3 min read

How is Disruption Manifesting Along the Life Insurance Value Chain?

These are the areas of the life insurance value chain that are impacted when insurers improve their time-to-market, test-and-learn capabilities, and adaptability.

In our last blog, we discussed the three strategic competencies life insurers must focus on to win new customers and delight current ones. Creating satisfying digital experiences (e.g., instant decisions, on-demand advisors, self-service portals) akin to other industries such as retail is at the heart of all three competencies. Now, let’s dive into the specific areas of the life insurance value chain that are impacted.

Click here to learn how Principal Financial Group used no-code to strategically digitize at scale and enhance the customer experience

Distribution & new business

Today, 59% of applicants are starting their research process online, specifically looking for info on products and services. They are looking to have an easy, straightforward experience where they can understand the process, the information required from them, and the timeline. They also want to be able to receive help, on their terms, in determining how much coverage to apply for. 

Today, 59% of applicants are starting their research process online, specifically looking for info on products and services.

Customers expect an application process that provides the following benefits:

  • Fully digitized eApplications with optimized paths and reflexive questions tailored to underwriting end state

  • Minimally invasive process 

  • Personalization and needs diagnostics

  • Ability to reach out for expert advice when needed 

  • Transparent, real-time statusing to understand where a decision is in the process and factors that influenced it

Furthermore, the impact of COVID-19 has accelerated the need for effective digital tools and insights to help agents focus most of their efforts on customer relationships as opposed to administrative maneuvering. Agent enablement is key. Agents need:

  • A streamlined, digitized end-to-end new business process lifecycle 

  • Transparency into decisions, statuses, information required, and all communications with customers 

  • One-stop-shop portals with information on performance, customers, and activities 


As stated in our last blog, customers are more likely to buy insurance if “simplified underwriting” is used that is fast and easy (66%), provides transparent explanations of risk and pricing (58%), and avoids medical exams (56%). As carriers are working on the AI models and capabilities that will enable them to deliver this for more people—for increasingly riskier profiles (e.g., higher age, higher face amount)—and for more complex products, they must ensure they have the mechanisms in place to provide transparency to applicants and make the process as simple as possible. 

Within the underwriting function, applications are needed that support the following: 

  • Omni-channel digital experiences that incorporate UW rules, servicing, and statusing 

  • Workload management and collaboration (work allocation, team management, notes capture and searchability, notifications, document management, SLA tracking) 

  • Centralized communication hub with agents and policyholders 

  • Integrations into reinsurer calculation engines and AI models

  • Integrations into data providers (like Human API) to retrieve health records and enable underwriters to more effectively manage evidences and view pertinent information

Operations, Servicing & Retention 

Today, self-service solutions are increasingly considered table stakes. For them to be effective and up to par with customer expectations, they have to be designed effectively and integrated into existing solutions. Customers expect personalization, responsiveness, and ease of interaction when working with their chosen carriers. Offering a unified self-service portal where policyholders do not have to re-key information, can see all their information in one place, and can successfully perform desired activities (e.g., beneficiary changes) is key.

Carriers should also enable customers to escalate to human support and expert advice when they want or need to. Almost all respondents to a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) survey (97%) said they were satisfied with the experience of talking to a financial professional when seeking service with their policy. The next most popular service options also had some element of real-time human support (like call centers, callbacks, and live chat), beating out non-interactive digital channels. Carriers must be able to properly marry a tech-touch and high-touch experience.

Last but not least, policyholders expect their carrier to be a true partner, providing them with value-added services and experiences beyond a transactional relationship. Ultimately, this is what drives retention. In particular, customers want value-added services like financial wellness education to support their broader financial needs. Carriers also need to explore how they can factor health-focused programs into incentives and continuous underwriting.

Respond to disruption with no-code

With Unqork, life insurers can begin to transform their distribution, underwriting, and operations  in weeks—not months or years. 

At Unqork we have worked with our life insurance customers to deliver a series of applications into production. Stay tuned for our next installment to learn more about the tactical changes life insurance carriers have made to respond to disruption.

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