The Future of Paperwork in Insurance

EasySend blog - the future of paperwork in insurance

The word “paperwork” has been in use since 1899, but clerical record-keeping has been around since at least the 15th century.  In the Middle Ages, law clerks drafted contracts onto paper for signing.  A mistake meant starting over.  Copies had to be prepared by hand.  Today, contracts are computer-generated, printed and signed.  Errors are quickly corrected, and copies are made instantly.    

In 600 years, paperwork hasn’t really changed.   We may have moved from hand-generated to computer-generated documents, but we still use printed copies that require in-person signatures.  Isn’t it time paperwork moved into the 21st century?

Know your enemy: pseudo-Digital Transformation

Insurers may have moved paper-based processes to electronic, but they haven’t moved to digital.  For example, converting a Word document to a PDF for downloading misses the underlying objective of digital transformation.  PDFs are not user-friendly.  They do not display well on mobile devices.  If the document needs a signature, the end-user has to print, sign and return.  Sometimes, PDFs do not print as formatted.  

Using electronic paper or E-paper may make displaying text more user-friendly, but it is designed for read-only documents.  E-paper technology imitates ink on paper by reflecting rather than emitting light.  It may be easier on the eyes, but it doesn’t support completing forms or signing documents online.

What keeps insurers from moving to a fully digital solution?  Three common reasons are:

  • Legacy systems that do not integrate with new technology
  • Shortage of qualified personnel
  • Added costs for equipment and services

Although these may be obstacles to an end-to-end digital solution, the primary challenge is changing the mindset.  The industry has to embrace a digital transformation in insurance.

What does the future of digital paperwork actually look like? Hint: digital journeys

Effective use of digital paperwork requires more than new technology.  It involves a re-evaluation of existing workflows with a focus on customer experience.  For example, can multiple forms be reduced to one?  Why are three copies needed?  By viewing old processes from a customer’s perspective, the insurance industry can develop new workflows that improve customer interaction. 

For businesses to thrive in tomorrow’s digital world, they must realize that paperwork should:

  • Prioritize the customer journey
  • Leverage existing customer information
  • Personalize the customer experience
  • Integrate throughout the enterprise

Unless organizations are willing to revisit their processes, they will struggle to implement integrated digital workflows that focus on the customer.  Without these components, companies will have difficulty leveraging customer data for a personalized experience.  They will fail to thrive.

But how can we transform boring paperwork into amazing digital experiences? Here are few steps to take.

Setting priorities: improve experience or die

As companies prioritize their customers, they often forget about their employees.  Research shows that happy employees make happy customers.  As insurers move to improve their customers’ experiences, they need to look at their employees.  Without a comprehensive strategy, organizations may implement digital solutions that place more burdens on staff as they try to bridge the gap between old and new technologies.  

Leverage your data

Most companies have a significant amount of customer data.  They just can’t access it.  Becoming more digital means pre-filling forms with known data.  Think about how nice it is when Google completes your address information, based on your email.  That’s the type of digital transformation the insurance industry needs.

Don’t just collect data: personalize

Customer information can be used to develop more personalized promotions or better product suggestions.  With the right set of tools, insurers can analyze data to deliver a more customized experience.  In-app recommendations influence people.

Integrate into your business

Digital transformation in insurance must be an end-to-end solution. Change is about the digital journey.  The information has to be centralized and available to customer-facing personnel; otherwise, the customer’s digital journey is not fully transformed.  At some point, the customer is experiencing the old workflows.  

Tomorrow’s paperwork would be digital.  Document processing would no longer resemble Middle Age methods.  Instead, the information would be centralized.  Computer systems, as well as employees, could access the information to deliver personalized customer experiences. 

Why now is the best time to transform paperwork into digital journeys

We may not know the future, but we can learn from the past.  When the world changes overnight, businesses survive or fail.  It is only after the fact that we see which companies thrived.  When business is disrupted, it’s the agile organizations that can pivot and thrive.  It’s hard to be agile when weighted down by paper.

Take onboarding as an example.  The typical experience begins with completing paper-based forms, many of which require the new hire to enter the same information multiple times.   An alternative future would start with a digitized form that the new hire completes.  The form is designed, so the repetitive information is captured once.  The data is then used to pre-fill information in subsequent forms.  

For new hires, the typical onboarding process is disappointing.  They were looking for that innovative company that interviewed them.  With a digital process, new hires experience creative approaches to onboarding first-hand.  They don’t have to re-enter information or carry completed forms down the hall to Human Resources and Payroll.  They do not experience a disconnect between what is said and what is done.

So, how does the digital-only onboarding experience impact the customer’s journey?  The primary factor in employee satisfaction worldwide is a company’s culture and values.  If there is a disconnect, the employee becomes dissatisfied and disengaged, which eventually is reflected in the way they do their job and treat the customer.  When experts talk about digital transformation, they mean looking at everything that could impact the customer’s journey — even a new hire’s first day.

No-Code revolution is here

No-code solutions can help the insurance industry with its digital transformation.  They can help employees stay engaged as the industry moves forward.  By giving non-technical workers the ability to create apps, no-code increases the number of people actively involved in the transformation.  The more people participating in change, the faster organizations can move towards a fully envisioned transformation. 

With transformation comes growth.  No-code platforms such as EasySend’s are designed to perform at scale.  That means, companies can continue to thrive without having to re-engineer the infrastructure.  No-code can serve as a bridge between today’s technologies and be a crucial component in the future’s digital delivery.

Sadly, paperwork will be part of the future.  Regulatory and legal standards will still apply.  However, paper-based processes can be turned into paperless processes with digital solutions.  Why not let us show you how?