Are agents holding back the underwriting process?

A session at NAILBA 31 clarifies one of the biggest challenges facing the industry.

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

While attending a pair of breakout sessions involving the Life Insurance Direct Marketing Association (LIDMA) during NAILBA 31 on Thursday, the vibe among the vendors and BGAs in the room was that carriers are embracing new technologies designed to simplify and speed up the life insurance underwriting process, and consumers expect it. The trick is getting agents to buy in.

A carrier on the panel of speakers in Thursday's "Building Your Business with a Better Process" session noted that consumers expect newer solutions and carriers want to provide them. But for that to happen, agents need to start utilizing tools commonly available now, such as eSignatures and ePolicy delivery.

The "challenge in this room," as one speaker put it, is for BGAs to work to get agents comfortable with these newer technologies so they'll use them. Show them how easy they can be, and they typically become quick converts.

The conversation made me think about my own recent experience in working with my real estate agent. We used eSignature technology to "virtually" sign countless documents relating to offer letters, inspection objections, making an offer on our new house, and accepting a counteroffer. One of the seller's agents we came across on the first house we placed an offer on did not make use of this technology, and we had to physically sign and fax documents. That guy seemed like a dinosaur, and our "modern" agent said, unsolicited, that, "Yeah, a lot of these old (real estate) agents won't use eSignatures. We just have to wait until they die off or retire."

I have to admit, it really slowed down the process. Just like not using these types of technologies in this industry keeps the life insurance underwriting process from getting down to the timeframe today's consumers have come to expect.

For more from NAILBA 31, see:

7 key takeaways from NAILBA 31's state of the industry

Why are we selling Brussels sprouts and calling it candy?

NAILBA 31 kickoff: Mooers wins Chairman's Award

About the Author
Brian Anderson

Brian Anderson

Brian Anderson is the Executive Managing Editor of National Underwriter Life & Health and Your Practice Channel Editor for Prior to his current role he was the Editor-in-Chief of Life Insurance Selling magazine and Editor of Senior Market Advisor magazine. He has edited sales-oriented business-to-business magazines with an emphasis in the financial services sector for much of the past 15 years. He was also a key player in the 2011 launch of, and serves as a content director for the site.  Anderson is a journalism graduate of the University of Wyoming, Laramie. An avid skier, golfer, basketball and softball player, he resides with his wife and two children in Centennial, Colo. He can be reached at or on Twitter @LHPro_Practice.

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