Introducing ‘Application Concierge’. A new service to support smooth on-boarding.

Introducing ‘Application Concierge’. A new service to support smooth on-boarding.

One of the most challenging aspects of getting clients on risk is the application process. It’s often made challenging by some of the hoops insurers will make you jump through, or by a lack of engagement from the client, or just because it’s a complicated case. We wanted to find a way to make this process as easy as possible for both Adviser and client alike.

 

How did we approach the challenge?

Like most things at Integrity, we started with asking the Advisers we work with, how they wanted us to solve the problem. A number of key aspects emerged in this work.

  1. Speed – get it done, and get it done as quickly as possible. It’s hard to keep clients engaged in the process so the quicker the better. It’s also ‘2020’ and this stuff shouldn’t take weeks.
  2. Communication – keep me informed and always in the loop. The client is putting their trust in the Adviser and the way to maintain that trust is to ensure the Adviser is always informed and up to date. Communication should be proactive, Advisers shouldn’t have to chase it up.

Our solution? Application Concierge.

Over the last couple of months we have been ramping up support staff numbers and improving processes to be able to deliver, what we believe, is an application process that delivers on what Advisers have told us they want and what clients expect to get.

Our new Application Concierge process is speeding things up! 93% of new applications received are decisioned within 24 hours with more than 15% completed instantly! 83% underwriting decisioning within 2 days from receipt of further evidence (61% within 24 hours). As at Sept 2020.

Application Concierge is enabling better communication. With increased numbers in our application support team they’re on stand-by should any application require manual input or there is any need to proactively reach out to Advisers, plus every application has a dedicated underwriter to ensure consistency and one port of call.

 

How can I get it?

It’s now in place for all new applications. So whether you’re signing up someone new, or moving a client to Integrity – you’ll have the comfort of knowing we’ve got your back. 

Bridget Ramunno

Bridget Ramunno

General Manager, Operations.

Engaging first-time buyers in life insurance. How to make a great ‘first impression’.

Engaging first-time buyers in life insurance. How to make a great ‘first impression’.

As the saying goes ‘Life Insurance is sold, not bought’. And it can be hard work, not only to get the client educated enough appreciate the need for it, but then to keep them engaged throughout what can be a lengthy application process. So how do we overcome this? We might just have the answer… As the saying goes ‘Life Insurance is sold, not bought’. And it can be hard work, not only to get the client educated enough appreciate the need for it, but then to keep them engaged throughout what can be a lengthy application process. So how do we overcome this? We might just have the answer.

Natalie Sargeant, Head of Customer Experience, talks about some of the ways consumer behaviour is (finally) driving change in the Life Insurance industry. 

Why did it take so long for the notion of ‘customer centricity’ to reach the Life Insurance industry? 

Natalie: Life insurance is an old industry. It’s not for lack of people being customer centric and understanding customer needs, it’s more often an inability to be able to execute the desired change because of legacy systems that hold the industry back. Being able to understand the needs of customers when they have suffered an injury, illness, or death in the family, is really the starting point for designing a life insurance product and all of the processes around the claims experience. That is really what we are selling to the customer.Additionally, if we’re selling insurance products via an Adviser, we also have to intimately understand their client advice process and how the processes we design supports them. In other words, we are designing both an experience we will deliver, and an experience an Adviser will deliver. 

The whole industry is set up to compare ‘product specifics’ and not necessarily the ‘experience’ that comes with those products. How do we get more Advisers to see how the experience is the product? 

Natalie: Comparing products and pricing is a very important part of the process that Advisers go through in developing a recommendation for their clients. Risk researcher tools provide a good starting point for Advisers, but there is often more to it. In particular, what happens at claims time isn’t easily factored into the consideration process, because it’s not easily comparable until an Adviser has been through it with an insurer. An example of this would be, a client experiences illness or injury and are receiving an Income Insurance benefit. 

At a critical time in their recovery, how many hoops does the insurer make them jump through? With the number of requirements they need to provide, or forms they need to complete?

2. Can the Insurer pay them on the same day their wage would normally go in, or do they have to adjust all their automatic payments?

3. If there is an issue, is it escalated to an overseas call centre?

4. Do the staff make decisions based on sets of rules, or are they empowered to make values-based decisions?

All of this – distinguishes one product from another. You are not just buying what’s in the PDS. The experience and the process the insurer puts around the products is just as important as what’s in the box.    

Can you talk about some of the features we have built that help Advisers make a great first impression during application and quote  that match with modern consumer expectations around experience? 

