Celent: Most life insurers use hosted e-signature solutions

Two-thirds of respondents deployed their e-signature system in a software-as-service (SaaS) mode. Two-thirds of respondents deployed their e-signature system in a software-as-service (SaaS) mode.

Life insurers are increasingly using e-signature technology to lower costs, shorten cycle times and improve the services they provide to business partners and customers. A May 2013 survey from Celent, a research advisory unit of the management consulting firm Oliver Wyman, found that 25 percent of respondents were not using e-signatures in their dealings with customers or agents. That’s a significant drop from the 53 percent of companies reported in 2007.

A new report from Celent, “E-signatures in Life Insurance: A Vendor Spectrum” explores the vendor serving this market space, their capabilities and the technologies used by life insurers. The October 2013 report identifies 16 e-signature vendors, among them 10 profiled in the survey, that have North American life insurance clients or are targeting the North American market. On average, life insurers use two signature vendors in their operations. The report breaks out usage among insurers as follows:

● Five or more (22 percent)

● Three (22 percent)

● Two (11 percent)

● One (45 percent)

The survey adds that two-thirds of respondents had been using their e-signature software between one and three years, while two implemented their solution within the last six months.

"This is not surprising since different systems or processes may use different e-signature vendors,” the report states.

Two-thirds of respondents deployed their e-signature system in a software-as-service (SaaS) mode. The insurers were evenly split between having their e-signature software hosted on a private versus public cloud.

Nearly 60% used their e-signature software as a pre-integrated function within a third party software solution, not private labeled. One-third deployed it as a stand-alone solution without any other software or components. And because multiple solutions are being used by life insurers, another third deployed their e-signature software as a private label function within their own custom built software or within third party software.

E-signatures are most commonly used in the new business process with illustrations, e-apps for life insurance and e-apps for annuities, accounting for 70 percent of all e-signature transactions, the report states.

The most common method used to access the documents to be signed is by:

● email invitation (67 percent);

● insurance company portal with single sign-on (45 percent); and

● a third party application (33 percent), such as an illustration system or e-app system.

Policyholders are the most common user of the e-signature software (78 percent), followed by captive agents (56 percent). Click-to-sign (55 percent) and electronic signature pads (55 percent) are the most common approaches to capturing the e-signature.

Other approaches include biometric signature capture, single factor authentication (user name and pin or password), and standard scripted (typed) signature; each of these approaches were used by 22 percent of respondents, the report states. 

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