure than ever to reinvent their businesses. With stagnant sales, increased regulations and competition, and ever-evolving customer expectations, maintaining a competitive edge requires the willingness to take advantage of the latest technology trends.

Here is where we see the biggest changes taking place—and the biggest possible points of advantage for industry leaders:

 

Customer Experience Is Critical

Insurance buyers have been marching in lockstep for years. The traditional insurance purchasing process is confusing, convoluted, difficult, and takes forever. Customers want an easier, less painful experience.

Just three years ago, LIMRA found 4 out of every 10 consumers felt intimidated by the life insurance application process. In 2018, 67% of respondents said an out-of-date website prevented them from doing business with an agent or advisor. The fact is, customer experience throughout the life insurance process has not kept up with the transformations taking place in the lives of customers as a whole.

This year, it’s all about the experience—the customer experience. Along with surface changes to the look and feel of customer interfaces, leading carriers and distributors are investing in making the entire process more simplified and efficient.

In a world where customers can apply for a mortgage on their phones and financial apps offer advice on real-time spending using geolocation, customers are looking for an Uber-like experience where they are the center of the sales process rather than the products.

Companies willing to go deeper and tackle the disparate and siloed business processes that are the underlying drivers of customer dissatisfaction will have a significant competitive edge going into the next decade. That includes innovations such as:

  • Consumer portals that walk buyers through a straightforward e-application and purchase process and empower them to make post-sale policy updates easily.
  • One-source-of-truth data that follows a customer throughout the sales lifecycle, speeding form completion and improving the quality of service an agent or advisor delivers.
  • Simple and consistent experiences from pre-sale needs analysis and illustrations through e-application, approval, and ongoing policy management—no matter what products are being purchased.

By Doug Massey, EVP, Sales and Relationship Management, Insurance Technologies