Why Aren't Life Policyholders Online?

Why Aren’t Policyholders Online?


Is it really out of reach to expect our policyholder service and prospecting to be more automated and online?

As I was registering for my hotel to speak recently at a BGA’s sales and marketing meeting on InforcePro, I was prompted to “register with Facebook”. As a millennial, I was not intimidated by that offer – it means that my information will be automatically populated from my profile to save me the time of filling it in, now and in the future, in exchange for providing their “portal” with access to my Facebook profile. It’s a win-win: I like when it’s easy to sign in, and the software company behind the “social sign in” likes to know when I’m traveling next (insofar as that can be ascertained by mining my Facebook feed).

Only 1 in 20 policyholders currently has the ability to engage with their life insurance policy online. Unlike registering for the event that I was, we have built too few opportunities for policyholders to “link” their millions of social accounts to us to ascertain critical data into tools like InforcePro and others. Consider the possibilities. Policyholder engagement technology can, itself, mine their profile for keyword combinations such as “our engagement”, “our baby boy”, and “addition to our family”. Technology can help us identify such keywords passively and without infringing on their privacy – after all, a ‘profile’ is by its nature ‘public’ – while enabling automatic responses to likely needs for additional coverage.

Many people used to, and some still do, announce their wedding or the birth of their child in their local newspaper. Some of the savviest agents used to prospect that way and I heard about their success as a thing of legend. With technology, we can deliver the best practices of some agents to all agents, increasing our productivity as an industry and, ultimately, as a society.

Aside from the policyholders’ own profile, such technology could also monitor their newsfeed for keywords – if their friends are having babies or getting married. Then, we can subtly, or not so subtly, encourage them to refer their friend to their trusted life insurance provider. If everyone who reached one of those key milestones was involved in a life insurance discussion, we could surely turn around the seemingly uncontrollable decline in household life insurance coverage. The possibilities are endless.

But this all requires giving policyholders a reason to engage with their life insurance online. InforcePRO is at the forefront of enabling policyholders to engage on an ongoing basis with premium payments, policy dates and options, adding or subtracting coverage, and so on via an online portal, but many others are catching on. John Hancock’s new Vitality product, for instance, will require policyholders to be online to claim premium credits and upload medical data.

Once we get all new policyholders online during policy issue, we can begin to focus on the more creative technical aspects of having them there. Registering with Twitter, we can see how influential that policyholder is by monitoring their frequency of tweeting and their number of followers. Those are policyholders who could get even whiter glove service. I recently discovered that a friend of mine at an IMO had over 11,000 Twitter followers. Who would have known?

Registering their portal with LinkedIn, on the other hand, will allow us to mine for job changes, promotions, and even job loss. A position change appears on a LinkedIn newsfeed and often generates conversation and commentary such as “congratulations!!” A promotion generates the same activity. The approximate new salary can be determined by the software matching the policyholders’ new job title with the average salary of a similar title and location on Glassdoor. We can then make a custom but automated offer for additional life and disability coverage according to their new salary.

Or what if the insured “is no longer with the company” and is engaged on LinkedIn’s resume service? Being unemployed, even temporarily, can be traumatic. What if your insurance portal was connected to your LinkedIn and made you aware of the flexibility in your UL contract to stop paying premiums? Wouldn’t that customer closeness improve our relationship with policyholders, and their impression of our industry?

As mentioned, John Hancock is getting closer to policyholders now, with the introduction of Vitality, which allows one to earn premium credits for healthy behavior. But that’s just the start. If we progress technologically, then we will be healthy and vibrant, just like our policyholders, for another 200 years.