Digital Strategy: Key Questions Insurance Industry Should Consider Before Going Digital (Part 3)

Digital strategy for going digital

If you’ve been following the series you should have some solid background information on why you should go digital, but how do you leverage this to make a successful digital strategy?
Currently, almost half of insurers have no single cohesive digital strategy— today we’re going to try and change this. But, we’re going to do much more than talk. We’re going to put your knowledge to the test, and help guide you on how to make your own successful digital strategy.
In this third instalment, we’ll gauge your overall digital readiness and answer some key questions that should be considered before you implement your strategy.

Digital Strategy Maturity Model

Before making your digital strategy, you should have a clear understanding of your current position. This will help you make better more informed decisions, and give you a strong grasp on your digital readiness— so you can develop a successful strategy long-term.
EY, a global leader in consulting and advisory services, distinguished 4 key elements you should assess:

  1. Corporate strategy
  2. Customer strategy
  3. Enabling capabilities
  4. Digital roadmap

To grow from a digitally stunted strategy to digitally mature, these four parts need to be aligned, and optimized. Currently, American insurers have a high degree of variance with their overall digital maturity, and with their digital strengths and weaknesses.
Don’t know what I’m talking about? Don’t worry, in our recent post I explained each segment in detail and discussed why they’re crucial for your strategy’s success.
Want to know how digitally mature your company is? Well, we brought this model to life and created an interactive digital readiness scorecard! Check it out and see where you line up. Added bonus: we’ll also throw in some tips and tricks to help push you further along in your digital maturity!

Before Going Digital: What’s Your Plan?

EY also recently asked insurance firms some thought provoking questions:  

  1. Ambition: Where do you want to be on the Digital Maturity Model? Do you have a clear view of what “digital” aims to achieve?
  2. Priorities: Do you know which customers, products, channels and customer trigger points require digital attention- and which do not? What are your competitors doing in this space?

Know Your Digital Strategy Plan

A full digital transformation requires full dedication and determination. Everyone must be onboard and ready to give their all. But before you can get everyone on the same page, you need to outline your long-term objectives and goals.
You should have a clear vision of where on the digital maturity model you want to be long-term. There is a wide range of possibilities, as you can focus on the model as a whole or on individual segments separately. Whatever end goal you choose, it should be closely tied with all your other strategies and support overall business aspirations.
Understanding where you lie on the digital readiness scorecard is crucial. You should not only have a general knowledge of how digitally ready your business is, but you should also be keenly aware of how you perform in each individual element. By knowing where you are and where you want to be, you can better understand what digital aims to achieve in order to reach your end goal.
You should focus your initial attention towards the fundamentals of your business. Look at your current brand equity, competitive position and brand performance. It may also be a good idea to conduct an internal SWOT analysis of your company. Through this, you can better see where you need to improve and set concrete objectives. After this, you can set a definitive digital vision. Outline your strategies to achieve your defined objectives and any dependencies, obstacles or risks that may occur. Additionally, you should create a firm and detailed budget. In doing so, you can divide up all the responsibilities to the needed people, increasing individual accountability. You should communicate your strategy and ambition to your staff, partners and customers to manage expectations and improve employee cohesiveness.

Know Your Priorities

During the transition, things may become pretty hectic. Before this happens, it’s important that you know exactly what objectives to tackle first. The success of your digital transformation almost entirely hinges on your ability to set objectives and follow through. Some objectives to consider include:

  1. Customer

According to EY, the biggest drivers of digital strategies are improving customer experience, building long-term customer relationships and regaining more control over these relationships. In order to do so, you need to have a deep understanding of your customer base. You should clearly outline your intended target audience and understand their needs, behaviours, values and expectations.
You should also have a firm grasp on your customers’ trigger points, as they can show opportunities in your customer’s buying process. You can start by identifying a buyer persona, and deeply know their buying habits and their decision process. Through this, you can understand what motivates them to purchase and create targeted messages and content for that trigger. Even better, you can work to create the trigger yourself. Moreover, these triggers should be ingrained into your overall marketing strategy. The right message should be delivered to the right person, at the right time. This can help insurers accurately predict their sales forecasts, and better help them in attracting new customers.

  1. Product & Service

You can use the power of digital to test the efficiency of any and all of your products and services. Through this, you can better see what’s doing well, and what needs some improvement. This insight will also help you in creating any new products and services, as you know exactly what works and what doesn’t.

  1. Channel

First, you should outline the breadth and depth of your envisioned channels and know how much resources will be needed to keep them updated and maintained. It’s extremely crucial to not over-estimate your resources at this stage, as you do not want to be in a situation where certain channels are neglected, or your overall communication effectiveness is hindered. The specific channels you choose depends on the content you want to share. Each channel has a different atmosphere, purpose and set of social norms. In essence, users connect with every channel differently. For example, LinkedIn may be a more suitable channel to target B2B customers than Facebook. You should evaluate all of your channel options, and select the one most appropriate and fitting towards your intended target audience and overall objectives. In the beginning, you may need to experiment with a couple of different channels until you find the one that works the best for you. Moreover, all of your channels should be integrated with each other. Customers expect to have the same experience with your brand regardless of the channel, so consistency is key.
Along the same lines, you should probably prioritize a mobile strategy. A whopping 65% of purchase journeys start on a smartphone, and by 2020 four out of five people will own a mobile phone. Currently, less than one-third of insurers have a distinct mobile strategy— meaning there is a huge opportunity waiting for you!

Know Your Competition

You should be aware of what your competitors are doing with their digital strategy, and how well it’s being executed. This can work as a baseline for you to gauge industry activity and may uncover some initiatives you should be participating in. Moreover, this can determine areas of opportunity, and points of potential differentiation.

A good digital strategy is one that can adapt to industry changes, and that is aligned with your overall business objectives.
The first step: calculate your digital readiness. Last step? Sit back and watch your business skyrocket.
Miss Part 2? Learn more about why analytics are fundamental to your strategy, and how to optimize their use from our previous post in the series!  
Looking to go digital? Sign-up now and get free access to Signority’s Business Plan.

