In October, IA Magazine outlined three ways to get completed insurance applications back the first time.
Here are three more ways smart forms save your agency time and streamline your clients’ experience:
1) Automap insurance data. Automapping offers a solution to redundant fields, saves insureds the frustration of repeatedly filling in basic information and decreases the possibility of inaccurate information being submitted, which results in forms being sent back and forth for correction.
Automapping means that when the insured types out basic information on one form, the information auto-populates in the same fields across multiple forms. The benefits are numerous, especially for receiving complete applications.
As common answers auto-populate across forms, insureds don’t miss sections or questions and are more likely to return fully completed submission packets the first time around. Also, renewal forms are auto-populated with last year’s data, saving the insured a significant amount of time by not having to re-enter data into blank forms every single year.
The data is consistent across the forms, giving the agent peace of mind. Information is clean, and errors, such as inconsistent use of abbreviations and spelling mistakes, are less likely.
2) Provide portal access. Many agencies store spreadsheets in a central, secure online location that everyone, including agency staff and insureds, can access and update in real-time. But for many insureds, large amounts of important business data is organized across offline spreadsheets.
These files are often sent back and forth between the agent and insured via email, which can quickly amount to a confusing process as insureds and agents try to comb through and update each spreadsheet. Inaccurate or missing information becomes a major possibility, which increases an agency’s errors & omissions exposure.
Via an online portal, information, such as drivers, vehicles and officers, are all easily accessible. The insured can click on each list to see what information needs updating from last year and what should stay the same. An itemized list of all the changes made by the insured can also be made available to the agent, who can easily review the itemized list and send updated, accurate information to the carrier.
In addition, a secure online portal makes it easier for businesses to update information throughout the year, which is a major benefit for endorsements and renewal applications. Since everything is online, the insured can make a change to their data and the agent will be notified in real-time. Both the agent and insured can track changes during the year and ensure that changes to the data aren’t forgotten during the renewal period.
3) Use e-signatures. The traditional policy-signing process is extremely slow. Insureds must download, print, sign, scan, upload, fax, email or mail all the signed forms for the application or renewal process. And some forms require multiple signatories within a company, which takes time to pass around. If one signature or signatory is missed, the frustrating mailing or emailing process starts all over again.
E-signatures make the signing process easier and more efficient. By having e-signatures built into your smart forms, insureds are able to sign at the end of the forms, which increases the chances of having a higher application completion rate at the first time of asking.
When the insured reaches the signature field, they can choose to either draw their own signature or select from standard signatures. The form is then completed without any printing, scanning or emailing.
Still not convinced? One agency reported that signature failure rates dropped from 50-55% to just under 2%—a fulfillment rate of over 98% —after they began incorporating e-signatures, with 90% of clients signing within the first 48 hours, according to Safeco.
E-signatures are a simple but effective strategy for successful application completion. Not only do customers experience a streamlined, efficient process, agents can process customers faster as complete applications are delivered first time.
Ken Wohl is head of marketing at Indio Technologies.