We continue to see significant growth in the voluntary benefits market — and that’s important not just for our company and our industry, but for America’s workers. It means an increasing number of them are getting the financial protection they and their families need.

But that growth also brings challenges, especially for individual voluntary insurance involving millions of individual transactions. At the same time that we are experiencing volume growth, today’s mobile and technology-savvy workforce expects the same 24/7 access to information and service they get from other financial services companies.

Nowhere is this more important than during the claims process: It’s where we deliver on the promise of being there for customers when they need us most. We have to make it easy for customers to get their benefits as quickly as possible, and effectively using technology can help us do that. But this isn’t a new idea: For example, Colonial Life has been paying many claims in just a day for more than a decade. When you combine accident, health and wellness claims, we paid a majority of those claims in 2014 in just a day.

Where we do see new technology having a major impact is in communication: helping customers understand their coverage and get the information they want, when and how they want it. Here are some examples:

• Online — New capabilities allow customers to complete claims forms online, track the claims process through e-correspondence, and have claims deposited directly into their bank accounts.

• On the go — New apps allow customers to access all the website capabilities from their mobile devices, including capabilities such as uploading supporting documents.

• On the phone — More customer-friendly interactive voice response systems can simplify customers’ choices, make it easier to use self-service tools and provide access to a service representative if needed. And automated outbound calling systems can keep customers informed when their claims are received and paid.

• On paper — Making written communication clear, concise and simple helps customers understand the claims process and reduces their need to follow up with calls and emails.

OK, that last one isn’t really using new technology — it’s using good, old-fashioned common sense. And that’s really the point. New technology is helping us serve more customers better and faster than ever before, but all the technology in the world won’t help if they don’t understand the information they access. The best claims service comes from the right balance of high-tech and high-touch, and our associates are doing a great job using all the tools we’re rolling out to service our customers effectively.

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