Digital Signature Solutions for SMEs (Part 1)

Learn benefits for using digital signature solutions for SMEs

Name any industry and I can almost guarantee they would benefit from digital signature solutions. But for the sake of saving us time, I’ll just cover 5 industries today and the benefits of using digital signature solutions for SMEs.
eSignatures increase efficiency, security, customer satisfaction, all while saving time, money and effort. Not to mention all the environmental benefits from ditching paper!

See how using digital signature solutions for SMEs can streamline your daily operations:

  1. Medical marijuana

The very existence of medical marijuana businesses proves the traditional way of doing things is not always the best. It’s only fitting for this new up and coming industry to use innovative signature signing, eSignatures! With eSignatures, you can register new clients and patients quickly, from any location and any device. You can also better manage patient information, by using a secure and centralized storage space. Remove barriers for new client sign ups, and watch your business light up (pun intended).

  1. Insurance

By using electronic signatures, insurance firms and agents can sign more customers, faster. They can bypass traditional time delays (like scanning), drastically reduce the need for paperwork, send automated reminders to recipients, and reduce the number of uncompleted documents, accelerating the entire signing process. They strengthen collaboration between all parties, streamlining the entire process. This also improves the overall customer experience. Not only will they receive their contracts sooner, but they also have the flexibility of signing from any device, anywhere! With this in mind, nearly 9 out of 10 customers would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. Unsurprisingly, digital signature solutions for SMEs can make completing contracts 80% faster. On top of everything, eSignatures are extremely secure and safe. They require ID authentication and record tamper-proof audit trails.

  1. Freelancers

The life of the average freelancer probably involves excessive amounts of paperwork with multiple parties. Trying to juggle this with client expectations, administrative tasks and self-promotion can be extremely overwhelming. Work smarter, not harder with eSignatures: impress clients, save time on tedious document signing, cut administrative costs, and improve overall efficiency. With their in-depth audit trail and centralized storage, you will always be on the ball, with little risk of something getting lost in the shuffle. Bonus, they can also help you get paid faster!

  1. Real estate

eSignatures can quickly change for sale signs to sold. You can finalize contracts faster by removing logistical barriers and sharing documents effortlessly, making document signing easier for clients. Track the status of your documents, send reminders to customers when necessary, and warn clients when important information is missing (like that last initial!). Since your documents can be stored in one location, you can use past documents as a reference for future transactions.

  1. Law

Using electronic signatures can benefit law firms, their employees and clients. Employees will no longer have to waste their time filling out tedious paperwork, and clients will not have to visit the office in order to sign. Furthermore, eSignatures are more enforceable, traceable, confidential, and, hence, secure- increasing customers trust.
Using digital signature solutions for SMEs is basically a no-brainer. No matter what industry, eSignatures improve overall business functions while cutting costs and enhancing customer experience.
Basically, paper signatures are the new carrier pigeon.
Stay tuned for Part 2, where I’ll discuss more industries and how they can also be enhanced by eSignatures.
If you want to learn more, check out our page on how digital signature solutions work and how it benefits your business!
Looking to take your business paperless? Sign-up now and get free access to Signority’s Business Plan.

Digital Analytics: Key Questions Insurance Industry Should Consider Before Going Digital (Part 2)

Digital Analytics - Key Questions and Considerations for the Insurance Industry

If you’ve been following the series, you have a general baseline on how going digital can improve your overall business functions, but how can you gauge how well your investment is operating?
The answer: Digital Analytics!
The success of your digital strategy depends almost entirely on your implementation of meaningful digital analytics. They allow you to gauge your success and shortcomings, so you can allocate effort and resources where they’re needed.
Why hinge your organization’s success on assumptions, when you can base your decisions off of facts?
This second series will discuss the various stages of digital analytics implementation, as well as key questions that should be considered to optimize their use.

Stages of Implementing Digital Analytics

Understanding and getting ahead in analytics does not solely mean focussing on your website analytics. Although, you should definitely pay attention to your Google Analytics and optimise for increasing conversion.
In order to go fully digital, using analytics effectively means making the call to gather data from your entire range of channels, including website conversions, social media, online advertising, contract turnaround times, and contact data.

Stage 1: The Basics

When you begin implementing digital analytics, you should first focus on building a strong foundation analytics. Start by mapping out your operations process, from lead to customer. Break apart the process by identifying crucial touchpoints, for example, those touchpoints could be when a lead enters your sales funnel (Lead) and when the lead converts to a paying customer (Customer). From here you’ll have to start measuring the time taken for the actual conversion and assign it to the corresponding touchpoint.
Keeping track of these touchpoints and analysing the data regularly allows you to understand your operational flow and identify sectors or departments that require optimisation.

Stage 2: Lay the Groundwork

Once you have identified key touchpoints, now it’s time to begin tagging all of your pages, to obtain baseline information on how your users interact with each page. For example, you can see which of your pages are the most popular. Tools like Google Analytics and Mix Panel can help during the tagging process, by checking and alerting you about broken tags- so you never unintentionally neglect data! Keep in mind, solely using web analytics is not enough. The majority of the data you receive is descriptive and does not give you any actionable or meaningful insight. The ultimate goal is to build your web analytic strategy into a fully digital strategy. In doing so, the data you collect will be more useful, more in-depth, and can better guide your decision making. Instead of just knowing which pages are popular, you will be able to understand why. And, in turn, how to improve the pages that are not!
The most successful insurance businesses are fully aware that information is the lifeblood of the industry. Knowing when and how long a lead turns into a customer is absolutely crucial to understand bottlenecks in your sales process. You can start this process by moving from paper to a digital signature solution. This allows you to see the time it takes for a contract to be signed (I.e. Lead to Customer) in real time, streamline the process for your customer, and also give you an overarching look into your sales funnel.
Read how you can go paperless here.

