This article was generously provided by Christine-Lyne Fulham, Business Development Consultant, Financial Horizons Group, Quebec Region.
Online sales are speeding up sales processes across countless industries – and the financial services industry is no exception. Consumers feel more and more at ease with the idea of turning to e-commerce to make transactions from the comfort of their personal computers, tablets, or smartphones.
For insurance, this means that with just a few clicks, an application can make its way to the insurer and the process of underwriting can begin.
And, even better: in most cases, the system will notify the user immediately if information is missing so that a response can be provided and the process can continue.
As incredible as it seems, this is the world we now live in. This quick and remote approach results in faster decision making and fulfillment.
As an advisor, your time is valuable and you want the best for your clients. Here are a few interesting points on the current state of online sales in insurance:
Intelligent platforms (currently offered by few insurers)
These platforms will guide you through an innovative, intelligent process with the goal of quickly accepting the application with the fewest requirements possible. The process takes place in real time and processing begins at once. The platform analyzes your clients’ profiles while asking only relevant questions and omitting those that don’t apply to their situation. Imagine, your client can be accepted within minutes!
What’s more, this speed has other major advantages. In fact, if a client’s initial application is rejected, the advisor knows immediately (especially if you are sitting with your client); the advisor can then propose an alternative right away. This significantly reduces the chance of “losing” a client!
When this process is done on paper, situations like this require the advisor to see the client again to notify them of the refusal, which is never pleasant; it also then becomes even harder to convince the client to subscribe to a second product.
Remote sales (currently accepted by most insurers)
Sometimes clients or advisors may not have the time to make the trip to meet each other and as a result, consumers appreciate the ability to do business with their advisor remotely. That process can still be quick and effective.
Note: some insurers may have additional requirements such as screen sharing or a signed document authorizing remote sales.
Clients should also have a valid email address. If the client does not have a valid email address, some insurers provide a paper authorization document to sign, but this slows down the process.
Some points to remember
- The advisor must comply with the rules of the regulator from which his licence is issued (for example, having a valid licence in the province in which the client resides in order to make a sale);
- There may be different steps for face-to-face electronic sales and sales that are not face-to-face;
- The laws and compliance norms must always be respected;
- The advisor must always verify the contracting party’s identity (photo ID required);
- A financial needs analysis (FNA) must always be done.
In short, the adoption of E-commerce and online sales practices are new developments to the financial services industry. As an advisor, you’re an expert and you know your clients best. Could you better serve any of your clients by trying something new and taking the leap toward online sales?