Digital signatures are a legally binding way to affirm your agreement to PDF documents. Agents and carriers alike use them to enhance communications and streamline transaction processing.  If agents have been a bit slow on the uptake for adoption, however, it could be because the iPad wasn’t available to them—until now.

Silanis Technology, a provider of electronic signature process management solutions to the insurance industry, went on the record today touting the iPad as the key to agents’ mass adoption of electronic signatures—a move that Silanis says will significantly reduce application cycle times, not-in-good-order (NIGO) applications, and processing costs.

“While some of our insurance customers are seeing solid e-signature adoption rates in their agent channel, it lags the 90% adoption that the direct-to-consumer channel is seeing,” said Tommy Petrogiannis, CEO and founder of Silanis Technology. “The iPad promises to significantly drive acceptance upward.”

The independent agent channel is often responsible for the majority of an insurance carrier’s revenue, yet, says Silanis, that channel has been the most challenging to automate until now. With all of the advancements in e-signature technology, Silanis forecasts that 85% of carriers will have an e-application in place within the next two years, and proven ROI in the direct channel. 

The high cost of proprietary tablet PCs and limited internet connectivity have made it more difficult for agents to drop their pens in favor of a paperless, electronic process when closing business with customers in their homes or in a public space.

“Silanis has worked closely with insurance carriers over the years to understand their challenges and requirements, both in the direct and agent channels,” said Petrogiannis. “The iPad delivers the price, mobile Web connectivity and ease-of-use agents are looking for. And as the year goes on, we’ll see more and more vendors launching similar devices, giving agents even more choice.”

Silanis offers its technology as a common platform to both agents and carriers. Using the iPad, agents can access all of the required application documents directly from the insurer’s e-application, rather than have to carry a briefcase filled with paper applications with them at all times.

The Silanis’ solution then electronically presents the documents in the right order, prompts customers to enter the required data, and then “click-to-sign” in all the right places by tapping on the iPad touch-screen. The system also prevents applications from being returned to carriers if they are missing any documents, data, initials or signatures, thereby eliminating the need to chase after customers to correct the paperwork.

Silanis reports that it’s been focused on agent automation for the last two years and will be announcing a number of new solutions for its E-signature Process Management platform in the coming months that will finally enable carriers to achieve comparable e-signature adoption rates in the agent channel as experienced by the direct channel.

DocuSign, another popular e-signature technology company, also affirms using DocuSign’s electronic signature services on the Apple iPad. Doug Rybacki, director of product management for DocuSign, confirmed that DocuSign subscribers can create DocuSign envelopes on the iPad and it works well for templates and sending for eSignature with Freeform signing.

At some point, say technology experts, the coding process for e-signatures will evolve even further, giving carriers and agents the ability to personalize their sales approach. Currently, notes MacWorld, the iPad also offers the ability to affix your real handwritten signature in digital signatures.

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