Stage 3: Analytics Pro

Congratulations, you’ve almost made it to the finish line! It’s time to integrate multi-channel and multi-touch digital analytics across all your business platforms. In order for you to completely personalize and optimize your customer interactions, it is imperative that you fully understand their buying patterns/behaviours and preferences. As such, there should be a strong emphasis on customer and user analytics. Moreover, digital analytics provide predictive data. Meaning, you can better understand and foresee new customer trends, behaviours, and anticipate future outcomes, optimizing your efforts. IBM‘s Digital Analytics provide advanced analytics by tracking visitor behaviour over time, and across multiple touchpoints and channels. This tool can also compare your success with competitors, and give recommendations when warranted.

Before Going Digital: What’s Your Plan?

EY, a global leader in tax and advisory services, recently asked insurance firms some thought provoking questions:  

  1. Are you rolling out analytics in tandem with digital?
  2. Do you have the right capabilities in place- — a strong analytics team & supporting tools?
  3. Are you capturing, storing and using current customer data to maximum value?

Before implementing digital analytics, you should have a general idea of how to approach each question. Since there’s no better time than the present, let’s get started:

Measure Your ROI With Digital Analytics

By 2019, global investments for digital transformations will amount to $2.1 trillion– with 70% of these initiatives predicted to fail! With this in mind, less than 15% of companies can quantify their digital initiatives ROI with traditional methods. It is more imperative than ever to start using digital analytics to gauge your investments ROI. You can see where you’re making money, cutting costs or, brace yourself… where you’re losing money. In essence, you can clearly see what’s working, and what isn’t, and how well your investment is paying off. As such, you can make improvements where necessary, and hold relevant people accountable. Some analytics you may want to track include: conversion rates, customer satisfaction, reduction in time costs, percent of revenue coming directly from digital channels, and percent of revenue enabled from digital channels.

Build Strong Digital Analytic Teams & Supporting Tools

You’re only as strong as your weakest link, so don’t limit your strategy’s potential with poor teams or supporting tools.

People

The entire organization must be on board and supportive of the digital shift. Your organization’s culture must transform toward a digital-centric and customer-focused model. Aside from the obvious need for technical skills, the analytics team must have a deep understanding of your organizational goals, and of customer wants and needs. Only then can they properly leverage and interpret the data in a way that’s meaningful towards future success. Moreover, they may be the only employees who realize potential opportunities and weaknesses. In order for them to relay the results in a clear and effective way, they must have strong communication skills.

Tools

There are various tools you can use to support your overall analytical process. First off, Foresee can help you make needed improvements and revisions, by interpreting your analytics results. Matplotlib can help with data visualization, which would otherwise be time-consuming and tedious to create. Smart panda labs can help your team maximize its use of Optimizely. Smart Panda Labs help implement, personalize, troubleshoot, analyze results, and even provide recommendations accordingly.

Maximize Value by Using Quality Customer Data

Your results are only as good as your data. Currently, insurers are not taking advantage of the full potential of digital support. In fact, insurers rate themselves less than 2 out of 5, for overall customer experience. They are failing to communicate with customers during critical points in their buying process, and, consequently, missing out on huge opportunities. By using quality customer data, insurers can better understand their customers and properly communicate during all steps of the buying process. Accurate customer data allows you to better target your customers, decreasing costs and increasing conversion rates. Moreover, capturing, storing and utilizing current customer data gives deeper insights into the buying habits of your customers, giving you more accurate predictions of future behaviour. Unsurprisingly, according to McKinsey & Company, companies that effectively use customer analytics are more likely to outperform their competitors on key performance metrics, including profit, sales, sales growth, and ROI! In fact, with the use of customer analytics, profit and ROI almost double.
All in all, digital analytics are essential to fully maximize your digital transformation. They give you an in-depth understanding of what’s working, what’s not, and how to improve. Why do it the hard way when you don’t have to?
Like the saying goes, “assumption is the mother of all mistakes”.

Miss Part 1? Don’t worry, you can read more about how going digital can save you time, money and effort all while improving your customer’s experience from our previous post in the series!
Looking to go digital? Sign-up now and get free access to Signority’s Business Plan.

Technology: Key Questions the Insurance Industry Should Consider Before Going Digital (Part 1)

With the explosion of technology and rapid increase in online spending, a completely digital future is inevitable. In this series, we aim to answer key questions, examine various business and technology trends in the insurance industry, and breakdown critical statistics to help you take your business digital.  
In the first of this series, we discuss key questions that you need to consider before going digital.

Going digital with your insurance business and what you need to consider

Why does it seem like the insurance industry is stuck in the Stone Age?
With 40% of the world online, and more than 4 billion people connecting to the Internet every day, the future is undoubtedly digital. Consumers are already embracing the digital age, and expect companies to follow suit. In fact, before purchasing insurance 71% of consumers use some form of digital research to learn more about their options, and scope out company’s online presence. Research also shows that digitalizing your company can improve conversion rates by 20%, decrease cost reduction by 65% and shorten insurance processes by 90%. Unsurprisingly, there is a direct correlation between positive future growth and an implementation of technology.
Considering 79% of insurance firms believe they are behind the digital times, there is a huge opportunity for you to gain competitive advantage. Plus, going digital doesn’t have to break the bank.
Let’s start with the fun stuff and go over how dropping paper or going digital can help your organization save money:

Paper Vs. Digital Documents

Paper documents are more expensive, less efficient and less secure than digital. Unsurprisingly, without the use of paper, your office will drastically reduce the need for ink, printers, and, drum roll please… paper! If these seem like small expenses to you, the average employee goes through 10,000 sheets of paper per year, amounting to a whopping $80 per employee. With these eye-opening numbers in mind, 47% of managers agree that the cost of paper is a major negative, with 61% saying they would welcome going fully digital. Paper is also less secure, as it can easily be forged, damaged and lost. According to GRM, 15% of all papers handled by individual businesses were lost, and it cost around $120 per company in labour to find them (and $220 to finally replace them). Is it really that hard to believe that paper would also be less efficient? Paper takes time to write (and find), print, send, and takes up space in the office, prolonging the entire process.
Going digital saves you time, money, effort and gives your important documents the protection they need. With digital documents, you are able to streamline distribution, sharing, information, tracking, and editing. Added bonus, no cluttered overfilled storage cabinets! All your files will be online, which you can access from anywhere, anytime. Leaving your employees with more time to do the important things, like attracting new clients and building stronger relationships with existing ones.

