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Insurers Focus on Helping Agents Get Faster

Recent implementations by Lincoln Financial Group and EMPLOYERS show insurers recognizing agents' desire to compete on processing speed.

Insurance buyers want speed above all else, which has led many insurers to invest heavily in direct sales platforms. This understandably makes agents wary, but many insurers remain contributed to agent distribution and are taking steps to help their sales forces compete and succeed.

Lincoln Financial Group, which has never been shy about its commitment to the agent channel, announced another producer-focused upgrade today: a new e-ticket system for its hybrid life insurance policies, and an e-delivery "Try-it" promotion for its life insurance and hybrid life insurance policies.

The new e-ticket system uses AFFIRM technology from Aplifi and is designed to shorten the application process and reduce the need for follow-up. The technology "automatically generates all required state and product forms, allows for a flexible workflow to support customer-specific processes, and provides advisors with the ability to quickly upload their illustrations," according to a statement. It also contains e-signature capabilities.

Meanwhile, the "Try-it" promotion expand Lincoln Financial's relationship with iPipeline to include the PolicyEX e-delivery system. Lincoln is already a client of the iGo e-App for electronic submission. PolicyEX delivers policy documents in a number of electronic forms, including mobile view.

"Lincoln's long-term strategy is to continue investing in a comprehensive electronic strategy to further streamline the process from submission to issue," said Nathan Brown, VP, Technology Solutions and Project Management, Underwriting and New Business, Lincoln Financial Group, in a statement. "Electronic alternatives have the potential to transform the traditional paper-based life insurance sales model, with cost and time savings, as well as competitive advantages."

[Lincoln Financial exec talks innovating on illustration tools]

Commercial insurance is also increasingly going direct, but is still largely dependent on agents to decipher complex products. EMPLOYERS Holdings, a Nevada-based worker's compensation carrier, upgraded its web-based underwriting portal, EACCESS, to include a faster way of generating quotes for agents.

The faster quoting system is a product of implementing AgencyPortal, a software designed to execute business transactions made by Boston-based AgencyPort. New features of the product include customizable dashboards, access to claims information and marketing material, and loss runs.

"EMPLOYERS has strived to improve processes and find new ways to empower our employees and agents so they can ultimately better serve and support small businesses," said Richard P. Hallman, senior vice president, chief information officer, EMPLOYERS, in a statement.

This article contains reporting by Zarna Patel

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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Nathan Golia
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Nathan Golia,
User Rank: Author
8/9/2013 | 1:20:52 PM
re: Insurers Focus on Helping Agents Get Faster
Yep, and even more than that, the companies have to make the case for consumers to start the conversation about these complex products in an "old-fashioned" channel. My wife has a standing order for laundry detergent on Amazon so we never have to remember it (and it's super annoying when we run out). Considering the development of that kind of buying behavior, how can you convince someone that it's the right time to find an agent and spend an hour talking over their options when they see that you can buy things like auto insurance online? That's why Lincoln and others are working so hard to make the agent experience seamless and fast.
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
8/6/2013 | 8:14:54 PM
re: Insurers Focus on Helping Agents Get Faster
As long as customers are in need of complex products, companies are going to have to invest in training staff and giving them tools to help them perform their jobs quicker and more efficiently.
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