This post is installment 1 of our 4-part series: “Insurance Agents: Driving Profits with Digital Transaction Management.” Check back each Wednesday for the latest blog post authored by a thought leader in the industry. A transformation is happening in the insurance industry – one that is digital and can open up new possibilities for your business. We hope you will find these blog posts insightful. 

Article Contributed by Steve Anderson 

I’ve always been interested in emerging technology developments. Over the course of my career working in insurance agencies, I was involved with everything from agency management systems to developing one of the first document management processes. By the end of ‘90s, my passion opened the door to starting my own business geared towards helping the insurance industry appropriately innovate with new technologies as they became available.

One technology development that caught my eye early was the use of eSignature and Digital Transaction Management (DTM). By adopting an e-signature process, an insurance agency can streamline its workflow and at the same time significantly increase customer satisfaction.

E-signatures can help agencies capture thousands of dollars in increased productivity. Because of this interest, I’ve been following DocuSign closely and am excited about the recent announcement of a deeper integration with various Vertafore agency management system platforms. The integration of e-signature platforms within agency management systems will allow agencies to maximize their productivity potential even more. This integration should also help the industry — that has been slow to adopted eSignature — gain the momentum needed to drive its wider use.

Insurance agencies are asking more questions about eSignature and how they can implement it within their organizations. My conversations with both parties – agencies and carriers — have helped me better understand their needs and questions. Based on those discussions, I’d like to address the following questions to hopefully encourage you make the digital leap:

Is e-Signature Legal?

We live in an era and environment of cutting-edge computing and digital tools, not typewriters. Paper has no place in our world. The ESIGN Act in the US along with similar legislation in the European Union and other legislation in most developed economies support the legality of e-signature and paves the way to transforming paper-focused workflows into digital workflows. Many insurance companies already readily accept electronic signatures. In fact, once the lawyers and compliance teams understand e-signature is legal and understand improved line of sight it gives them into processes and contracts, they are the biggest advocates.

Think of it this way: insurance company underwriters readily accept a scanned application with wet signatures. That PDF has, in effect, a legally acceptable electronic signature. If you can accept a fax or a scanned pdf, you should be open to accepting e-signature.  With a richer Digital Transaction Management solution, insurance companies also get a solution that offers multifactor authentication, data and forms integration, workflow automation, cloud storage for access by all parties and a legally binding audit trail.

Why You Should Embrace e-Signature Soon

While insurance companies may experience growing pains with new technologies, the return on their investment is worth it. The current process to obtain signatures to close a deal is tedious.  It is slow and with each passing hour the risk of the deal not closing increases. Closing deals faster can increase revenues. Consider the time expended on current paper-based processes to help gauge the necessity of implementing a digital transactional workflow. The savings in both time and cost are invaluable to all parties.

Furthermore, the industry is moving that way. You need to be ahead of the competition. E-Signature can cut your costs and help improve your customer satisfaction.

Will Your Customers Be Comfortable with e-Signature?

By embracing the Digital Transaction Management, insurance companies save countless steps and costs. – not only for their employees, but for the customers as well. A growing number of customers refuse to tolerate paper-based processes. As the customer base grows more connected, insurance agencies have an opportunity to overhaul and streamline internal processes by implementing digital workflows that serves mobile and tech-savvy clients.

As our customers live increasingly mobile lives, insurance agencies and companies need to offer information anytime and from any device. The notable caveat is that this information must translate clearly on any device from my desktop, to my tablet, to my Android or iPhone. Keep connected with your customers via a client portal so they remain connected with your services.

The need for insurance is timeless. However, as we push for deeper innovations in our lives, the industry needs to keep in sync with the rapidly changing expectations our customers have in this digital world. With a clear focus on efficient use of resources and enhancing the customer experience, a robust Digital Transaction Management and eSignature solution helps the industry provide centuries-old protection to a modern world.

Thank you for reading! What has been your experience with implementing digital signature processes within your insurance organization? Be sure to share your thoughts and comments below.

– Steve Anderson

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Steve Anderson is a leading authority on insurance technology, productivity and profitability. He is the President of The Anderson Network and serves as a member of the national faculty for The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research. He also blogs for The Anderson Agency Report  .

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