What Is Life Insurance Straight Through Processing?

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By Ken Leibow – September 1, 2019

Broker World Magazine 

 

I get asked all the time: “What is life insurance straight through processing (STP)?” The answer varies because there are different perspectives based on whether you are a carrier, vendor, BGA, agent or consumer. Life insurance STP has evolved quickly because of the advancement of insurtech, with each piece contributing to the next phase (Term Ticket Model, Accelerated Underwriting—Predictive Automated Underwriting, Digital Sales Platform). So, let’s explore the different types of STP, the benefits today and the trends for the future.

 

Term Ticket Model
In the Distribution world, Straight Through Processing was defined as a Drop-Ticket or Term-Ticket during its peak years from 2011-2016—running a term insurance quote, then clicking a button to do an abbreviated eApp, and then ePolicy delivery. A term ticket is not a full eApp. The term ticket platform may be a proprietary platform like Legal & General AppAssist or a multi-carrier platform like iPipeline iGO. Basically, it involves filling out questions for most of a Part 1 and replacement information, then asking the best time to call your client. The data and pre-filled forms are sent to a call center at the carrier or a third-party service provider like ExamOne for example. The client gets a call that typically lasts 30 minutes or less. The person conducting the tele-interview asks questions to complete the Part 1 and the medical questions for the Part II of the life insurance application. The interviewer follows a reflective script. Signatures are captured for the medical authorization in some cases, and for all the relevant forms, via Voice Signature. The interviewer also schedules the Paramed exam.

 

Once the underwriter receives the lab slip from the exam, with the results from blood drawn from the client, and reviews all the necessary information captured in the interview, then they approve the case—unless the underwriter determines additional information is needed like a copy of medical records from a doctor or hospital (APS). If the case is approved as applied for, and the client has provided his or her email address and opted in for eDelivery, then a notification either goes out to the BGA, agent or client via email depending on the eDelivery workflow setup. The eDelivery process for the client is a ceremony of consenting to eDelivery, even though they already opted in, reviewing the policy, paying the balance of premium due either by credit card or EFT, and then eSigning the delivery requirements like an amendment or delivery receipt. The client then saves or prints their policy. The agent is notified, the case is placed in force, and commissions are paid. This is one example of Term Ticket STP, however each carrier has slight variations of the process described above, and different distribution channels, like direct marketers, have a modified version of a Term Ticket STP. Essentially, it’s the same model.

 

Benefits to the BGA and Agent:

  • Cases submitted in good order;
  • Handing off fulfillment to focus on sales;
  • Faster cycle time;
  • Higher placement ratio;
  • No chasing down delivery requirements—especially premiums;
  • Commissions paid faster;
  • Reduce travel costs in delivering a policy; and,
  • Seamless experience.

 

Benefits to the Carrier:

  • Cases submitted in good order;
  • Control over the fulfillment process;
  • Higher conversion rate from interview to exam;
  • Faster cycle time;
  • Higher placement ratio;
  • Ease of doing business; and,
  • Reduced costs of mailing and printing policies.

 

This article was originally published by Broker World Magazine, September 1, 2019. To read the complete article, then please click the Button below:

Place More Business And Get Paid Commissions Faster Using Life Standard Data Messages

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By Ken Leibow, InsurTech Express

 

It’s easy to think that this is over simplified, but if you want to place more life insurance business and get paid commissions faster, then you need to eliminate paper! Use eApp instead of submitting a paper application; don’t send licensing and contracting forms via mail or email—do it electronically on a platform like SureLC by SuranceBay; eDeliver life policies rather than mailing or hand delivering paper policies; and process commissions from a carrier’s commission data feed instead of manually using paper commission statements. Trading partners in the life insurance industry have their administration systems and distribution platforms interconnected by using insurance data exchanges that move data seamlessly via standard messages. What you get is speed, accuracy and reduced labor costs.

 

Accelerate Cycle Time with eApp and eDelivery
There are several ways to submit life business electronically such as using an eApp or eTicket platform plugged into one or more fulfillment models like a tele-interview, accelerated underwriting or predictive underwriting with auto-issue. Whether the agent is submitting the business on a single carrier platform like CBLife QuickApp or a multi-carrier platform like iPipeline iGO, the data is being transmitted to the fulfillment center or directly to the carrier using a standard data message. This data automatically populates the recipient’s admin system in good order, auto-creating the case and triggering requirement ordering or ultimately policy issue. Cycle time compared to processing paper is at least 60 times faster resulting in up to 85 percent placement of paid business.

Delivering life policies electronically (eDelivery) benefits carriers, agencies, agents and consumers. The cost savings are huge; there is also a decrease in NTO rates, better customer experience, tighter legal and compliance control, and commissions are paid faster. Here are some impressive eDelivery statistics:

  • 70 percent reduction in cycle time.
  • 55 percent of the eDelivered polices are being completed within 48 hours.
  • Consumer opt out rate is below 10 percent.
  • 95 percent of agents repeat use (Stickiness).
  • Reissue time is significantly decreased.
  • Eliminates the cost of postage and transportation.
  • Higher placement rate (ePayment).
  • No need to chase down delivery requirements.

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