Before Going Digital: What’s Your Plan?

EY, a global leader in tax and advisory services, recently asked insurance firms some thought provoking questions:  

  1. Have you identified preferred platforms that align with a digital strategy?
  2. Can your operating model quickly detect and respond to shifting customer demand in digital space? If not, how can you develop this?

Before going digital, you should have an answer to the above questions. This may take some time, so let’s get started:

Preferred Platforms that Align with a Digital Strategy

Going digital may seem like an uphill climb, but there are plenty of resources out there to make things easier. These resources can help you at every step of the way, including your customer engagement, your customer onboarding, and your digital marketing strategy.
Nowadays, customers need and expect, a channel to openly communicate with companies.  Customer engagement builds trust and positively increases your company’s reputation. As such, you are able to attract new customers, build stronger meaningful relationships with existing ones and better personalize your content in the future. Therefore, you can better upsell and cross-sell to prospective clients. Moreover, customers research different policies and options before deciding, and they want to have the ability to easily communicate with a company representative to answer any questions they might have. Unsurprisingly, Gallup found that fully engaged customers are more loyal, and more profitable than the average customer. Increasing customer loyalty is especially important for insurance companies, as their average rate of retention is 10% lower than that of any other industry. Considering it can cost up to 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an already existing one, this is a huge loss of profits. Luckily, there are tons of available tools that can help you. The company Aspire focuses its efforts on CRM and offers customer SMS messaging, social media integration and personalized reminders (so you’ll never miss a chance to wish your client a happy birthday!).
You should always prioritize customer experience. With the amount of freedom and choice, the average customer has, successful customer onboarding is increasingly important. Nearly 9 out of 10 customers say they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. Successful onboarding leads to a smooth and positive customer experience throughout their entire journey. As such, this generates customer loyalty, meaningful customer relationships, and generates more leads. Companies like Accenture allow you to reach your full potential and give customers the experience they want and expect. This service can help you create differentiated and compelling user experiences that increase engagement while lowering your transaction costs.
If you haven’t at least started to implement a digital marketing strategy, you are greatly missing out. Digital marketing allows you to reach specific target segments, expand your reach, and easily monitor your results. Through this, you can increase conversion rates, decrease cost per leads and build a positive brand reputation.
Oh, and did I mention you can do all of this, and save money?
A staggering 40% of small- to medium-sized businesses admitted to saving considerably by using digital marketing instead of traditional methods. Digital marketing also levels the playing field for small to medium sized businesses, allowing you to compete against the big guys. If that doesn’t convince you, let me throw in some numbers. It has been shown that companies who utilize a digital marketing strategy have 2.8 times higher revenue growth than those who do not, and, specifically, small to medium sized businesses have 3.3 times higher overall business growth rates. Companies like Applied can help implement your digital marketing strategy, by using simple digital marketing tools to not only increase your brand awareness but also to build a stronger brand reputation. This is done by helping you build professional websites, interact with customers, and use banner ads to upsell and cross-sell your products.

Digital Friendly Operating Model

You probably know by now, that digitizing your brokerage’s operation models can a significant, positive impact on your profit margins. Let’s take a look at some average day to day activities, and see how digitalizing your company can improve them:

1. Paperwork

Ahh paperwork, everyone’s favourite past time… perhaps, in an alternative universe.
But in this one, paperwork can be tedious, mundane, and frankly, can waste a lot of your precious time. Stop living in the past, and take advantage of one of the biggest trends to hit the insurance industry, eSignatures. eSignature companies, like Signority, offer a wide range of services that allow you and your business to fully transform into a paperless office. Digital documents enable you to quickly send contracts to customers, bypass time delays (like scanning or mailing) and send reminders to customers to sign. Additionally, you will no longer have to waste time analyzing forms to make sure all the required fields are filled in, let the software do it for you! You can also save time by building standard document templates, and by organizing all of your files in one central location. On the customer end, they will have the ability to complete forms from any location, and on any device.
As mentioned previously, experts agree online document services can be more secure than old-fashioned hard copies. Signority provides a detailed tamper-proof audit trail, that lets you know where, when and how your document is being used. You also have access to timestamps, user IDs and Ip addresses. Moreover, you can safely store all of your documents in the cloud, keeping them out of harm’s way (and ensuring they won’t be misplaced).

2. Communicate with Underwriting Team

As you may know, internal communication is extremely important. Since communicating with the underwriting team is probably a major part of your job, utilize digital technology and work smarter, not harder. Online communication tools like Slack can make your communication process as smooth and quick as possible. Slack allows you to organize conversations in channels, send direct messages, and even make calls. You can also drop and share any and all file types, and quickly search for important messages through your archives. Slack can be downloaded, and synced, on any platform (mobile, desktop, etc.). Through this, you can drastically shorten the communication process with your underwriting team, saving you time and effort.

3. Communicate with Current Customers  

According to Ryan Hanley, a prominent digital marketer — new insurance buyers want better digital communication and interaction. By going digital, you can open up a streamlined 24/7 communication line with your customers. This can increase customer satisfaction, resulting in long-lasting relationships, which, in turn, can create customer brand ambassadors. You can also implement an automated selling engine, enabling customers to build their own insurance policy, saving you precious time. Automated notification lists can also be implemented. For example, you can notify customers when their policies are expiring. Through this, you can increase your re-purchase rate and speed up the buying process. Clients can also digitize their claims. For example, when a client has been in an accident they can file a claim directly at the scene, speeding up the whole process.

