There are no more excuses for avoiding e-signatures, according to a recent report from Novarica. In its report, “E-Signatures Planning: A CIO Checklist Executive Brief,” the research firm writes that the technology, legal framework and customer expectations have all reached a point where carriers need to proceed in order to effectively, and cost-effectively, compete in the current marketplace.

Leading carriers have moved ahead in this space, others risk being left behind, which carries financial, operational and brand related risks, according to the report. Echoing this statement, especially in the life sector, Celent released a report earlier this year that concluded the proportion of life insurers now offering e-signatures in their dealings with customers or agents has increased to 74 percent from 47 percent over the past five years.

Novarica’s report also points to the focus on customers and agents. “Both customer and agent expectations have moved markedly in recent years and the advent of a new demographic set of consumers who expect ease of use and immediate gratification should drive carriers to action,” the report states.

To help with that action, Novarica Principal and report author, Rob McIsaac, provides a checklist along with detailed steps for CIOs and their management teams for moving forward with a successful implementation:

• Fully understand the various use case scenarios and consider the full breadth of user experiences when deciding how and where to deploy.

• Carefully study the field (sales force) environment to ensure that the selected solution(s) are flexible enough to support how people work today and how that can reasonably be expected to evolve in the future.

• Leverage learning opportunities from outside the insurance industry.

• Choose a vendor solution that has both solid placement in the marketplace and a viable roadmap to the future.

• Establish a good partnership between business units, IT teams, and legal/compliance organizations.

• Carefully evaluate how the capability will be deployed.

• Don’t underestimate issues related to change management when preparing for an implementation.

• Build a robust communication program to share success stories and further build adoption for the capability across communication channels and devices.

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