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Founded more than a century ago, this client is one of the largest mutual life insurance companies in the United States. With more than 5,000 employees, 2,900 financial representatives and more than 80 agencies nationwide, the company and its subsidiaries protect individuals, businesses and their employees with life, disability, health and dental insurance products, and offer 401(k), financial products and trust services.
The insurer was facing a challenging competitive environment and wanted to increase market share while lowering operating costs so it turned to Accenture to help develop a business case and bring the benefits of straight-through processing (STP) to policy administration and claims.
The client's business processes involved many steps ranging from prospect information to provision of illustrations and entry of application data from paper applications. The existing data entry application was inefficient, difficult to maintain, inconsistently applied across distributors and lacked the agility to introduce new products rapidly.
The process of underwriting and issuing a policy was largely manual and paper-intensive. None of the processes—from application and underwriting to policy issue—could share information making it almost impossible to track new business cases accurately and provide quality service to agents.
The company needed to reduce cycle times and increase efficiency in the application, underwriting and issue process. Furthermore, multiple legacy administration systems slowed new product introductions and were expensive to operate from the perspective of customer service and IT maintenance.
The situation required, among other things, that the company consolidate and simplify its IT infrastructure. The insurer recognized that it needed a next-generation administration system to solve the issues.
Accenture and its client partnered to introduce STP using the Accenture Life Insurance Platform for its individual life insurance business. The multi-phase project reengineered and automated the home office process while streamlining the sales process by integrating sales tools in the field. The system automated the movement of a case from inception at the time of sale straight through to the end of the process, facilitating all the steps required to activate the new policy, including automated interfaces with partners and other internal systems.
The insurer’s agents can use laptops to complete a “smart” application, ensuring good-order applications, generating required forms and collecting electronic signatures. Once new applications are uploaded, both agency and carrier home office staff review the application and begin the underwriting process. Ordering, receipt and evaluation of medical requirements are automated using a rules engine. A new imaging and workflow system further enhances the process. Once approved, policies can be printed at the agency.
Beyond streamlining processes, the company views STP as a way to retain and acquire new agents. Younger, technology-savvy people new to the workforce expect enhanced tools, and experienced agents will appreciate the ease of doing business with the carrier.
The company is also implementing a policy administration solution for universal life and variable universal life insurance policies. The conversion of the whole life business is in the planning stages.
Our client now has a more streamlined and proactive approach to core business processing—from point of sale through ongoing administration. The Accenture Life Insurance Platform provides the company with a highly efficient distribution and operating model, putting it on the path to be more competitive, increase market share and lower costs.
The implementation has resulted in significant improvements both in its general agency network and in the home office for both the underwriting and new business organization as well as policy administration. These improvements include faster policy issue cycles—eliminating the time required to send insurance policies through the mail system and the ability to offer efficient, personalized customer service.
The insurer is on track to achieve improvements in new business cycle time from quotation to issue, enhanced quality levels and faster new product development times.
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