4. Attract New Customers

A vital part of your job is to attract new customers; by digitalizing your process, you are able to connect with new customers farther and faster. Moreover, with the use of digital signature solutions, completing contracts is 80% faster; so you can register new clients faster! There are also ample opportunities for you to create innovative features to attract new customers. As explained by Harvard Business Review, Progressive has made buying insurance easier, by allowing potential customers to send photo’s of their driver’s license to generate quotes for their auto insurance.
Don’t be scared of change, embrace it! Going digital can save you and your company time, money, effort, and stress, all while improving your customer’s experience. Welcome all these new opportunities, go digital!

Your biggest challenge will be to figure out what to do with all your excess paper. My suggestion? After your profits skyrocket, throw a celebratory bonfire (using the paper as kindling, of course).  
Looking to go digital? Sign-up now and get free access to Signority’s Business Plan.

The 4 Biggest Emerging Insurance Trends and Its Implications

Top 4 Emerging Insurance Trends

Emerging trends, such as driverless cars, P2P insurance and electronic signatures, have disrupted the usually steady world of insurance. But how exactly have these emerging insurance trends affected and changed the industry?

Let’s take a look at some of the emerging insurance trends!

Driverless Cars

Since the emergence of Tesla’s electric cars and the way they took the automotive market by storm, competitors and disruptors, and Tesla themselves, are looking into introducing fully autonomous cars as soon as two years time. Naturally, this changes things significantly for the insurance world. As this market continues to develop, insurers will need to consider potential risks to drivers, passengers and cars, as well as who (or what) is ultimately held responsible.

Driverless Cars Explained

Driverless cars sense their surroundings through integrated circuits and advanced technology, without the help of human input. As such, they provide users with a safer and more convenient means of transportation. Their way of operation includes different levels of autonomy:

  1.     Driver only – self-explanatory
  2.     Driver assistance – automated only for steering, acceleration and braking
  3.     Full autonomy – the car can travel on its own without a human present in the vehicle
  4.     High autonomy – requires human control only periodically during the trip, but are otherwise automated
  5.     Partial autonomy – drivers can interfere only in the event of an emergency

Implications for the Insurance Industry

The whole point of auto insurance is to protect people from human or mechanical error, but what happens when human error is eliminated? The main issues the insurance industry needs to tackle are as follows:

  1. Personal Insurance – Since the drivers essentially become passengers, who will be held accountable in case of an accident? The driver, car manufacturer, or both?
  2. Commercial Insurance – With companies such as Uber or Lyft using driverless cars to take their passengers’ places, how will these vehicles be insured if an accident occurs while on duty?

Driverless cars transitioned quickly from a radical idea to a very real product, with a very fast adoption rate. The insurance industry needs to adapt to these new changes just as quickly.

P2P Insurance

When Lemonade entered the insurance market this past fall, everyone with at least minimal knowledge in insurance knew things were about to change. The implications for the insurance industry were very deep, even though they only operated in New York. Unsurprisingly, requests for expansion into other states were made as soon as it launched. What will this mean for the insurance industry long-term?

P2P Insurance Explained

Peer-to-peer insurance is simpler than it sounds. It’s when a group of people with a mutual cause gather their money in one place, which is then used to pay the claims of any of the members in case of an accident. Usually, companies offering this type of insurance have a backup top-insurer supporting them in case the sum is too big for them to cover. Lemonade uses unpaid claims to support causes close to the heart of the insured. As such, customer trust in their company is bigger, and the tendency to find ways to circumvent the system is considerably lower. Since the company’s profits do not depend on what claims they can and can’t deny you.

Implications for the Insurance Industry

Even though the insurance industry has started to shift, P2P companies have not yet completely and irrevocably disrupted the market. P2P insurance exploits one of the biggest flaws of traditional insurance companies, by inspiring trust and a sense of community with their customers. However, when P2P companies go to traditional insurance companies for help in controversial cases, this newly placed trust in P2P companies will wear off. With that being said, the fact that this new model emerged at all, and has the success it has had so far, existing companies will rethink their stance on insurance going forward.

Drones

As the number of private drone enthusiasts increases and a growing number of commercial drones take flight, so do the risks associated with them. Aside from providing insurance to drones or unmanned vehicles, they hold large potential for changing the insurance game, from fighting fraud to increasing accuracy in risk-management and tailored pricing.
According to Dean Anderson, National Aviation Practice Leader, Wells Fargo Insurance, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that approximately 2.5 million drones/unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) will be sold this year, with almost 600,000 used for commercial purposes. The trend leaves a vast unknown in the aviation insurance sector, one that presents excitement, new product development, and a changing underwriting mentality. With widespread US-potential, industries such as industrial inspection, agriculture, real estate, aerial photography, government, and others are investing considerable amounts of money into this emerging industry.”

Drone insurance explained

Drone insurance acts like any other insurance policy. If a drone is damaged in an accident or lost, the loss is covered to an extent by the insurance company. 
There are primarily two types of insurance coverages, UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) insurance provided to the all:  Manufacturer, Owner and Operator Coverage.
And non-owned UAV / UAS Liability Coverage: coverage to companies or individuals that use or hire UAVs that they do not own and that are operated by third parties.
Some of the pre-requisites for these type of insurance are:

  • Buyer or operator’s proof of training
  • Maintenance of drone operational logs
  • Parts or add-ons purchased so far

Implications for the Insurance Industry

Increasing accuracy during catastrophes
During catastrophes, drones can play a critical role in surveying the damage of the insured property. The flexibility of drones allows for immediate surveying and reporting, allowing for a speedy insurance process.
Risk-management
According to PWC’s recent report “Clarity from Above”, drones could be used for instantaneous data collection and risk monitoring. With immediate access and improved quality of data. Insurance companies could easily assess high-risk areas and notify customers of those high-risk areas, ultimately helping them avoid those risks.
Tailored pricing
By often performing hazardous work, drones access and collect critical data sets that effectively allow for insurance companies to provide their customers custom pricing.