Natalie: We’ve been very clear about who we are designing our product and experience for during quote and application. As Advisers are recommending our products to their clients, we need to fit in seamlessly with their advice process.

In our quoting tool, Advisers are able to easily compare stepped versus level premiums over the life of the policy as well as side by side comparisons for year 1 premiums. Our shopping cart in the quote tool provides complete transparency on the breakdown of the covers, optional extras, and if they do a pre-assessment, any loadings and exclusions are added straight into the basket . We have seen both these features used by Advisers in the presence of their customers to help create trust and help explain away some of the complexity. 

If Advisers need to do a pre-assessment they are able to use our digital tool, which has the outcomes built straight into the quote , or they can be in touch directly with our underwriters, who have very quick turnaround times. All of the documents Advisers need for compliance are available in the activity log.  Applying for cover  is a flexible digital form that can be completed in any order, which allows Adviser’s the ability to adapt this to the way they like to work in both preparing advice and meeting with their client. This really allows them to focus on the relationship and not painful paperwork. 

Integrity Life

Integrity Life

From the newsroom

Integrity Life raises $43 million to continue building the future of life insurance.

Integrity Life raises $43 million to continue building the future of life insurance.

We are thrilled to announce that we have secured $43 million in our recent series B round of funding. There was a strong interest in the raise, that took place before and during COVID-19 and given the instability of the global economy, this significant investment is further endorsement of the importance of our digital-led approach.

The majority of the capital has come from institutional funds managed by Schroder Investment Management (Switzerland) AG, a member of the Schroders group (“Schroders”), with support from existing institutional shareholders Leadenhall Capital Partners and Daido Life, and smaller parcels coming from Australian and International sophisticated investors.

Chairman Eric Dodd, said of the investment “We’re thrilled to have the confidence and backing of Schroders, who have recognised that our approach to Life Insurance in Australia is changing the game. Our ethos of ‘digital when you want it, human when you need it’ allows us to marry the convenience of technology with an empathetic approach that guides everything we do. In an industry that is crying out for innovation, we’re excited that this injection will enable us to bring more Australian firsts and step-change improvements to both the financial adviser and customer experience”.

Scott Mitchell, Portfolio Manager for Life Insurance Linked Securities at Schroders said, “We are excited to support Integrity Life in its next phase of growth as it continues to strengthen its position in the Australian life market. The investment provides Schroders’ investors with a rare opportunity to support a digital-focused business that provides access to diversifying life insurance risks, such as mortality, critical illness and disability.”

The money will be used to support the expansion of our operations and continued development of our digital-led insurance offering.

Eric Dodd continues “we are on a growth trajectory, despite the backdrop of COVID-19 and a possible global recession, our low-cost operating model and flexible technology systems give us a significant advantage to adapt and pivot to keep pace with change. We are very excited about the future and what we’ll be bringing to market”.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers, partners and investors who have helped us achieve this significant milestone. You support means a lot to us and allows us to continue to disrupt the industry and improve life insurance in Australia!

 

 

    Integrity Life

    Integrity Life

    From the newsroom

    Why Australians value their possessions more than their life.

    Why Australians value their possessions more than their life.

    Australians are much better at insuring their possessions than they are at insuring themselves. Underinsurance (or inadequate insurance) is a big problem in Australia, but it is particularly severe in life insurance. A survey conducted by the Insurance Council of Australia[i] (ICA) revealed that 83% of households believe their home and contents may be underinsured – but underinsurance was defined as a policy which covers 90% or less than the rebuilding cost of their property. On the other hand, when it came to life insurance, underinsurance was much more serious. Rice Warner[1] estimated that an average Australian family would be covered for less than half (47%) of their basic needs, and only 28% of the amount they would need to maintain their existing lifestyle.

    Integrity’s own research backed these finding up. We found that 45% of Australians would not have sufficient insurance in place to meet the costs of a funeral, living costs or medical treatment, let alone the ongoing financial burden if the primary earner in their family died or became unable to work. And 20% said they didn’t even know whether they had any insurance at all.

    The statistics are sobering, but not surprising. For one thing, attributing a dollar figure to physical possessions is relatively easy compared with putting a price on a life, or the consequences of death, a serious accident or illness. But more importantly, sometimes it’s only when the unthinkable happens that we are forced to confront the reality of a life turned upside down overnight – including what the real fallout, financially and emotionally, will be now and into the future.

    Another problem we all face is the overwhelming desire to avoid talking about life insurance, because it means talking about death. In fact, when 1,000 Australians were polled about topics of conversation they tried not to have, right up at number three was what would happen to them or their family financially in the event of a death or serious illness. It ranked just behind offering uninvited opinions about relatives and in-laws, and up there with opinions about a partner’s friends. The desire to avoid conversations about the financial ramifications of death and disability was stronger even than discussions of salary or sensitive medical problems.

