COVID-19 has changed the world in so many ways. The way we work and interact with each other has changed dramatically. It also changed the life insurance industry. Because of social distancing, companies had to adjust their day-to-day operations to continue to serve their current and potential customers.
Even before the pandemic, most organizations recognized the need to digitally transform their businesses if they hoped to remain relevant to today’s consumers. According to LIMRA research, 98% of respondents from financial services companies say their customers increasingly wanted to shop online and use video engagement tools. In addition, 9 in 10 believe consumers will continue to expect faster turnaround times.
The new study finds organizations’ IT departments were most focused on improving operational efficiencies and the customer experience during the pandemic. Almost 80% of survey respondents indicated that the pandemic accelerated their company’s digitization efforts. Yet organizations have made varying degrees of progress adopting digital solutions into their businesses. Nearly all respondents report that their companies have implemented or are piloting e-signatures and digital applications and more than 8 in 10 indicate that their companies have implemented or are piloting digital quoting and automated underwriting. But just 15% say their companies have implemented digital adjudication claims processes and nearly half have no digital claims program.
The ability to adapt and adopt digital solutions during the pandemic required a shift in how companies deployed their most valuable resource: their employees. Almost 8 in 10 respondents made operational changes. Of those who made changes, 7 in 10 respondents report their companies have increased cross-functional team collaboration and more than a quarter say they have invested in cross training their staff and reskilling employees. Efforts to improve the speed of decision making and reconfigure workflows were critical as over two thirds of respondents report formalized permanent remote/alternate work arrangements to accommodate the social distancing measures. While these measures help companies pivot during the crisis, there is an expectation that some changes will become permanent advancing the digitalization of their companies.
In our latest LIMRA Unplugged episode Kartik Sakthivel, LL Global chief information officer and Brandon Carter, president of USAA Life Company, discuss these findings from LIMRA’s 2020 Emerging Technology Executive Task Force and how USAA pivoted to help their customers during the pandemic.