eSignatures

Initially frowned upon by lawmakers for its perceived poor cyber security and the consequences of having important legal information stolen, eSignatures are the new norm. The advancement of technology pushed insurers and the laws governing insurance companies to catch up with the times and start using eSignatures as part of their daily work.

eSignatures Explained

Like we mentioned in our previous post “Quick Reference Guide: Electronic Signatures & the ESIGN Act. According to the eSign Act, an eSignature is “any sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” If that definition sounds vague or unclear, don’t worry. That’s sort of the idea; it is, after all, “legal-ese”. In plain English, however, the above definition simply “states” an eSignature as a legal concept. That is, its legal definition simply means that it is possible for an electronic signature to carry the same sort of legal “weight” as its pen-and-paper equivalent.
Let’s take a quick look at the basic components of an electronic signature:
Consent:
Basically, any individual who signs an electronic document must explicitly consent to do so in the first place. Should an individual choose not to consent to an electronically signed agreement, a non-electronic option must be made available.
Intent:
In the simplest terms, this means that the signer clearly understands his or her intent to sign the document, and the process by which the individual signed the document was clear and understood from beginning to end.
Verification:
For an electronic document to be considered legally binding it must be signed by the same person whose signature appears on the dotted line. In turn, most electronic signature solutions have built-in verification methods.
Auditability:
This is the electronic equivalent of a “paper trail,” (popularly know in the electronic signature industry as an ‘Audit Trail’) whereby each party involved in an electronic agreement (or a legal entity, for instance) can if necessary, easily access each step of the electronic signature process. You can read more about the anatomy and importance of an audit trail in our post titled “The Anatomy of an Audit Trail: Electronic Signature Simplified”.
While the most known type of an eSignature is the drawn signature, there are other types as well:

  1. Click to sign – these include tick boxes, e-squiggles, scanned images, and typed names. However, they are not considered as a functioning signature. As such, they are commonly used in addition to other types of eSignatures
  2. eSignatures – These typically involve the signer applying their hand-signature mark on the document, which is then protected with a cryptographic digital signature
  3. Advanced and Qualified eSignatures – AES and QES use unique signing keys for every signer, as such, they provide the highest level of trust and assurance. These unique signing keys directly link the user’s identity to the signed document, so anyone is able to verify the signature using an industry standard PDF reader

Implications for Insurance Industry

eSignatures makes life much easier for insurance brokers. eSignature companies like Signority revolutionize document signing and management by creating seamless digital transactions for your customers. Experts agree eSignatures close sales quicker, are more secure and traceable than paper and can be easily integrated into already existing business processes. You are able to securely maintain legal electronic copies of every document, keeping your documents safe from any harm. Communication is also simplified, so much so that it only takes a few minutes to set up, draft, sign and file any necessary documents… no more long days waiting for documents to arrive by mail! Everything is automated and digitalized and at your disposal. To learn more about the habits of highly effective insurance brokers, click here.
While driverless cars and P2P insurance have both positive and negative effects on the insurance market, eSignatures and drones impact looks to be solely positive. We will see in later years how each one of these trends will change the way insurance works, but for now, we can safely say things are looking up!
Disclaimer:
This post focuses on technology and its impact on the North American insurance sector, specifically. It’s important to point out that Signority is not an insurance company, nor are we the expert authority on the subject. However, we have referenced experts often in this post. It would be equally wise (and perhaps a bit obvious) to point out that the insurance industry is incredibly complex. Admittedly, this post is a brief, simplified look at a complex topic.
 
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The Insurance Risks of Cyber Attacks

The Insurance Risks of Cyber Attacks

As the use of technology is becoming more prevalent in everyday business, insurance included, there are aspects that are prone to high levels of risk, and require ramping up on security. While it may look like a mundane issue at first, it can have severe consequences for your company. As more insurance companies, in particular, are migrating towards digital channels in order to create tighter relationships with their customers, they also are trusted with sensitive personal information for each client such as Social Security Numbers, credit card data, and so much more. In case —  but, hopefully not — you are a victim of a cyber attack, what does this mean for you? Let’s take a look at some of the insurance risks to consider when looking at cyber attacks!

Lost Sales

Cyber attacks are not always orchestrated by large-scale, highly qualified hackers, but even small DOS (denial of service) attacks can pose a great risk and affect your company severely if they catch you unprepared. Seeing as insurance companies collect data from their customers that range from personal information such as addresses, passport numbers, Social Security Numbers (SSN) or EIN, to financial info including, but not limited to credit card numbers, PINs, anything really, it is understandable for your customers to be wary, in case you have had to deal with a cyber attack previously. Studies say that 60% of SMEs who have been a victim of such attacks go out of business within three months.
Another type of cyber attacks that can cost your company quite a lot is called ‘Social cyber attack’. The most clear-cut example was the group of protesters who collectively attacked PayPal for not allowing payments to WikiLeaks. While it didn’t go down entirely, the lost sales were tremendous.

Protection Costs

According to a recent article published in Forbes magazine, cyber crime costs are projected to reach $2 Trillion by 2019. Which means that businesses need to be extra-vigilant when it comes to protecting their data.
Doing business online comes with a great number of rewards, but also with a risk or two. If you do insurance online, then you have to be aware of the cyber attacks at all times. For this, you have to prepare and protect yourself before hackers even try to get to you, and this preparation has to be thorough.
To avoid the risk of getting hacked and losing critical data, you have to hire qualified and capable people who can take care of the cyber-security section of your digital business. If you want your help to be highly professional, then you will have to spend a good amount of money for supporting it, both in terms of hiring competent IT staff and for other overheads required for smooth operations.

