3 Life Insurance Predictions for 2020 & Beyond

Life insurers must adapt to evolving consumer expectations, distribution channels, and technologies in order to grow. Effective digital engagement – with customers, agents, and advisors – is key, and enables the real-time communication, convenience, and transparency that are becoming table stakes in the industry.

3 Things Life Insurers Should Focus on in 2020

In order to remain competitive in today’s rapidly evolving insurance landscape, there are 3 main things life insurers need to be focused on:

  • Building deeper relationships with policy beneficiaries to retain policy payouts and build multi-generational relationships: Beginning with the initial touchpoints of quoting and onboarding, insurers will focus on customer-centricity through ongoing, personalized interactions that will enable them to offer services tailored to their insureds needs and in response to life events. Customers today expect a personalized, omnichannel journey, and organizations that must keep the buying process streamlined and intuitive. Additionally, digital, cloud-based platforms will help insurers empower their agents and brokers with tools to give them greater insight into their customers’ portfolios, improving support and turnaround time. For life insurers, strategically and proactively enhancing the customer experience throughout the policy lifecycle will enable increased policy retention and customer lifetime value.
  • Underwriter productivity and quality will continue to improve as access to third party data and machine learning mature: Insurers will upend the traditional life insurance purchasing process – which was manual and slow – streamlining and accelerating quoting in order to increase the amount of policies sold. Greater availability of consumer data, and the ability to more easily consume and use that data in the underwriting process, will enable insurers to quickly and accurately compile a risk profile while reducing the amount of questions asked of a prospect. Through the use of RPA, AI, and external data, insurers will be able to improve underwriting accuracy and increase straight through processing (STP), while reducing paper-based processes as well as costly medical exams. Ultimately, a digital, cloud-based platform will enable life insurers to use APIs and microservices to easily integrate with the various stakeholders in their insurance ecosystem, improving operational efficiencies and decreasing quote turnaround time.
  • Product differentiation is a must as insurers look to distinguish themselves across a crowded global landscape and overcome internal coordination challenges to succinctly deliver products that consumers want with an emphasis on digital: In order to combat market challenges from both InsurTechs and technology companies looking to disrupt the traditional insurance ecosystem, life insurers will design and offer flexible and on-demand products that will make life coverages accessible to individuals who have been uninterested in – or unable to afford – traditional policies. As with the underwriting and quoting process, this is an area where digital technologies will help insurers gain a competitive advantage. New product segments, especially ones that allow for fast, digital customer onboarding, are a growth opportunity in the current market. Insurers will increasingly adopt an agile technology methodology internally in order for them to innovate faster and deliver new products and services in response to the current customer value proposition.

Each of these areas has a customer component and a technology component, and illustrates how each force can be disruptive to the life insurance business as a whole. Disruption from new technologies – and from customer demands – is a given, but a modern technology ecosystem, using a low-code automation platform, can enable life insurers to achieve holistic technology and business transformation in each of these areas.

Faster Life Underwriting Underscores the Need for Smarter Tech

A headline in the recent Forrester Wave for Automated Life Underwriting Systems, Q4 2019, specifically called out that “Faster Life Underwriting Underscores the Need for Smarter Tech” and that insurers needed to respond to the digital shift with solutions that would bring greater intelligence to underwriting with AI capabilities, prioritize underwriter actions by automating exception handling, and deliver business impact with an intelligent workbench.

Appian has been named a leader in the report, with the analyst firm noting, “Appian is a strong fit for life insurers seeking a single platform to manage a wide array of insurance and business processes.”  You can download a copy of the report here.

This is a dynamic time for the life insurance industry. Insurers should use this as an opportunity to develop an innovative roadmap to adopt new technologies and product strategies that will allow for business growth this year, and in the years to come.

Jake Sloan
Global Insurance Industry Leader, Appian