Has insurtech replaced the need for life insurance brokers?

Tech is reshaping the life insurance customer journey, including how and when we rely on agents. 

Life insurance is an industry where technology is being relied on more and more — from the application process to pricing. But does this mean the need for life insurance brokers has become obsolete? Let’s explore how tech innovation has changed the way we work with life insurance companies and how it can greatly benefit you as the customer.

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The insurance broker model

Even with the fast advancement of technology throughout our lives, most people still learn about and purchase life insurance through an insurance broker. The first step to this process is of course finding a broker and arranging a time to talk. After asking any questions you might have, the broker starts to ask a series of personal questions as part of underwriting. These include anything from your state of health, age, marital status, and much more. 

After the broker has all your information and you decide on the term and coverage that you want, they send your file to an underwriter at the actual insurance company. At the same time, your life insurance broker will usually arrange for you to receive a health screen by a medical professional. This might mean you head into a doctor’s office or they come to you. And this health check info will also be sent to the underwriter.

Finally, in a few days (or sometimes weeks) if all goes well, you will be notified that your policy application was accepted and a policy will be delivered.

The insurtech model

Many in the industry saw that these processes could become more streamlined with the use of technology. Enter insurtech. With insurtech, customers could go through the underwriting process, get approved for a policy, and receive their premium rate within minutes. In addition, having self-service as an option could lower the overhead of the company which could then trickle down to make policies less expensive. 

Having the freedom to be able to independently navigate the process is definitely convenient. As you do anything from getting a quote to filing a claim, insurtech makes all those tasks much easier and remarkably fast. And it can be really nice to have the option to do it all yourself, rather than needing to rely on others.

Let’s look at some of the areas where insurtech really shines.

Getting quotes

Before you settle down with the company of your choice, you’ll most likely start off with a little window shopping. You’ll be able to compare pricing quickly and have a few options available.

Underwriting

Once you decide on the company, you can answer the application questions online and at your own pace. Insurtech can analyze all your data quickly and efficiently.

Premiums

After you answer the questions, you’ll be able to compare premium pricing and choose the amount that is best for you and your family. Amounts could also be lower, since the company has also decreased their overhead expenses and can offer more financial flexibility and better rates.

Customer service

Many life insurance companies that allow a customer to shop online also have chat bots. It’s basically a form of artificial intelligence that answers questions you might have about your policy. They will usually have replies on deck versus immediately passing your question to an agent, that would need some time to do the research.

Filing a claim

If the time comes where a loved one has to start the claims process, they’ll be able to do so online and upload supporting documents, like a death certificate. And even if they have to talk to a claims specialist, the documents will be ready for them to review and therefore it will accelerate the death benefit payout date.

The benefits of self-service insurtech over life insurance brokers

The benefits of traditional methods combined with insurtech 

While the use of technology is becoming more mainstream within the life insurance world, many people still prefer the traditional model of being able to pick up the phone and speak to an agent. The great news is if you prefer to have the human connection as a customer, life insurance brokers are using insurtech to make their jobs more efficient and in turn make the process easier for customers.

For example, customers may have the ability to virtually chat with an agent if the AI response isn’t sufficient. While you might not be able to provide all your information that way, it’s a great way to start the conversation and have a paper trail of what you need. Agents and brokers who use AI and insurtech can also receive your documents virtually anywhere, at any time, which makes it easier to submit the information into online tools that will go directly to the underwriters. It decreases the amount of time and paperwork agents used to have to deal with. They can also use the data received via technology to get more detailed info on what customers need to get the best plan possible.

Is your digital information safe?

A lot of the hesitancy of using insurtech is the fear that your privacy would be compromised, which is legit since you are providing a lot of your personal information onto a website or app. Companies are not only embracing customer service and broker work via AI, they’re adding specific protection to their systems and devices that contain customer info. Protection is installed directly on an employee computer and ensures security continues wherever a device is physically located. Another way is making sure all portable devices are encrypted so no one can plug a USB in and download personal information.

Also, insurtech makes it possible for insurance companies to be alerted almost immediately if there’s been any security concerns and then take necessary steps to stop any breach. You can also sign up to receive alerts if there have been any security risks, where you can then contact an agent or check your online account to see what’s going on. 

Conclusion

While technology is still growing and improving within life insurance, having insurtech is an amazing new option to make an often intimidating process a lot more palatable. While insurance agents and brokers continue to play an important role within the industry, they also understand customers want and need a path to protection that is quick, efficient, and safe.  Whether you want a completely digital experience or desire a more human approach, insuretech will provide you with a journey that is convenient and beneficial.

The Wyshbox Blog

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