Changing your business model

Financial costs are not the only thing insurance companies have to worry about when dealing with cyber-crime. They have to remodel the way information is collected, stored and handled, so as to ensure that sensitive information is safe and non-vulnerable to these kinds of attacks. Many businesses have elected to altogether stop storing their customers’ financial and personal information, some others have shut down their online presence, at least online stores, if not all. This is all done when they cannot protect themselves properly, as the implications such attack can have on them, can be fatal.
Lately, customers also are being more proactive in educating themselves on online security and request to be informed on how their insurance company of choice handles security issues. You may have noticed that clients are more likely to choose businesses that are upfront and sincere about their methods — we noticed this soon after we launched our post on transparent pricing!
Making these changes to prepare and protect you and your company from these cyber risk are integral and can be daunting, but minor changes in the way you conduct business, the infrastructure, and various technological advancements can all be used to help mitigate much of the risks and improve your company.
Begin looking into cheap and secure methods to improve small processes of your work before ramping up to bigger, more complex security issues. Try looking into things like eSignature solutions, that can provide extra layers of security to already existing workflows and processes! Learn more by checking out our website or feel free to contact us directly with more questions!
Looking to take your business paperless? Sign-up now and get free access to Signority’s Business Plan for 14-days.

What You Missed: Highlights of The CSIO eSignature Webinar for Insurance Brokers

CSIO eSignature Webinar for Insurance Brokers

The “eSignatures: Benefits and Implementation for Insurance Brokers” webinar was sponsored by the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations’ (CSIO) and hosted Michael Spiar (Broker Relations and Communications Specialist at CSIO) on January 19th, 2017.
With over 100 participants who came to learn about eSignatures and its implementation from the panellists: Karen Hoflin (Vice President, Go Insurance), Rebecca Reed (Operations Manager, Callister Musico Insurance Group), Samer Forzley (CEO, Signority). We have highlighted several key moments, observations and announcements from the webinar in this short post.
Below, you can see some highlights from the “eSignatures: Benefits and Implementation for Brokers” webinar, such as:

  • The legal overview for implementing electronic signatures
  • Current brokerage adoption rates in Canada
  • Workflow & Benefits of using electronic signatures
  • Broker testimonials and our personal observations

The legal overview for implementing electronic signatures

The webinar was kicked-off by Michael Spiar, who introduced the panellists and broke down the common legal definition of electronic signatures — I.e. “electronic information that a person creates or adopts in order to sign a document and that is in, attached to or associated with the document (Ontario Electronic Commerce Act, 2000).
The Five Broad Exclusions Under Insurance Law, namely:

  • Notice of cancellation
  • Nomination of person as having rights/interests of insured on insured’s death
  • Beneficiary designation (testamentary disposition concern)
  • Alterations to policy by insurer
  • Trustee appointment

Broker Adoption of eSignatures in Canada, courtesy of CSIO:

Broker Adoption of eSignatures in Canada

Workflow & Benefits of using electronic signatures:

There are several reasons for using Electronic Signatures and Digital Signatures, below are a couple of main points from Samer Forzley’s presentation:

In-person Signing (Insurance Brokers)

In-person Signing Insurance Brokers
According to IBC’s 2015 report Facts of the Property and Casualty Insurance Industry in Canada, operating expenses (Including employee compensation) amount to over 20% of total revenues — that amounts to about 20.6¢ for every dollar.
Which is due to: Travel times, phone calls and client onboarding.
Other reason for the high operating costs:

  • Documents are prepared and printed for signature by all parties
    • Print, sign, scan, email/courier/fax method
    • Internal and external customers/clients
  • Documents are often returned with missing signatures or incomplete/incorrect information, which can cause delays and restarts
  • Document transactions are halted without completed signatures, leading to further interruptions

eSignatures Signing Workflow (Insurance Brokers)

eSignatures Signing Workflow

  • Send: Upload and securely send documents for electronic signatures
  • Sign: Customers or Recipients receive, review and electronically sign the document. On completion Customers or Recipients receive a copy of the document and audit trail
  • Manage: Besides receiving a copy of the contract via email, broker’s can view signed documents, audit trails, a document’s status and even automate reminders

Benefits of eSignatures to Insurance Brokers

Benefits of eSignature to Brokers
According to EY Global’s “Insurance Digital Survey 2013”, Insurers aspire to future digital leadership; however, attaining their goals will require significant — and rapid — improvement to close the current gap. By their own admission, more than two-thirds feel they have delivered some easy quick wins, but they have not made transformational progress to realize their ambitious digital objectives.
Below are a few key reasons Insurance Brokers’ should go digital:

  • Ability to initiate and complete sales cycle quickly
  • Improved retention through customer convenience
  • Reduced errors and follow-up calls
  • Reduce overhead costs
  • Tamper-proof records

Benefits of eSignatures to Customers

Benefits of eSignatures to Customers
According to Ernst & Young’s report titled “Insurance in a digital world: the time is now.”
The two biggest drivers of digital strategies are “enriching the customer experience” and “regaining more direct control of the customer relationship” — far ahead of “attracting prospective customers and increasing sales.” While the cost of acquisition continues to rise, retaining existing customers is an increasing necessity and should be a critical and measurable benefit of any improvement in the customer experience, digitally enabled or otherwise.
Some benefits of eSignatures for your customers:

  • Improved convenience and experience
  • Customers can sign by mouse or touchscreen anywhere, anytime
  • Elimination of the antiquated print-sign-scan process
  • Secure storage of documents and personal data

What toLook for in an eSignature Solution Vendor

What to Look for in an eSignature Solution Vendor
5 things to think about, before choosing you Canadian eSignature Vendor:

  • Does the product answer your needs as a business?
  • Is the vendor’s product easy to learn and use?
  • Does the eSignature vendor have the level of support your business needs?
  • Does the eSignature vendor understand your business?
  • Is your data contained in Canada?

Other important notes
There were 2 main polls conducted during the webinar that brought about interesting results:

Poll #1

Primary learning objective in today's webinar
What is your primary learning objective in today’s webinar?