    There are lots of cultural reasons that we don’t like talking about death or disability, it’s not something that’s peculiar to Australians – but what is peculiar to Australia is our frequently laissez-faire attitude towards serious but uncomfortable topics. The classic “she’ll be right” attitude which imagines everything will work out can also lead to the belief that the government will provide a safety net in the form of a disability pension or workers compensation. While there are government safety nets available when things go wrong, they are very unlikely to offer financial support adequate to your needs or maintain your lifestyle.

    Starting the uncomfortable conversation

    A good financial adviser is the right place to start a conversation about life insurance and income protection – because insurance should be a central tenet of any financial plan. At its heart, financial advice is about translating dreams into financial outcomes by creating and implementing a plan – which includes budgeting and investing for the long term. Insurance is central because it answers the question “what happens to my dreams and plans if I can’t earn an income anymore, or if I die?”. If something unexpected happens, insurance can help fill the gap between where you are now and where you need to be, it’s a hedge against events you can’t plan for, and hope won’t happen.

    Until very recently, this hasn’t been as simple as it sounds – because life insurance has been complicated – and difficult even for financial advisers to navigate. The policies themselves have often used (and continue to use) complex language – in fact, Australian income protection policies are among the most complex in the world. In addition, the Royal Commission exposed and suggested changes to widespread practices – the structure of commissions and cold-calling as a sales tool for example, which had enabled and even encouraged bad behaviour.

    The good news is that post Royal Commission, future-focused advisers have a prime opportunity to re-establish themselves and their service offering – to redefine the purpose and direction of their field. And part of this opportunity is the ability to work with insurance partners which offer life and income protection insurance which is simple, transparent and fair. Because the truth is that life insurance and income insurance should not need to be complicated and opaque to serve both the insured and the insurer.

    At its heart, insurance is a bit like crowd funding, but in reverse. Rather than waiting for something to happen and then starting a personal GoFundMe page, income and life insurance is like a large and wide-reaching GoFundMe page, with many Australians pooling their funds to provide for the small number in the pool who will require financial help. When we asked Australians about whether they had contributed to fundraising campaigns for families adversely financially affected by an accident or illness, nearly 45% (44.8%) had – which indicates that nearly half of all Australians have first-hand knowledge of the real difficulties families without sufficient means face when things go wrong.

    It was the desire to fundamentally disrupt the industry, improve life insurance and make it easier for all Australians to protect their life goals and dreams that Integrity was created. We believe that as a smaller, technology-driven insurer we are better able to offer transparent easy-to-understand, simple-to-use insurance products. Our aim is to be crystal clear about what is and isn’t covered upfront, and to be responsive and most importantly of all, to treat people respectfully and fairly when they make a claim.  

    The bottom line is that underinsurance is a serious problem – not because life and income protection insurance is a nice to have product, great in theory but not really applicable to most people’s lives, but because the consequences of the death or serious illness on a family can be devastating, not only in a financial sense but in more far-reaching ways.

    [1] Rice Warner, Underinsurance in Australia 2017 Report

    [i] Canstar, Underinsurance in Australia: how much cover do you need; February 2020

    Scott Hodgson

    Scott Hodgson

    Chief Underwriter

    Buying life insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Buying life insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    In countries like the US and Thailand, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a rush of ‘panic buying’ for Life Insurance, and even here in Australia we are seeing an increase in policies (mainly in the direct market) as consumers rush to protect themselves and their families.

    But is Life Insurance a good ‘panic buy’ and how has the application process changed?

    Fools rush in.

    The short answer is ‘no’. It’s not something you should buy on a whim for a number of reasons. The products are complex and small details can have massive ramifications in terms of outcomes. It’s also a purchase that often involves a lot of conversations with partners, loved ones, and even those outside the family. Life insurance involves making decisions about how you want to live, and die, and these are not the kinds of decisions you want to rush through. We always recommend speaking to a financial Adviser (see https://fpa.com.au/, https://www.afa.asn.au/ or https://www.adviserratings.com.au/).

    Applying for insurance – what has changed?

    With social distancing here to stay for the foreseeable future, the normal process to getting life insurance has changed for many people. Everything from being able to meet face-to-face to getting medical exams are a little more challenging now. But what’s important to know is that life insurance companies are taking new clients, including those on the front-line and even if you have the potential to be exposed to COVID-19 through travel or your job.

