Have E-Signatures Finally Arrived? An Update for Life Insurers

by Karen Monks, April 24, 2013
Industry Trends
North America

Abstract

As consumers and agents demand that insurers move toward automated processes, life insurers are no longer holding back on implementing e-signatures. Seventy-four percent of survey respondents said their companies were using some form of e-signatures in their dealings with customers or agents, compared to only 47% five years ago.

In the report Have E-Signatures Finally Arrived? An Update for Life Insurers, Celent updates an earlier Celent report, An E-Signature Update for US Insurers. This report re-examines the issues insurers face as they move toward straight-through processing enabled by process automation and punctuated by use of e-signatures.

Many of the myths that drove the debate over e-signatures have been debunked, such as the benefits not justifying the implementation efforts and cost, and customers and agents being nervous about e-signatures and not using them. Life insurers are beginning to see the reality that e-signatures present opportunities, not threats. Insurers are not only using e-signatures in their processes but also becoming more comfortable using a variety of methods.

“Insurers understand the need to reduce cycle time, improve process efficiency, and meet the demanding attitudes of their agents and customers. Few insurers refute that these are service imperatives that must be addressed by a combination of technology, process improvement, and organizational discipline,” says Karen Monks, Analyst with Celent’s Insurance Group and author of the report. “Today, insurers are much more optimistic in their assessment of the value that e-signatures might bring to insurance processes, and one-third of survey respondents state that e-signatures are now a competitive necessity.”

This report reviews e-signature tools, regulations, and trends. It uses survey data from two Celent surveys. It compares the two surveys to determine how much progress insurers have made in the use of e-signatures.

This 22-page report contains 10 figures and six tables.

Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally based analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is a wholly-owned operating unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

Media Contacts

North America
Michele Pace
mpace@celent.com
Tel: +1 212 345 1366

Europe (London)
Chris Williams
cwilliams@celent.com
Tel: +44 (0)782 448 3336

Asia (Tokyo)
Yumi Nagaoka
ynagaoka@celent.com
Tel.: +81 3 3500 3023

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

1

Introduction

2

 

E-Signature Basics

2

 

Why E-Signatures?

3

 

Myths Vs. Reality

3

 

Adoption Trends

6

Updating the Value Proposition

8

 

Moving Toward STP for Life Insurance New Business

8

 

Views on Potential Impact of E-Signature

9

 

Impediments to Progress

10

 

Addressing User Concerns

11

 

Drilldown on Areas of Concern

12

Moving Forward

15

Conclusion

19

 

Where to Next?

19

Leveraging Celent’s Expertise

21

 

Support for Financial Institutions

21

 

Support for Vendors

21

Related Celent Research

22

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