Digital Life And Income Insurance (Tech) Companies Is A Growing Trend

Digital Life And Income Insurance (Tech) Companies Is A Growing Trend

1 August 2022

Originally posted at Broker World Magazine

 

We see what I like to call “digital insurance companies” and think instant issue and direct-to-consumer for low priced limited benefit products. There is so much more that many people in the industry don’t know about these companies including myself, until back in April I had the honor to moderate a panel at the LIMRA Life Insurance Conference in Tampa. On the panel were leaders from Bestow, Ethos, and Ladder Life. Also this year I was contacted by an old friend and colleague from when I worked at Genworth who introduced me to Asteya, which is an insurance company with a digital platform for products like disability insurance. What I have learned from all these companies is that they each have their own unique digital model for selling insurance, powerful insurance products, advanced AI technology for underwriting, and are in other distribution channels like independent brokerage. I see this as a trend that is growing, and there are several other companies out there competing. Today we are going to focus on three unique digital sales platforms.

 

My company, InsurTech Express, is currently marketing Asteya’s digital platform. I asked Chad Ourso who leads distribution sales and Noelle Bartlett, life distribution marketing, to explain the Asteya offering and digital platform. Let’s dive in.

 

If you had to guess what was more likely to happen, getting injured due to accident or illness and not being able to work versus passing away, you would likely say the former. But, did you know that you’re 3.5 times more likely to need disability insurance than you are life? Yet only 29 percent of people have disability coverage compared to 44 percent that have individual life insurance policies. Some believe that this gap in the market is due to three different issues: Poor positioning, lack of education, and accessibility.

 

Compared to life, car, and health insurance, the term “disability insurance” is out of place because it doesn’t make known what it’s protecting—your income! We don’t call life insurance “death insurance,” right? Asteya believes that the term “income insurance” better represents what is being insured and why it’s necessary to have.

 

Looking at the overall market, there’s an accessibility issue. Historically, income insurance was marketed and sold exclusively to white collar professionals with high incomes. The purchasing process was laborious and included medical exams, bloodwork, and had an application process that could take up to 90 days. Luckily, thanks to technology and new types of products, income insurance is now more accessible than ever.

 

With new instant issue products that are tech-first and use AI-powered underwriting engines, the speed in which a policy can be sold (agent assisted quote to issue in 15 minutes) is matched with the ease of case management and administration handled through an online dashboard. These are likely some of the reasons why five-year benefit periods are a big growth segment, making up 17 percent of U.S. sales, when historically it was much lower according to Milliman’s 2021 annual survey. Paired with the workforce now demanding access to non-employer sponsored benefits, freelancers, independent contractors, and blue-collared professionals are receptive and excited to be educated on and get access to income insurance.

 

So, whether you’re interested in including income insurance (DI) into the suite of products you sell or want to see how one insurtech company is using technology to standout and move forward, check out asteya.world to learn more and contact Chad Ourso at chad.ourso@asteya.world.

 

Ethos’ Digital Ecosystem
After reaching out to Marty Schaefer, chief distribution officer of Ethos, he offered to tell his story and discuss the innovative technology of Ethos: “In 1998, I started in this industry as a retail agent, meeting families at kitchen tables late at night. I helped deliver the true, democratized value of the product we sell, providing a critical safety net for grieving families. But the industry faced several intractable challenges. The agent base was beginning to age and shrink rapidly. Remaining agents faced time and resource constraints selling a high-touch product that took weeks or months of underwriting. These constraints meant I could only reach a handful of families in a typical week.

 

“Last year I joined Ethos because I saw a compelling solution to these long-standing issues. I saw a 100 percent digital ecosystem that eliminates all of the most challenging things about buying insurance—for both consumers and agents. It makes medical exams a thing of the past, offering affordable coverage for almost everyone in just minutes. Ethos’ underwriting engine analyzes 300,000+ data points from authorized sources in real time. It works together with our online application, featuring 1,300 reflexive health and lifestyle questions, to determine the best product fit for clients. Using this system, we can instantly approve about 95 percent of applicants ages 18-85. We do it by working with top carriers to offer the broadest range of digital term and whole life products in the industry, some created for our proprietary process.

