By: Lotfi Alsarori
In this week’s article of the web portal series, after having covered their general enterprise benefits and their usage in education, healthcare, and previously, banking, we are addressing their usage in insurance. Portals are a big deal in the insurance industry, as it helps to connect the insurers and the insured and speed up the whole insurance cycle. Although the deployment of portals differs by the type of insurance business, there are some common functionalities and usages across all insurance practices. One key portal used throughout the insurance industry is the customer portal. In addition, agent and bancassurance portals are also very popular. Some insurance companies even provide their sales teams, agents, and customers with illustrator functionalities, where they can simulate policy creation to view different possible results before finalizing the policy issuance.
There are also those portals that are specific to certain insurance subsegments, such as portals deployed in insurance brokerage, to be used by brokers for issuing and managing policies to their customers. Another example is the healthcare provider portal, which is used by health insurance companies to give access of relevant features to medical providers in their networks. This allows healthcare providers to request preauthorization, submit claim batches, or review the status of certain claims.
One key feature to keep in mind when looking into insurance web portals is what is called Straight-Through-Processing or STP. STP is all about automating whole electronic processes without the need for any human intervention. These can be, for example, processes used by the insurance sales force, such as issuing a policy or processing a payment on a premium.
In the following sections, we will cover the different types of web portals’ access that are common to all insurance business lines.
Providing insurance customers digital access to manage their personal data and relevant transactions, such as their claims, policies, and renewals, empowers them to do more. This in turn saves time and effort for the insurance company. In addition, it provides an enhanced customer experience where customers can have access to the services that they need 24/7, without having to wait for long periods of time when calling customer service.
Depending on the line of business, insurance companies provide different types of access to their customers based on their role. For example, a policyholder would have access to view and manage their whole policy. A member access, on the other hand, would only allow access to functionalities related to members’ data and to view the related details of their policy but not to change or request modifications to the policy itself. These are members that are listed in the policy owned and managed by the policyholder, such as family members in a health insurance policy.
One key feature in customer access that we see across industries, including insurance, is the use of customer mobile apps. A customer mobile app can, and should, provide all the functionalities provided by a customer portal, but deployed on an app for smart devices. Such apps should at least be available in the two most commons mobile platforms iOS (iPhone) and Android.
Insurance companies can provide online access to their sales force to expose relevant system functionalities, enabling sales teams with the tools required to create quotations, issue policies, and take care of all other sales activities.
An insurance company usually utilizes several channels to offer their products. These channels differ by type as well as interface. Channel types include the company’s own sales team (direct sales), agents, or through insurance brokers, who usually offer products to their own customers from several insurance vendors. Another common channel type is bancassurance which is used to offer insurance policies through banks or through insurance brokers. Sales channels also vary by interface type, ranging from points of sale and company branches for direct face-to-face sales to different types of portals and mobile apps. One of the most common portals provided by insurance companies for this purpose is agent portals.
An agent portal is one of the main sales channels used by insurance companies to provide their agents with the ability to present their products to end customer. An agent is usually an independent business that represents a certain insurance company in one or more lines of business.
An agent portal is usually part of the insurance provider range of systems. Agents of that insurance company can then get access to its agent portal to be able to offer the company’s products.
While brokers could be considered another sales channel for insurance companies, they are a little bit different than agents. Brokers are similar to agents in that they are independent business entities that are not part of the insurance enterprise itself. They differ, however, in that they represent their own interest by offering insurance policies from different insurance companies, even within the same line of business, to provide their customers with the most suitable policies based on their needs. As a result, a broker portal is typically not part of the insurance company system deployment but could rather integrate with the systems of the insurance companies the broker represents.
These were a few examples of how the insurance industry has managed to take advantage of web portal technologies to improve their enterprises. Such forms of digital transformation can help reap the benefits of time and cost-saving while providing more efficient operations in a more profitable approach, which is why web portals for insurance is a great tool to put businesses on top.
To take a look at some relevant examples of what ESKADENIA Software offers to the insurance industry, please visit https://www.eskadenia.com/insurance. ESKADENIA also offers customizable web portals and Internet solutions based on business needs using the company’s own content management system, ESKA DCMS.