The 6 trends driving eSignature adoption in Insurance
The global eSignature market is strong right now – and will only grow stronger in the years to come. For example, in a 5-year period (between 2012 and 2017), the amount of money involved in eSignature transactions exploded from $89 million to $754 million. The worldwide eSignature market continues to grow at a high CAGR and is projected to reach a market share of well over $9 billion by 2023.
These and many other statistics demonstrate that eSignature technology and platforms are no longer viewed as a novel innovation. Instead, many companies now consider these tools to be an essential component in their overall business model. This is true across a wide range of industries, from retailers to financial service providers.
This article will briefly define what an eSignature is and provide an overview of 6 major trends driving eSignature adoption in the insurance industry and companies from all business sectors. It will also discuss how to choose the best eSignature solution for your company.
What is eSignature?
An eSignature is also known as an “electronic signature” or a “digital signature.” Put simply, eSignature technology allows a user to affix their signature, or a valid electronic equivalent, to a digital document. eSignature platforms offer consumers previously unheard-of convenience and simplicity for important transactions, such as contract validations.
6 key trends driving eSignature adoption in insurance
The following 6 trends are not industry-specific to the insurance sector. However, many insurance companies are especially attuned to the potential benefits that an eSignature solution can yield in terms of profitability, operational performance, and customer satisfaction. The 6 trends are:
Increased attention on cost-effectiveness and efficiency
On the surface, the costs associated with the procurement and use of office supplies may seem quite negligible. However, such small costs can quickly accumulate into one large expense over the course of a year. For example, the cost of stamps alone may reach hundreds of dollars every year. Research has indicated that a company’s monthly spend for office supplies may total over $90 per month per employee.
Of course, the implementation of an eSignature solution can greatly reduce such costs. In addition, it can improve efficiency in operational workflow by a significant margin. The use of eSignature tools could speed up document turnaround time by 70, 80, or even 90%, and thus prevent unnecessary delays and wasted time.
As insurance companies and other businesses continue to look for ways to cut costs and maintain acceptable profit margins, more and more organizations are focusing on the advantages of cost-effectiveness and increased efficiency that eSignature solutions can offer.
Drive to meet customer expectations
The insurance customers of today, like customers in all other fields of business, have higher expectations than any previous generation. They want to interact with brands on their own time, in their own way, and on their own terms. A lot of these customer expectations revolve around two basic desires: the elimination of friction (“make this interaction easier”) and the presentation of multiple options (“give me choices”).
An eSignature platform can prove very useful in meeting and even exceeding customer expectations. The truth is, the concept of signing essential documents electronically is no longer a new and scary idea for customers – in fact, many prefer eSignatures to physical ones.
Customer experience (CX) has become the key differentiating factor between competitors in several industries, including the financial sector. Studies have found that CX leaders may outperform their dilatory competitors by as much as 80%. It only makes sense for insurers to investigate the benefits of adopting an eSignature solution in relation to brand positioning and increased customer satisfaction.
Easier deployment and integration
Historically, one of the major barriers to corporate adoption of new technologies has been fear of the new and unknown. In many cases, conservative company leaders would echo the same refrain: “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” They would emphasize the potential difficulties in deploying a new technological solution, such as the time required to work out software glitches or perceived resistance on employees. While not without merits, this cautious mindset certainly led many organizations to “swim against the stream of progress.”
Fortunately, companies can quickly deploy modern eSignature solutions in a relatively short time frame. Research indicates that large enterprises may reach full implementation of an eSignature solution within 9 months; small businesses may accomplish this goal in less than 3 months. Better yet, eSignature software typically integrates with a wide range of legacy programs and 3rd party applications, such as Microsoft Office 365, Google Drive, Salesforce, and so on.
Increased focus on remote servicing capabilities
As of this writing, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced much of the global workforce to shelter in place and perhaps perform remote work from home. However, even before the emergence of the COVID-19 crisis, many companies were giving more attention to implementing robust remote service capabilities as an integral part of their business plan.
We live in a world that is “plugged in” to the Internet. If that is where the customers are and where they prefer to be, then it is only logical for insurance companies and other businesses to engage with users on those terms.
Enactment of eSignature-friendly regulations
Over the past several years, one significant challenge to widespread eSignature adoption has been the lack of clarity and consistency from regulatory bodies in relation to the correct protocols in using this technology. However, federal and state legislatures have continued to refine their definition of a valid eSignature. In some cases, they have even expanded eSignature regulations to account for less common but equally legitimate use cases.
For example, on May 21, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published its proposed amendment to Regulation F of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. In the proposed rule change, the CFPB allowed debt collection companies to choose between one of two options in electronically delivering notices to consumers that previously required written documentation:
- Receive affirmative consent to “eSign” directly from the consumer
- Comply with alternative procedures per CFPB regulations
This proposed rule is just one example of the global trend towards regulation, consolidation, and simplification of the eSignature process on the part of legislative bodies.
Enhanced security capabilities
eSignature solutions become more secure with each passing year. For instance, many platforms require 2-step authentication before validating a signature. There has also been an increased emphasis on consistent document tracking and storage procedures, especially for the purpose of leaving a clear audit trail in the event of a dispute or data breach. Companies that use eSignature software will likely find ways to optimize these and other security measures in the years to come.
How can you choose the right eSignature solution for your company?
As the above information clearly demonstrates, the market share, reach, and usefulness of eSignature platforms are all continuing to expand at a breathtaking rate. Nevertheless, eSignature software is not enough on its own to provide a seamless customer experience; nor is it sufficient in itself to optimize business operations. An eSignature should be the last step in an end-to-end process that covers all aspects of the customer experience.
With that in mind, what should you look for in an eSignature solution? You should definitely consider the following questions:
- Does this platform allow for easy implementation and integration?
- What level of security does this software offer?
- Does it meet all applicable legal standards?
- Does it form part of a holistic solution that truly elevates the customer experience?
At EasySend, we provide an agile, easily integrated platform for all of your digital documentation and validation needs – and our eSignature software is an essential aspect of our end-to-end customer experience solution. If you’d like to learn more about our capabilities and services easily integrated or want to discover more insights into CX solutions for the insurance industry, sign up for a demo today.