Nov 12, 2020

Remote-acceptance, an effective insurance solution during times of social distancing

Article by Kobus Wentzel

1Life

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From remote-work to remote-controls to remote-access and remote-acceptance. Is it just us, or does it feel like everything is turning remote?

These days one has more passwords than keys in your possession, but with the arrival of social distancing restrictions, it’s certainly been beneficial not to have to visit brick-and-mortar office buildings or conduct face-to-face meetings in order to conduct business.

On the work front things have changed dramatically, as we can see from an article by IBM on challenges that CIO’s face where “it has been estimated that as of March 19, 2020, as many as 88 percent of global organisations have encouraged or required employees to work from home”.  Overnight digital platforms such as MS Teams and Zoom have become a necessity and the realisation has dawned that digitalisation is here to stay and many of us might never really return to our offices. The threat of Covid-19 has certainly propelled these changes and brought with it extreme disruption for both businesses and individuals. It begs the question around how we as humans can cope with these rapid changes.

Research suggests that the most effective way to deal with any change is for us to build our resilience and flexibility, both as leaders and as individuals. In the context of digitalisation, it means adapting well in the face of digital sources of stress and continuously developing skills to manage the impact of changing digital environments and applications. It’s also true that the more you engage with technology the more familiar and comfortable you will become.

For instance, the first time you had to verify your acceptance of a purchase via a one-time-pin (OTP), the process was unfamiliar and for some even intimidating. But as this technology has cyphered into more industry sectors, most people have become familiar with it and OTP verification has now become an everyday occurrence. It assists in the adherence of social distancing as you now don’t need to physically be in a specific location in order to transact.

Although research suggests that the life insurance industry has been slow adopters of the fourth industrial revolution, digitisation of especially underwriting processes have been gaining momentum. At 1Life it took only three days to set-up remote acceptance technology for our clients and financial advisors, when Covid-19 hit. We believe that remote acceptance should now become standard industry practise, especially if we need to stay prepared for social distancing in future.

It not only helps the financial advisor save time and enables them to engage with more clients during the day, but from a consumer perspective it supports a more user-friendly approach.

How does remote acceptance work?

The client and financial advisor, who can be in different locations, interact online or via smartphone. In the 1Life context, this is done on 1Life Vantage, our digital solution for intermediaries, which transacts in real-time and provides straight-through underwriting within 35 minutes.

After the client/financial advisor meeting, the client can review the details and once happy, an OTP is triggered via SMS to the client. The client then sends the OTP number to the financial advisor and cover is activated on 1Life Vantage. This OTP acts not only as acceptance of the policy by the client, but it also serves as record of advice for the financial advisor.

This is technology borrowed from other industries, adapted to work in the life insurance industry. We foresee more of these technological efficiencies being adopted by the life insurance industry. It not only has cost- and time-saving capabilities, but by utilising technologies such as remote acceptance, insurers can ensure the safety of their clients and financial advisors during the pandemic. At the same time, it enables the financial advisor to continue writing new business within this restrictive environment. 

 

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