The Secret to Increasing Agent Adoption of e-Apps

  • Bill Atlee

There’s no sense in sugar-coating it, paper applications are a huge impediment to digitizing the insurance industry. To reach the level of modernization taking place in other verticals, it’s critical to shift the agent from paper to a digital experience. Nowhere is this need more prevalent than in the realm of final expense, where there is a large volume of applications, mostly on paper, for small premium and commission.

What’s holding us back? Why does the industry continue to use paper when e-Apps exist? Simply put, the issue lies in agent adoption. An insurance company can spend thousands of dollars modernizing their legacy systems, but it’s all for naught if agents continue to submit applications on paper.

Why aren’t they adopting e-Apps that seemingly provide them with an enhanced selling experience? We usually hear the excuse that these agents are older – and so are their customers – insinuating that neither party is technologically-savvy enough to submit an application electronically. We’re not buying it.

In 2018, agents have technology in the palm of their hand that allows them to complete any daily task within minutes, and they’re taking full advantage of that ability. They’re depositing checks, paying bills, ordering tickets to sporting events, and using google maps, all from their phone. They’re tech-savvy enough in their personal life, so there must be another reason they won’t leverage technology in their workday.

What we’ve found is that paper better serves them when they’re out in the field, especially when selling Final Expense policies. Paper doesn’t rely on a Wi-Fi connection. You don’t need a power cord to fill out a paper application. And paper surely doesn’t require you to sit around waiting for the applicant’s wife’s social security number, all for a low commission sale.

How do we get these agents to change their behavior and adopt a more efficient, cost-effective model, when paper gets them out the door swiftly? We need to give them a WiIfM – a “What’s in It for Me?” – and significantly enhance their experience enough to abandon the perks of paper. If we can offer agents the WiIfM, insurance companies can reap the benefits of modernization.

We recently worked with a Final Expense carrier that knew this problem well. Their agents were submitting 100,000 applications a year, all on paper, and spending an additional $50 for third-party call centers to gain voice signatures. That’s $5 million dollars a year in call center fees, and countless hours of rework for the agent.

But these Final Expense sales are valuable money that agents don’t want to leave on the table. They want that sale, so how do we create a digital experience that appeals to the agents more than paper, reduces overhead, and promotes modernization for insurance companies?

The first thing we did was removed the need for a Wi-Fi connection, by building a mobile-friendly e-App that operates on cellular data. This allows the agent to utilize their data-capable phone or tablet to complete knockout questions and finalize the policy application. No need to bring a laptop. No need for a Wi-Fi connection.

Second, we eliminated the costly, process-slowing call center. Built-in e-Signature capabilities let the applicants sign on the agent’s phone and authorize the release of FCRA records with the swipe of their finger. Our mobile solution will call out to third-party data providers to retrieve the client’s motor vehicle records, prescription history, etc., while the agent continues to fill out the insurance application on that same device.

But as we know, it doesn’t excite an agent to put things In Good Order. Speeding up the application process and reducing overhead is great, but we had to give the agents more, something that makes it worth their time to complete the application correctly. Where is their WiIfM?

It’s in instant decisioning. Our philosophy is “know before you go”. We want the agent to know the medical decision before they walk out of the prospect’s door, saving them another possible on-site visit and hours of back-and-forth to get an application completed sufficiently enough to go to underwriting.

To make this possible, we integrated our instant underwriting solution into our mobile e-App platform, allowing agents to receive a decision before they leave the first sales meeting. They can complete a Final Expense application, have it underwritten, and collect payment all in one meeting. That’s not doable when working with paper.

Fortunately, we’re no longer reliant on paper, or even a WiFi connection, to complete a Final Expense life insurance sale. Even more importantly, agents have their incentive to adopt the technology that helps you move your business into the 21st century. No more NiGO applications. No more WiFi passwords. No more call centers. No more second visits. No more outdated processes. No more struggle to get your agents to adopt technology. Know before you go.