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MarketFacts-Cover-2021.JPGOver the past several years, financial services companies have sought to leverage advances in technology to become more efficient and improve customer engagement. Based on interviews with 13 senior leaders across the insurance and retirement industries, LL Global, the parent company of LIMRA and LOMA, explored how the COVID-19 pandemic hastened the pace of adoption of digital solutions and what these executives predict for the future.

“The pandemic has clearly accelerated the digital transformation of the industry that already was underway,” said John Grogan, executive vice president and chief product officer, Northwestern Mutual.

Pre-pandemic, the surveyed executives said their companies had already begun to transform underwriting and improve the customer journey, using advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). LIMRA research confirms this — in 2019 more than 8 in 10 carriers had in place or planned to implement automated underwriting programs. Once the pandemic hit, these tools were particularly important when traditional underwriting means were unavailable due to social distancing guidelines. As a result, more than a third of companies reported expansions to their automated underwriting programs.

The benefits of data analytics and AI extend beyond underwriting. “Use cases around distribution, operations, marketing and HR have shown promising results in terms of improved efficiency, improved productivity, improved decision-making, improved targeting and more,” said William Gaumond, chief financial officer, Allianz Life.

Digital tools have also helped transform the customer experience during COVID-19 as companies used e-applications, e-signatures, e-notarization, and e-delivery of policy documents when face-to-face interactions were not possible. The industry is working to make these standards permanent to ensure customers can enjoy the same customer experience post-pandemic.

“The customer experience is, in my opinion, one of the most important catalysts for industry growth,” said Neil Sprackling, president, U.S. Life & Health, Swiss Re. “If we can continue to improve the customer experience…we will create a relationship with the end customer that other retail organizations have achieved.”

To read more about what executives expect in 2021, visit:

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