The Ever Evolving Insurance Market – Observations from LIMRA’s Annual Enrollment Technology Strategy Seminar

Last month I had the distinction of once again representing FINEOS at LIMRA’s annual Enrollment Technology Strategy Seminar (ETSS).  The night before the conference, FINEOS sponsored a hot topics round table, which I had the opportunity to lead.  The topic for our table was the “Ever Evolving Insurance Market,” and how it is affected by new technologies, evolving benefits, competition, and the continued pursuit of optimum customer satisfaction.  Some interesting commonalities came out in the discussions:

  • Differentiation needs to take place with value and execution, not products. This was a very profound statement that was wholeheartedly agreed upon by the attendees.  How a carrier distributes its products, the speed at which it is done, the promise to brokers about when and how processes are executed, etc. all come into play.  Better use of technology from enrollment to defining what system is the “system of truth” all make for better experiences.  It is through better technology where trust is built with brokers, employers, and the ultimate customer – the employee.
  • More complex products and versions are not necessarily good. Though the “business” would like to have many options, simplified products/product sets serve several purposes:
    1. Products can more readily be supported “out-of-the-box” by all of a carrier’s current systems without having to resort to costly enhancements and customizations. Simpler products are speedier when it comes to time to market, implemention, and selling.
    2. Simple products and product sets are easier to be understood and sold. One carrier mentioned that they had over 30 variations of the same product for their brokers to sell!  As a former insurance agent myself, I didn’t mind several versions, but I can only imagine trying to understand over 30?
    3. Legal needs to simplify items for brokers and employers. Though it is understood that we live in a litigious society, a one-page product description turned into a 7-page document due to legal clarifications was just one example of legal over-complicating things.  A happy medium needs to be struck in order for brokers and employers to understand the products without being overwhelmed.

In summary, there is clearly a lot of energy and innovation in evolving the employee benefits space, from product design to enrollment to administration.  As a technology company, FINEOS is poised to work with all the various stakeholders in order to create the best customer experience.

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