Expert underwriting

A rewarding customer sales experience

For many customers the thought of the sales process to buy their life or other protection insurance needs can be a daunting prospect. The length of time that it takes to complete the purchase can seem never-ending. But it doesn’t need to feel such a burden. Today’s technology and digital tools can considerably increase customer satisfaction in the buying process.

The security of dealing with an advisor to make sure that the customer needs are met correctly is a valuable step in the process. To make the best recommendations the advisor will first collect a large amount of financial information and then perform a needs analysis. A meeting may conclude with the advisor obtaining base premium quotes from the chosen insurance provider and then completing an application with the customer.

There is still some waiting time though before the customer knows whether or not they can have the insurance. This is because the health declaration needs to be completed privately and then assessed by the underwriters.

So from the point at which the meeting is arranged until the insurance contract is issued can take some time. And during this whole process a customer is not aware of what is going on ‘behind the scenes’.

Enhancing customer satisfaction

Most of the time taken in the sales meeting is collecting the financial information, performing the needs analysis and making product recommendations. So having spent considerable time during this process the customer would expect that when they leave the meeting the insurance is finalised.

And now that commission is being removed as a source of income for advisors in many countries, making the sales process more efficient whilst still treating the customer fairly and providing the same level of advisory service, is more necessary than ever.

Using the same expert rules engines that are used in an online expert underwriting process it is possible to engage the customer earlier in the process as soon as a meeting is scheduled. There are two parts to the financial questionnaire used as the fact find and where the advisor records the recommendations. 

The first part is the collection of the personal financial information from the customer. Using EQS it is possible to have the customer complete this information ahead of any meeting, saving time in the meeting and also giving the customer a more relaxed environment for providing this information. The information is collected securely online and stored for retrieval when the customer meets with the advisor.

The difference with using an expert rules engine rather than an electronic form to collect the information is that rules can be configured to make sure that the customer is providing all relevant information without asking unnecessary questions, as is often the case with replicating a hard copy form online.

When the customer meets with the advisor, the advisor logs on and retrieves the financial questionnaire. The advisor can then make a quick review of the answers with the customer instead of having to collect all of the information at this point. Again the rules can be used to automate and assist the advisor in the recommendations. This second part of the financial questionnaire is completed with the customer during the meeting.

Provide an underwritten quote

To really improve customer satisfaction would be to confirm whether the insurance is accepted by the chosen insurer whilst in the meeting with the advisor.

However in order to confirm what terms are applicable the health declaration must be assessed. And the health declaration should not be completed during the meeting because the customer completes this in private.

The majority of customers are accepted on standard terms and all insurers are using the same collected information in order to assess the level of risk. Even though they may ask the questions slightly differently the information required is still the same.

So the solution is a simple one, instead of the customer completing the health declaration after an application has been made, the customer completes a standard health declaration in advance of the meeting with the advisor using EQS. Then using rules determined by the relevant insurers, when the advisor requests the quotes in the meeting, the result will be an underwritten quote because the underwriting has been automated using the rules. So the majority of customers can then walk away from the meeting knowing that the insurance is finalised.