 

“In a world where it’s impossible for a financial advisor or insurance agent to meet every consumer’s needs, this fully automated solution now gives agents a way to provide the best underwriting review of every applicant with little to no overhead. This expands our ability to offer life insurance to more consumers, growing margins, efficiency and scale. Agents and agencies are starting to envision the multiplier effect that can have for their business. They see that concurrently to their brokerage appointments, their team can now present life insurance to 100 more people and protect 50 families per week versus just a handful in person. They can now meet that democratized need within time and revenue constraints. Our robust agent portal and custom URL make it simple for them to manage and grow their business.

 

It’s the most powerful, all-encompassing instant issue buy box in the U.S.—and a tipping point that’s just beginning. We see the greatest opportunity ahead in working with our brokerage partners to reach today’s 80 million uninsured and under-insured Americans.” To discuss the Ethos opportunity for your BGA, please contact Marty Schafermarty.schafer@getethos.com, or Jason Speigel, head of life distribution, at jason.speigel@getethos.com.”

 

Bestow’s End-To-End Digital Term Life Insurance Experience
Many of you may know Steve Robinson, chief distribution officer at Bestow. Steve is an industry veteran. I see Steve often at industry events. Steve and his team took time out from their busy schedules to share what differentiates Bestow and an inside look at their end-to-end digital life insurance experience.

 

Selling life insurance has been historically tedious, with processes that waste precious time for agents all while they risk losing sales when customers tire of the back and forth. Even the most seemingly straightforward transaction, like purchasing a basic term life insurance policy, can take weeks or months. This tech laggard experience is not ideal when people have the power to purchase almost anything online and see it arrive on their doorstep the next day. It shouldn’t take weeks to buy anything, including your term life insurance policy.

 

Since time is money, this inevitably shifted advisors’ focus to more affluent and, therefore, more profitable customers, leaving middle- and lower-income Americans uninformed about their coverage needs and critically underinsured. The industry must adopt technology solutions that meet the needs and expectations of today’s customers to break this trend. And life insurance carriers must equip agents with the tools to succeed in today’s more competitive sales environment.

 

Enter Bestow, the leading life insurance technology company built to make life insurance more accessible to millions of people who need it. Bestow is building technology to digitize the industry at large and has created an end-to-end digital term life insurance experience that empowers agents to make faster sales by solving complex industry pain points. This enables agents to expand the life insurance market they serve and provide a better experience to their clients. Customers who purchase a term life insurance policy on Bestow’s platform can apply and, if approved, bind their coverage in as little as five minutes.

 

Key technologies that Bestow provides:

  • The Online Application: a customer-driven, fully digital application with instant-decision underwriting and end to end journey from approval to payment.
  • Agent Link: a unique co-branded website solution that gives agents an easy way to share the application with clients and prospects.
  • Agent Application: an application platform built for call center sales done completely over the phone in minutes, that provides agents more control over the customer experience and application journey.
  • Protect: enables partners to embed a fully-hosted, 100 percent digital term life insurance buying experience either through API integration with a customizable, white-labeled offering or through a simpler plug-and-play solution.

 

Today, Bestow goes to market in the brokerage channel as an agency and third party administrator (TPA) selling policies issued by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance.®* Customers can apply for and, if approved, purchase up to $1.5 million in coverage in as little as five minutes within the partner’s application or website. A medical exam is never required. In addition, the company has successfully become a nationally licensed life insurance company. With licenses in 48 states and the District of Columbia, Bestow Life Insurance Company (BLIC) will be able to design and launch its own innovative financial protection products in the near future.

 

Bestow is committed to giving agents the tools they need to make a sale in minutes, not months. Digitization enables advisors to reach more customers by leveraging technology that eliminates paperwork and case management. Providing a convenient, frictionless process to clients can be even more impactful to the advisor than competitive compensation. When agents have this capability at their fingertips, it enables them to help more clients while expanding their business to new markets and additional revenue streams. To learn more contact Steve Robinson at stephen@bestow.com.

 

Reference
*Life insurance quotes provided by Bestow Agency, LLC dba Bestow Insurance Services in CA, who is the licensed agent. Term Life Insurance Policies offered by Bestow are issued on policy form LS181 and LS182, or state version including all applicable endorsements and riders, by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance,® Administrative Office, One Sammons Plaza, Sioux Falls, SD 57193. Products or issues ages may not be available in all jurisdictions. Limitations or restrictions may apply. Not available in New York. Our application asks about your lifestyle and health to determine eligibility in order to avoid requiring a medical exam.

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