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June 22, 2020

Time to Streamline Group Benefits Quotes

Summary:

Current, AI-based technology can cut response time for group benefits quotes by as much as 92%.

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Many insurers still have systems that grind away for ages before they cough up group benefits quotes. Brokers and underwriters insist on predictable, fast responses, and they are even more important today, with more people working from home because of the pandemic, straining networks.

If an insurer can’t streamline its process, clients will soon start getting quotes elsewhere. Brokers and MGAs are demanding. Time is money for them.

Complexity drives need for streamlining and AI

Streamlining group quotes is challenging to begin with. It’s more challenging when voluntary benefits with various options are added. Added complexity makes it even more important for insurers to choose a robust, responsive platform. It must let users quickly compare plans and see all options and rates for each employee division and class. 

Whenever possible, census data should be used to get a more accurate rate and facilitate straight-through processing from the quote to the proposal, onboarding and enrollment. That calls for artificial intelligence. AI can correct and supplement census data obtained during quoting. It can train the census scrubber to make smart decisions regarding missing and incorrect data, saving a lot of manual work.

You can’t sacrifice accuracy for speed. The two are equally vital. A more streamlined system must also help manage risk effectively. An insurer must be able to readily update it with underwriting and regulatory changes. 

Insurers need a system designed for accuracy and built for speed.

Likewise, security can’t be sacrificed. Hackers are more relentless than ever. Streamlining doesn’t mean taking the easy way out and leaving huge security gaps that put your client data at risk. Streamlining should increase security.

See also: 3-Step Framework to Manage COVID Risk  

Algorithm cuts touchpoints for better, faster results

Quoting group insurance sometimes seems more like an art than a science. But, if you boil it down to its essential steps, there is a definitive rules-based process that can be built into a responsive algorithm. This is the best method for providing comprehensive, quality quotes, fast.

Streamlining the entire process reduces the number of touchpoints among systems, which makes for a faster, more accurate experience. This, in turn, boosts usage, which ultimately leads to writing more business in less time. It also helps cut costs.

How much time can insurers save?

Here are some examples: 

  • At a medium-sized Canadian insurer, producing a typical quote for 300 lives with a menu of voluntary benefits used to take four hours. Now the same job takes just 20 minutes. That is a 92% decrease.
  • A large U.S. insurer cut quote processing times by 70% to 80%.

These and many other companies are providing more detailed, accurate and rapid service. They are selling and retaining more business.

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About the Author

Mike de Waal is president and founder of Global IQX (www.globaliqx.com), a leading software provider of web-based sales and service solutions to employee benefits insurers.

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