When asked why they don’t buy life insurance, many people will cite the expense. However, most pay more annually for their smartphone than they would if they bought a life insurance policy while they were relatively young and healthy. Even if they wait until they’re middle-aged, a healthy, active, non-smoking adult can still get some pretty good rates on policies these days – at least comparable to the average monthly smartphone bill.
The real problem may have less to do with cost and more to do with the fact that life insurance isn’t an easy purchase to make. No one wants to think about their demise, especially when they’re in the prime of their lives and have multiple, competing priorities. Add in meeting with agents, complicated terms, a lengthy application process, and perhaps the most dreaded of all – a medical exam – you have plenty of reasons for the average person to put it off.
Insurtechs are helping the industry overcome many of these hurdles by making the process of buying life insurance easier. Here are just a few of the ways they are building on and modernizing many of the processes that life insurance carriers have used over the years; discovering new and different ways to help more people in more markets than ever before.
#1 Requiring Less Face-to-Face Time.
Let’s face it, many people still see the life insurance process as somewhat “salesy.”
Xiaobang is doing their part to break this mold by offering an all-digital interaction that focuses on education instead of product sales. Consumers can pay to take online classes conducted by Xiaobang’s founder, Xu Bin, himself a Harvard-trained statistician. They can also receive advisory services through Xiaobang, but even then, the focus is on education and building trust, not closing the sale. The agents who provide these advisory services are all trained directly by Xu Bin himself.
Despite their low-pressure, educational approach, Xiaobang’s strategy is paying off. Long-term life insurance products are notoriously hard to sell online, not just in China but elsewhere as well, due to their complexity. Three-quarters of Xiaobang’s premiums are long-term, and agents have a 40% conversion rate.
#2 Accelerating the Underwriting Process.
Assessing risk accurately is vital to ensuring the long-term viability of the carrier. (A carrier that isn’t financially stable isn’t much good to its customers!) But, full underwriting is an expensive, invasive, and lengthy process.
Big data analytics is helping carriers speed up the underwriting process and improve outcomes by tying easily accessible data to mortality rates. For example, research has shown that motor vehicle records and credit scores can be correlated to mortality rates. For some segments of the population, this data can even be used in place of an exam performed by the carrier’s medical representative. Not only does this speed up the approval process, but it also allows many to skip the medical exam altogether.
#3 Helping People Get Everything in Order.
Planning for a life event is about more than buying insurance. Sure, life insurance can help ensure your family will have enough to cover their expenses, but the process of settling an estate can be very stressful and time-consuming. One of the kindest things you can do for your loved ones is to get everything in order before you go.
Solutions like Everplans help individuals get everything in order, including wills, insurance policies, healthcare documents, accounts, and more. Storing everything in one place makes it easier for your loved ones to manage your health and financial assets should you no longer be capable of doing so. As we continue to live longer and longer, solutions such as these are going to be an increasingly vital part of the total financial responsibility picture.
#4 Making it Easier to Get the Job Done.
Tomorrow is on a mission to help families make decisions about the future together, and they’ve decided to start by tackling one of the tasks too many people leave until it’s too late: the creation of their will. To carry out their mission, Tomorrow created a free app that allows the user to create a will on any iOS or Android device or via a web browser.
The Tomorrow app is designed to be visually appealing and easy to use as it presents the user with a series of questions. As part of the process, Tomorrow reminds the user of the importance of life insurance and allows them to purchase it right from the app.
#5 Making Insurance Part of Life.
As in other regions of the world, Chinese people often get at least a portion of their healthcare covered through indirect sources, but these sources cover only a fraction of the costs. Shuidi, an insurtech based in Beijing, is leveraging two elements of Chinese culture – one modern and one ancient – to help people be financially responsible.
Chinese people have a long tradition of making cash contributions to friends and family in a time of need. So Shuidi set up a forum on WeChat to make it easier for those needing an expensive medical treatment to reach out for help. Through the platform, Shuidi offers low-priced coverage for the same condition afflicting the individual to whom they are donating. They also upsell additional health insurance products, including more comprehensive coverage.
As reported in The Digital Insurer, Shuidi is seeing this approach pay off. The WeChat forum already has more than 110 million registered users. Of these, 32 million have purchased the focused coverage. Of that 32 million, 6 million have purchased more traditional, comprehensive coverage. Doing the math, this comes out to be a 5.4% conversion rate from registered user to policyholder.
As importantly, Shuidi is using the electronic forum to reach inland Chinese cities that have historically had less access to supplemental coverage than those living in the coastal cities like Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tianjin.
#6 Motivating Them to Stick with the Program.
Large and midsized employers have been offering employee wellness programs for decades, but it can be challenging to get people to stick with the program. QuealthTM is a digital health improvement program that combines their award-winning Quealth Score – a universally recognized and trusted predictor of health risk – with a thorough understanding of human personality types to create a program in which employees are eager to participate.
The Quealth Wellness Engagement Hub combines the clinically validated suite of Quealth Score algorithms with a modern technological approach, including wearable integration, configurable assessments (financial as well as physical and mental health), multi-media integration, and gamification.
The results have been stellar, including those from one study which showed:
- BMI: average reduction of 3.2 % (8.8% in high-risk individuals)
- Waist girth: average reduction of 3.7%
- Cholesterol: average reduction of 8.2%
- Blood pressure: average reduction of 3.6%
Give Them the Tools They Need.
Money is still the great motivator for many of us. Plus, behavior-based premiums carry with them a sense of “fairness” that can be appealing. “Instead of paying the same rate as people who don’t care as much about their health, I can lower my own premiums by looking out for my own well-being.” Insurtechs are helping carriers implement behavior-based premiums based on actual data and quantifiable research that lower the carrier’s risk.
Plus, given the success of the insurtech examples shared above, as well as many more like them, people are becoming increasingly eager to take responsibility for their personal well-being. Insurtechs and the carriers behind these solutions are giving people the tools they need, ultimately helping to close the insurance industry coverage gap.