Dallas - Insurers name e-signatures and online applications; document management, workflow and imaging; and Web self-service for distributors and/or customers (portals) as the technology strategies they are very likely or likely to implement, according to a survey from Dallas-based Robert E. Nolan Co. 

The "Life & Annuity Industry Survey Findings" report says, "While e-signatures and online applications are likely to represent the largest investment, the electronic delivery of customer materials in support of the online purchase ranks somewhat lower. This is probably a direct result of the technology adoption curve, with the first priority of being online applications, transitioning to electronic delivery of materials as more consumers sign on as 'electronic customers,' bringing with them the expectations of electronic service."

Trailing close behind the aforementioned technologies were technologies that attempt to simplify the core processes involved in issuing insurance and paying agents: common consolidated front-ends (simple multi-product entry) and consolidated commission systems with accelerated electronic payment.

The report concludes that technology remains an important strategic enabler to business growth and profitability. Insurers have a desire to extend into the world of Web-based services, electronic data collection and electronic delivery as more companies incorporate these features into their core capabilities.

Other trends highlighted in the report included:


  • Shifts in demographics paired with changing customer expectations demand intensified attention for growth-oriented companies, with 95% of respondents profiling the aging of America and 88% the expansion of ethnic markets as each demanding attention.
  • Leveraging sales and marketing investments for optimal returns stands out, particularly with respect to optimizing the existing distribution channels; enhancing product features to provide competitive advantage and meet market demands; and expanding the tools, techniques and training of the existing field force.
  • Utilizing service as a competitive advantage to offset the convergence of product features and pricing stands out as one of the key differentiators of forward-thinking companies, with almost unanimous respondent agreement that speed of service will be a strategic imperative. Timeliness was followed by the need for access methods from phone, Web, e-mail and voice response to traditional written requests.

Source: Robert E. Nolan Co.

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