Lincoln Financial Taps Third-Party Data for Faster Underwriting

Many prospects for life insurance are turned off by the perception that the application process is long and invasive. Lincoln Financial Group is using big data to make it a little easier.

Part of the company’s underwriting process includes verifying information provided on the application. That typically meant that a contractor would call a prospect after they left the agent’s office and do up to a 20-minute interview.

“It usually involved the vendor interviewing you and some of your references that you provided – your neighbor, business associate, for example,” says Jordan Carreira, Lincoln’s chief underwriter. “But  you don’t know who that person is because they’re not the insurance agent. We’d get some pushback.”

Further complicating matters, if information didn’t match up, there was another round of confirmations that had to take place. Tired of driving a wedge between the company and its customers, Lincoln asked its vendors for another solution. One, Carreira says, replied that it was ready to use database calls to get a lot of the information that the company typically followed up on anyway. In February, the capability rolled out.

“They provided us with the same information within a matter of seconds,” Carreira said. “Now we longer have to call a client unless they are past age 74.”

Third-party data has been revolutionary to the life insurance industry because it allows the carrier to focus on the customer relationship instead of worrying about fraud.

“We used to get people telling us they were in a mansion,” and the company had to send people out to verify addresses, Carreira says. Now, satellite and demographic data does the work for them.

“The cost savings to us is tremendous,” Carreira says. “There really is a big difference between the cost of a telephone conversation vs. query of databases that can get back in a matter of minutes.”

Lincoln has been exploring third-party data as a way to speed up several facets of the insurance customer acquisition process. A ticketing system allows producers to outsource some of the data collection in the early application process and focus on the customer relationship.

“We’ve been committed to being industry leading, and part of that is to continue to remain on top of what’s going on in the industry to improve customer efficiency, and take a process that could take weeks to months down to minutes,” Carreira explains.

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