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March 29, 2022

Today’s tech-savvy customers expect contactless engagement and enhanced relationships throughout their life insurance journey – starting from the generation of quotations through the issuance and claims management. Traditional underwriting procedures require medical tests for prospective customers to measure their physiological parameters, as well as lengthy paperwork for issuance. Moreover, the customer journey is predominantly discrete, with claim applications forming intermittent touchpoints. These factors sometimes deter people from going for life insurance policies. The new normal has created several opportunities for life insurance firms to harness mobile technologies along with other digital channels and pave the way for accelerated and contactless issuance.

Technology interventions

Today, getting an insurance quote can be as easy as clicking a button, and managing coverage can typically be accomplished via a mobile app or chatbots. That said, customers expect quick, personalized service wherever and whenever they need it. Insurers need to embrace digital technologies and offer the best and most seamless customer experience across platforms in order to compete and survive in an increasingly unpredictable world. Here are a few emerging use cases:

AI – Facial image analysis for quotation

Facial analytics can scan images and analyze numerous points to extract information, such as physiological age and body mass index (BMI), to determine whether a person is aging faster than their biological age. According to research published in European Heart Journal, advanced studies are in progress to explore how facial analytics may identify early signs of heart disease. Based on the analysis, insurance firms can generate customized quotations, and with consent from the customer, they can initiate the issuance process. Rolling out the applications in local languages through adequate testing will enhance global acceptance.

Predictive analytics – Questionnaire for accelerating policy issuance

Advanced technologies like predictive analytics can enable faster application processing and easier tailored coverage. Predictive analytics can be used to underwrite policies based on self-reported data. The data can be verified against the users’ actual medical and pharmaceutical records by insurance regulators. Medical records can be analyzed by algorithms and compared with other respondents’ data to make predictions about the lifespan of prospective policy owners. This can eliminate the requirement for medical exams for most of the customers and reduce the time and cost of approving and issuing policies.

Wearables – Wellness programs for incentivizing healthy lifestyles and continuous engagements

Today, life insurers are collaborating with organizations like Amazon and Apple to incentivize customers through wellness programs. Wearable devices and the associated mobile applications can measure the activity, heart rate, sleep, and tone of voice of the customers to gain insights into individual health periodically. Customers can be segmented into risk categories based on their health parameters, and recommendations and reminders can be provided for healthy lifestyles.

Riskier categories can be provided with advanced activity trackers under upgraded wellness program levels. In addition, insurers can monitor and document customers who exercise regularly, eat healthily, and get periodic checkups. Based on this, insurers can incentivize customers for their movement frequency, intensity and tenacity of exercises undertaken and reduce the renewal premium amounts or provide reward points in their accounts. For instance, insurers can leverage behavioral economics in wellness programs, where wearables can be provided free at the onset of the program, and the total cost of the wearables can be recovered if the activity targets are not met. These wellness programs can also help build a closer relationship with the policyholders, increasing customer loyalty. In addition, healthier habits result in a lower frequency of claims, thereby reducing the claim cost for insurers over a longer period.

Benefits

Contactless insurance powered by digital technologies in different steps of the life insurance value chain will have a diverse and positive impact across stakeholders. It enables insurers with continuous opportunities to connect with customers in a highly relevant and contextual way. The three key advantages include:

Accelerated underwriting

Quotations based on facial analysis and health questionnaires can enable insurers to avoid medical tests requiring physical contact. With applicants’ consent, insurers can leverage algorithms and analytics in the underwriting rules engine to significantly reduce the time to underwrite.

Continuous customer engagement

Wellness programs incentivize customers to adopt healthy lifestyles and win rewards or reduce premiums. For instance, personalization on wearables can help individuals stay on track and alert insurers on respective customer efforts. Thus, based on the data, insurers can assist customers with recommendations, creating a win-win scenario, thereby increasing life expectancy for the customer and profitability for the insurer.

Enhanced insurability

With wellness programs, insurance can be offered to individuals who otherwise would have been considered non-eligible through traditional risk-matching underwriting criteria. The older but healthier population can also become insurable through these programs compared to age-based screening rules.

To conclude

One of the prime considerations for insurers in adopting contactless paradigms utilizing digital technologies and data will be privacy. Insurers should obtain appropriate authorization from their customers about information capture, storage and sharing, and data usage. Underwriters need to design the approach and methodologies so that individuals occasionally missing program-level activities are not penalized significantly. In addition, those following healthy behaviors during the program period must be incentivized proportionately. Cross-functional collaboration among underwriting, actuary, and data science departments will be key to gleaning insights for effective personalization and enhanced customer experience.

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Chayan Bandyopadhyay is a Senior Research Analyst in the Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) unit within the TCS Corporate Marketing Research and Advisory Group. He has around eleven years of cross-industry experience across verticals such as information technology, telecom, banking, and energy. With an interest in cutting-edge technologies and their effects on various industries, Chayan enables strategic decisions within the company through his research and advisory in his current role.  Chayan is a Gold medalist during his MBA stint and has completed B. Tech. in Electronics and Communications Engineering

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