At Protective, we've always focused on how we can make it easier for customers to protect their families, their livelihoods and their futures. That's why, when the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of life insurance, meeting our customers' needs remained a top priority.
While only 50% of our business was conducted electronically prior to the pandemic, that figure has since grown to 85%. And as acceleration and adoption rates of digital tools in the life insurance marketplace have increased, so have customers’ expectations.
Meeting customers where they are
Customers increasingly want to be in control. Although our industry has historically relied on face-to-face interactions, our customers want to purchase and view their policies when, where and how it's most convenient for them.
Before the pandemic began, Protective was already looking ahead, having recently launched Protective Velocity, a suite of digital capabilities that provides an easy, effortless experience for customers and agents alike. It allows the customer to apply for life insurance, accept and sign policies, and submit payment online and on any device and at any time of day.
The goals of our digital experience are three-fold:
- Improve the customer's experience
- Expedite the protection process
- Improve the ease of doing business with Protective for distributors
As a bonus, the process also protects the environment by reducing the need for paper, printing and postage.
Companies that did not have these digital capabilities and technologies already established at the height of the pandemic struggled as a result. Looking back, we are proud that Protective was well positioned, especially as customers developed a heightened sense of awareness of the need for life insurance.
To keep meeting our customers' needs and to stay ahead of industry-wide changes, we are continuing our investments in our digital capabilities, including the implementation of robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence in everything we do.
Our general road map has evolved quite a bit as we've moved from using paper medical records to electronic health records where possible. This will make a tremendous difference in accelerating the underwriting process, as it is now possible to quickly obtain health records rather than waiting for a doctor's office to scan and send them to us.
We're also building online interview capabilities to assess eligibility so customers can answer questions online 24 hours a day, seven days a week at their convenience instead of scheduling a phone call.
As we implement higher degrees of automation and robotics to improve the customer experience, we will continue to shave incremental time off the application process.
Helping more people
These improvements allow the Protective team to work toward our goal of getting more customers insured — making the team more efficient as a result. By the end of 2022, applying for life insurance with Protective could take place completely online (with the exception of any required medical exam).
In Advantage Insurance Network’s 13th Annual Brand Perception Study, a survey of life insurance distributors in the categories of electronic new business tools, ease of doing business, customer service and responsiveness, Protective finished first. Continuing to improve our digital tools is just one more way we are honoring our commitment to help more people achieve the sense of protection and security they deserve.
Kenneth Byrd is VP of New Business Operations at Protective.