  • Legality of eSignatures
  • Workflow Benefits
  • Best Practices
  • Implementation Tips
  • Other

Poll #2

What is the primary concern of implementing eSignatures in your brokerage?
Primary concern of implementing eSignatures in your brokerage

  • Security/legal concerns
  • Workflow
  • Staff buy-in
  • Cost/effort
  • Other

We thoroughly enjoyed presenting and would like to thank CSIO for opportunity to be a part of the webinar.
Click on the download link below to get all the slides
Download Now
Are you an insurance broker with questions about the legality of eSignatures and its implementation?
We’d love to help, click on the contact us link below to send us a quick note.

5 Habits of Highly Effective Insurance Brokers

insurance-brokers-electronic-signatures-digital

Do you use electronic signatures (eSignatures) for insurance?
Do you have the right contacts?
Are you on the right way to be the best insurance broker in the business?
As with any other profession, there are habits and best practices an insurance broker has to acquire in order to be on the top. I developed mine while working in the Canadian insurance industry for over 7 years, and I’d like to share them with you.
We all know that highly effective brokers use certain tactics to inspire confidence in their prospective clients to convince them on their choice. Which of them do you need to make a habit? Let us see!

1. Get yourself a good backup system

Whether it be the company you work for, your assistants or mentors, make sure that you have solid help to fall back on in challenging situations.
If you’re pressed for time, your eSigning service and means of communications should be ready for you. When what you need most is advice, your mentors should be there, and in cases where the key to getting a good deal is contacts and acquaintances then you should know where to go to get it.

2. Stay organized

Albert Einstein once said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
To me a cluttered desk means an organized mind. While this may be true only for a few people, what is most important is that you get a system working for you.
Take your Post-It’s out, get some cheerfully colored highlighters, use bookmarks, red threads and pins, whatever works. Make sure you feel comfortable navigating this system and you’re set. What worked for me was getting all unnecessary items out of the way. I got my office paperless, automated my assistants and did most money transactions online. The time-saving was considerable and infinitely helpful.  

3. Stay up-to-date

If you want to crush the competition, the key is to know it well. Go to trade organizations, keep up with the latest news, know what you’re doing inside and out. Attending industry events will not only give you valuable insights, but also make you friends in the right places, and that is also highly beneficial for business.
Don’t forget to keep notes on what standard practices everyone around you is following. While some of them may end up not being right for you, you can learn from them. If electronic signatures for insurance or TeamViewer is a popular choice, then there might be a reason for this. Conducting meetings over Skype is saving your competitor money? Try it out!

4. Cross-sell

One of the best qualities an insurance agent should have is the ability to cross sell products to customers. Remember that just about everyone needs more than one policy; combining homeowner’s or renter’s insurance with car or life insurance. Getting clients to buy additional products or services is key to maximizing profits and offering your customers a good deal.
Don’t skip on offering a bundle of products instead of just one policy. If they agree on a deal like this then good for you, if they don’t, then you’ve just done some publicity for another of your products.

5. Follow-up

Follow-up.
Your clients will notice, potential buyers and colleagues will appreciate it.
According to Follow Up Success, even though, 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact, nearly 48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect.
Don’t hesitate on the follow-up. Send your customer or potential a personalized thank you note. Even if you didn’t land the deal at first, keep the interests of your prospective client at heart and drop them a line in case you can fix something up for them, it can become a successful arrangement in the future. Establishing good relationships with clients and colleagues alike can become a good foundation for growing your business.
Looking to take your business paperless? Sign-up now and get free access to Signority’s Business Plan.

The Evolution of Insurance Is Now: Signority Sponsors NYiDay

Signority Sponsors NYIDAY

Yes, the evolution of insurance is now and the entire team at Signority is excited to announce our sponsorship of NYiDAY, the must-attend event for members of the insurance industry.
Taking place this October in New York City, NYiDAY will feature leading minds of the industry discussing what’s next in the world of insurance.
This one-day event will cover a wide variety of topics that are crucial to any ambitious insurance professional. Attendees will be exposed to the latest ideas driving innovation in the insurance industry, which includes acquiring and nurturing top talent, leveraging agency management systems and implementing superb customer service to stand out from the competition.
With a diverse lineup of high-quality speakers including COO of ELANY, Dan Maher, Trusted Choice Digital Content Manager Sydney Roe, InsurBanc CEO David Tralk and Swiss Reinsurance Corporate Solutions SVP Sabrena Sally, we’re looking forward to learning from exciting and fresh perspectives. This year’s keynote speaker will feature television anchor, radio host, and author Mike Greenberg as he guides us through the proceedings.
We’re proud to support NYiDAY because we believe in facilitating discussion about how technology can push the industry forward. As a provider of digital document solutions, Signority strives to change signatures and document management forever.
Signority’s digital document and signature solution revolutionizes the way that documents are shared, signed and managed. We make it possible for anyone to create a secure, branded digital document, send it to the right recipients for signatures anywhere in the world.
With Signority, all documents, contracts and forms can be built, tracked and managed within our secure web app. This means it’s easier than ever for teams to manage their entire library of active documents and templates from one place.
Our goal is to help both individuals and organizations in the insurance sector to expand their capabilities, cut costs, and increase efficiency through the use of digital signatures and documents while providing end-to-end convenience and enhanced security.
Learn more about NYiDAY at: http://NYiDAY.squarespace.com/             
To learn more about how Signority can help your team to reduce document completion time by up to 80%, digitize your paper-based processes, and remove the need to manually track hard copies of documents please visit www.signority.com, or contact the Signority team at Hello@signority.com
 

About Signority Inc.

Signority Inc. is an Ottawa-based SaaS company that is dedicated to make it easy and secure for organizations to legally sign electronic documents. Their platform allows for the management of legal document workflows by offering a digital signature solution to access, verify, sign and certify documents from anywhere in the world, on any device.