One solution is to embrace post-issue technology (in-force) solutions to follow the ‘policyholder’ after they become one. The foundation is information about the inforce contract; what is it, what needs to be monitored, and how can technology enable it? That needs to be readily accessible to the agency. Next comes the creative aspect: The ability to connect with policyholders’ social and banking profiles online, periodic reevaluations of coverage and even risk – this is where we have been at the forefront of developing creative ideas, and John Hancock recently introduced a program as well to collect data from policyholders on an ongoing basis through their “Vitality” program, which will provide premium credits for positive actions like fitness targets or annual checkups.
We have focused, first, on the moving parts in policy contracts. Conversion options cannot be a “gotcha” provision provided 30 days prior to expiration – or not at all. Such options must be something that the policyholder can interact with to see insight into things like the cost of “waiting” to convert, or when / if it’s beneficial to do so based on their stated goal for the coverage. Perhaps with such foresight policyholders can even be guided to put together a cash-flow plan using a tool like mint.com to plan for their conversion costs and ensure cash flow for the new cost when they’re ready. The possibilities are endless.
So what is so scary about letting the policyholder and agent interact with their own inforce information online like other financial verticals? Today, agents struggle to access inforce policy summaries, inforce illustrations, and specific contract options and dates. While we have automated much of that, there is work to be done at the carrier level. Inforce feeds need to improve, first and foremost. Once we work on the foundation – inforce information – we can begin to personalize a policyholders’ experience, tracking changes in zip code for wealth determination and so many other data points.
The bigger picture is where do we want our industry to be technologically – how do we want technology to transform the policyholder’s experience, improve their satisfaction, and make them life insurance evangelists, not monthly payers and policy numbers that we hope just forget they’re paying. By bringing policyholder-focused technology to manage inforce service and marketing, we may rock the boat, but we’ll drive revenue and make our industry sustainable for the long haul.
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