If a small New Zealand life insurer can do it, why don’t UK insurers do it?
Web sites with instant quotes are common, although too often the price is only an indication until the insurer has your completed proposal form.
Web sites where you can get your policy emailed to you as a full legal document, instantly, are as rare as hen’s teeth. You can do it for airline and theatre tickets, and other services, why not insurance?
For products such as health cash where the price is set, and a standard product offered, what excuse do insurers have for not being able to send you a policy by email –instantly?
For products that require underwriting, there seems to be a ready excuse. But the use of tele-underwriting and clever systems soon blows away most excuses.
The New Zealand life insurer Pinnacle Life has launched what it claims to be the first web site in the world that allows consumers to buy immediate life insurance cover online backed up by electronic underwriting. Instead of submitting an application form and waiting days for a policy to be approved and issued, they do it online and do it immediately. The revolutionary website gives consumers complete control over the buying process whilst eliminating the previously obligatory involvement of people and paper. The entire process from application to policy approval is fully electronic with consumers receiving their policies online, instantly. Visitors to the simple e-fulfillment site are greeted by a crisp, intuitive interface, which leads them through a series of typical insurance questions regarding age, health and occupation.
The process takes less than ten minutes; by the end of which full and immediate cover is granted without the need for a medical examination, unless certain specific conditions are highlighted. After processing the transaction online, the site generates an automatic email with the attached policy document.
UK life and health insurers can no longer claim that instantly underwritten cover is impossible.
Instant documents are not the only area where insurer websites and modern technology are miles apart. Search in vain for insurers that accept and reply to text messages. Look how many websites even fail to have an email address. Oh, and what you do not see is the number of insurers where online forms and emails are simply printed out in the post room and hand delivered to workers.
The generations that are in charge of many companies, their underwriting and marketing, often find their children have a better grasp of the new technology than they have. They were brought up on paper based postal systems. It is hard to change the habits and mental processes of a lifetime.
If health and life insurers really do want to sell to the younger generation then they had better start getting on the same technology wavelength as potential customers.
It is also no excuse to argue that your customer base is the older customer. Countless surveys show that these customers, often with the time to get immersed in computers, are one of the most technologically aware age groups.
We have road-tested the Pinnacle site and it does exactly what is says on the tin – quickly and efficiently. You even get to fully preview a printable copy of your own policy before being asked for payment.
So who will be the first UK health insurer to rise to the challenge??
Life insurance: Hot Topic: May 2007