    1. You may not need a medical exam. Actually, many applications depending on the type of cover and your personal circumstance have never needed any medical examinations or ‘physicals’. If you do need an examination, our providers have safeguards in place to manage infection (and always have had) and we consider the risk is no greater than any other personal care you might need in these times – like getting your hair cut. In many cases where we may need medical data we’re looking at existing medical records, prescriptions and other data points to get you covered.
    2. Collaborative conference applications. Where normally a Financial Adviser may sit with you in person at their office or your home, many are now using video conferencing to kick off the application process. There are some insurers (like us) who have designed in the ability to ask the health questions we need in the application process, that is online on a sharable screen so that client and Adviser can complete the process together via video-conferencing for a much more collaborative and engaging process. 
    3. You may be asked new questions. For example, have you recently been on a cruise, or been in contact with anyone who has contracted COVID-19 – many underwriters like Integrity who use a digital process, where you are only asked further questions relevant to your initial answers have not yet needed to ask questions this specific.
    4. You won’t need to fill in any paperwork. If you don’t have a printer, or feel like going to the post-office, or are inclined to complete pages and pages of questions – you may be able to take advantage of ‘smart forms’ that are 100% online and only ask the questions that are relevant to you – based on your previous responses. It saves considerable time completing applications and no painful paperwork.

    Life insurance is now firmly on many people’s radar where previously it was the kind of thing that was put off until ‘later’. Make sure though when you are considering a policy to understand the process and that you’re generally not comparing apples with apples.

    Scott Hodgson

    Scott Hodgson

    Chief Underwriter

    Supporting clients, customers and community during COVID-19.

    Supporting clients, customers and community during COVID-19.

    It’s been heartening to see how Australians everywhere have come together to help flatten the curve and support each other during these unprecedented times. Whether it’s through physical distancing, local manufacturers turning their trade to producing essentials (like hand-sanitizer) or just supporting positive mental health with a bit of fun, we’re all doing out bit to ensure we get through this together. We’re no different. We have made a number of significant changes to how we do business in order to support Adviser and Broker clients, our customers and communities. Here are just some of those initiatives.

    Adapting our claims process.

    Our role is to be there when people need us most, and there is no time when you will need help more than at claim time. To guide our systems and processes we have a simple and straight forward claims philosophy. We treat all people who lodge a claim the way we would want to be treated if we were in their place. Integrity isn’t just our name, it’s also the way we do business.

    We’ve eliminated claim forms for almost all claims and replaced them with a tele-claim process that allows us to collect the information we need for a claim quickly and with less follow ups for additional information. We’ve even extended this to generating fully personalised treating physician questionnaires so that busy Doctors can provide information on a claim without having to wade through pages of questions.

    We’re also continuing to pay ongoing benefits even if medical information is temporarily unavailable from hospitals and medical centres. This ensures your clients keep getting paid without putting any additional pressure on medical professionals during this time.  

    Financial hardship.

    We have invoked our financial hardship policy for anyone who has lost a job as a result of COVID-19 or who has had a significant reduction in hours/pay. Not only have we introduced premium waivers, but we’re also allowing suspension of cover for 6 months or 1 year, depending how long the policy has been in-force.  

    Ongoing support for our frontline.

    As we have always done, we’re continuing to support Australia’s frontline workers by maintaining our standard application rules. This means no loadings or exclusions for frontline workers and we have expanded the definition of ‘frontline’ to include many additional essential jobs like Pharmacist, Police Officer and Aged Care worker.

    Supporting Advisers and their clients through technology.

    Our Award-Winning Adviser portal was built to accommodate both remote working for Advisers and remote applications for clients. We have a number of features that support this like; an adaptive portal that can be accessed on any device from anywhere with an internet connection, our “Send App to Client” feature which allows Advisers to get clients to complete their background and medical information via a secure link in the privacy of their own home (eliminating the need for tele-interviews or paper forms), and we have a raft of features that save Advisers time – like virtual underwriting.

    Supporting our people.

    Our entire company was able to transfer seamlessly to ‘working from home’ within 24 hours and we continue to comply with all physical distancing rules with minimal impact to underwriting, applications or processing of claims. We’ve been fortunate as a new operation to be able to leverage the same technology that big tech companies like Google and Facebook use. This means all our people can access everything they need to support your clients and our customers remotely. We’re ensuring they’re able to be here for the long-haul too with a number of programs to support and sustain positive mental and physical health.  

    If you would like more information on any of these initiatives, feel free to get in contact with us

    Lesley Mamelok

    Lesley Mamelok

    Chief Executive Officer