Buyer's Guideby Brian Westfall,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: June 26, 2018
Life insurance companies offer a service that poses many challenges. Such businesses must ensure quick responses to customer claims, process sales orders faster and expand their existing product offerings.
To make matters more complicated, there's no shortage of insurance software available to small and midsize businesses (SMBs). You should carefully explore the landscape of life insurance tools based on their capabilities, pricing, deployment models and other parameters.
Start by reading this Buyer's Guide to understand what life insurance software does and how it can benefit your business.
Here's what we'll cover:
What Is Life Insurance Software?
Life insurance software helps agents and brokers automate different operations such as issuing policies, collecting premiums and processing claims. Such solutions also allow customers to view details of their policies, raise claims using web forms and pay their premiums via a self-service online portal.
Example of life insurance agent management in Vetraforce
Additionally, life insurance solutions can integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) solutions and accounting software to allow the transfer of customer details and financial data to and from these systems.
Common Features of Life Insurance Software
When researching life insurance software, make sure the tools you're looking into offer the following standard features:
|Claims management||Initiate, verify, approve and track customers claims. You can update claim details, upload documentation, create settlements and close claims on a single platform.|
|Policy management||Implement policies and create new ones. This typically includes rating tables and automated underwriting workflows for faster policy creation.|
|Commission management||View and edit details of agents, understand their broker rates, assign them new products and approve commissions on a single platform.|
|Billing and payments||Collect customer payments from different channels and devices. Payments are recorded and automated invoices are sent to customers.|
Benefits of Life Insurance Software
The benefits of life insurance tools are wide-ranging—from helping businesses deliver policies and resolve customer claims faster to automating audit trails and underwriting. Listed below are some of the core benefits of such a system:
- Reduce business costs and risks. Life insurance software helps you mitigate risks that arise out of human error in data collection. The tool allows you to collect large sets of accurate data, which speeds up the underwriting process and also improves compliance by notifying you about key updates on insurance regulations.
- Improve employee efficiency. These tools decrease the administrative burden on your employees and improve performance. Employees can quickly search customer information, share policy documentation and process claims on a single platform.
- Scales with your business. Life insurance solutions can be customized to meet your business needs. Many solutions are flexible, making them equally suitable for both small businesses and growing companies, whether you want a simple tool to manage claims or one that offers advanced integrations with other tools such as CRM systems.
Make sure you compare life insurance tools around pricing, user reviews, deployment and more before your purchase.
Below are some of the most common factors to keep in mind when evaluating these tools:
Choose the right deployment method. Insurance software can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud. The more popular choice is a cloud-based solution, as it allows both your employees and customers access anywhere, anytime. However, the right solution for you depends on your usage and existing software deployments. Call us at (844) 687-6771 to discuss the best deployment option for your business.
Pay the right price. Do you want a pay-as-you go solution (with a monthly fee) or a tool with a one-time license fee? The one-time license is suitable for growing and large organizations that can host and manage the tool within their own data centers. Small businesses usually opt for monthly subscriptions as the vendor takes care of data storage, maintenance and updates. However, there are long term costs associated with a pay-as-you go solution. For instance, vendors typically price life insurance software on a "per agent" basis. This means that as your business grows and you hire more agents, the price of the solution will increase.
Get the necessary integrations. If you're using a CRM solution, then it's critical that your life insurance tool integrates with it. This ensures that you can streamline the data transfer between the two tools and offer the right policies your clients. Similarly, you should check for integrations with accounting solutions and other software tools that are critical to your business processes.
Read user reviews. One of the common mistakes small businesses make is purchasing a tool, only to find out afterward that it doesn't quite meet their business needs. Maybe it doesn't have the right functionalities—or maybe your employees find the tool too difficult to use without training. Regardless of the reason for a failed or failing implementation, it results in a huge waste of company time and resources. Instead, a quick way to understand a tool's suitability is to read user reviews that rate it on functionality, ease-of-use, deployment and other parameters.
Market Trends to Understand
In the 2017 Software Advice report, "How Insurance Technology Trends Impact Customer Expectations," we surveyed customers and asked them what they expected out of insurance providers. Below is a summary of the key findings, which life insurance providers will find relevant and useful to understand their market:
- Self-service help portals are necessary. More than a third of the survey respondents (37 percent) said that it's very important insurance providers offer online self-service help portals. An exhaustive online self-service knowledge base that answers all questions related to your products is often a deal making—or-breaking feature when it comes to customers selecting your service.
- Make sure you have dedicated life insurance software. When respondents were asked whether they would prefer that their insurance provider used software, nearly a third of them (31 percent) said yes. This means that 3 out of 10 of your potential buyers are influenced by whether you use dedicated software rather than relying on manual methods (such as Excel). Your buyers tend to perceive you as more reliable if you use software to manage claims and policies.
- Customers are looking for reliability of service. In the report, respondents were asked to rank insurance companies based on five critical factors: price, coverage options, reliability, information security and transparency. More than half of the respondents (56 percent) placed reliability of service as the critical factor when selecting an insurance provider. Today, customers will not overlook mistakes, and they'll switch providers if their expectations are not met.
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