Why Go Paperless? A Roadmap to Becoming Truly ‘Digital’
Technology | Katie Condon | May 30 2019
Office environments and how they are organized can truly make or break a good workflow. The degree to which an office relies on paper versus digital communications makes a huge difference — environmentally and operationally. The more risk-compliant among us know that having confidential information written in plain sight is an egregious security violation (read more on this here). But if that isn’t bad enough, a paper-centric office space can also breed disorganization and frustration like wildfire.
Although there are some benefits to paper (jotting down notes increases retention, aids creativity, is more rewarding, etc.) digital agencies or brokerages can truly benefit from transitioning to a digital-first model. With the juxtaposition of new project management technology and traditional, paper-based methods, how can insurance professionals adapt? Transitioning to a paperless model might be the answer.
Top 5 Reasons to Go Paperless
It improves the customer experience.
How can you make your customers feel more empowered? Give them everything they need, right at their fingertips. Using an insurance app like Applied MobileInsured means your clients don’t have to take the time to go to the office or wait for you to send them documents to sign, scan and send back. Technological innovations like e-signature, fillable pdfs and the powerful agency management system streamline the process. They let your customers decide how and when to file claims, purchase services and connect to insurance agents. It also fits the communication preferences of Millennials and Generation Z, key groups that will increasingly be using insurance services.
It improves agency/brokerage productivity.
Employing digital-first methods can significantly cut down on the amount of time agents spend communicating with insureds and partners. This is especially true when taking into account the time saved but automating certain kinds of data exchanges. Eliminating the manual process of paperwork frees up your staff to spend more time building better relationships and providing more personalized services. The below video from Applied Systems shows how taking advantage of technology can save users almost one hour per day per employee. What is your agency going to do with all this new-found time?
Notes Will Jones in IA Magazine, “When intentionally implemented, an abundance of non-paper technology — such as e-signature, fillable PDFs, agency management systems and downloadable applications — can improve productivity and free up time and money for agencies to grow their business. “
It saves money. Lots of it.
The IVANs 2018 Connectivity Survey reported that insurers indicated they spend over $38,000 a year on sending paper policy documents to agencies. Document delivery processes, particularly the ones requiring manual time to develop and organize, can hurt a growing business. Not only does this require staff time, but the cost of printing and shipping physical documents cannot be ignored. Learn how automation can help you can reduce costs by watching this video:
It can minimize errors, delay and confusion.
What happens when insurance agents have to manually update loads of data in a computer system? The possibility for human error increases. Explains Jamie Wiecks, a commercial sales manager in Financial Services and Insurance at DocuSign, “Taking a handwritten form or application and rekeying the information into an AMS or quoting platform opens up ample opportunity for ‘misspelled names or addresses, or anything that can have a big impact down the road and take a long time to correct.’”
Digital documents, like fillable PDFs, can easily transfer all information into the system following its specific naming protocol and settings. It is much faster than a manual form fill, and greatly increases accuracy.
Having digital documents provides another benefit: They are easily searchable. If a customer calls with a specific account or policy question, agents can easily use the system to find their information and provide the best answer.
It will make you more prepared for an audit.
Connections has lots of tips to prepare for an audit, but one of the best tips is to go paperless. A digital agency or brokerage can create one, centralized location for all customer information, as well as carriers, vendors, prospects, employees, etc. Because digital documents can be permanently housed and revision history shows edits through time, you always have an audit trail. A streamlined system shows that your company is organized, in control of its data and prepared for a variety of situations.
The Bottom Line
Going paperless provides a number of benefits to your agency or brokerage. Applied Epic and Applied TAM, along with Applied CSR24 technology, can help your team and your customers cut out paper. Learn more about the benefits of being a digital agency today.