Consumers are used to getting answers, and getting them almost as quickly as they can think of the question. It would not surprise me to find out that today’s search for life insurance coverage begins with, “OK, Google” or “Hey, Siri”, “I need some life insurance.” In fact, according to LIMRA, 88% of consumers of all ages already research life insurance by going online before they buy. Nearly 40% end up buying directly online or directly from an insurance company they find while online. Continue Reading
Lifester, an easy-to-use life insurance decision-making platform bringing together life insurance advisors and interested consumers, announced today that it will officially launch its online service on July 12th. Lifester is betting that the industry is ready to use the Internet in a powerful new way — not to shop for life insurance, but to dramatically improve the availability and flow of information between interested parties, empowering consumers to make more informed buying decisions.
Producer Members subscribe to Lifester and present recommendations to consumers in the form of “Projects.” Projects are scrollable web pages that contain videos, text explanations, tables, charts, and other uploaded files. Consumers can share their Projects with family members, close friends and personal advisors for critical feedback that can help them make decisions or lead to Project updates. Continue Reading
We had recently exhibited at an industry event that included Producers from some of the biggest insurance carriers. We quickly found out that a good deal of these attendees had been asking for some time, when will they start seeing more life insurance technology companies. Well, you can imagine the warm welcome we received at our booth from these folks. It wasn’t long before these Producers were echoing the sentiments of their clients “Can’t there be less paperwork?” “Can’t this all be done online?” “Do you have to ask all those questions?” “Why does it take so long?” “If things were just easier.”
Insurance companies have worked hard to streamline the application process. And while this may improve the selling experience for some producers, does it really lead to more life insurance sales? Are producers presenting to their existing clients in a more efficient way or even generating referrals or finding more qualified leads? Continue Reading
This should come as no surprise. It has been the inevitable trend of every industry. Consumers prefer to shop online – for just about everything and anything. Not because they want to. But because they have to. Information overload dictates that busy consumers take every opportunity to save every second possible. It’s almost an imperative for young, hard-working, multitasking families.
So perhaps we should have expected McKinsey & Company to report that soon: “Leading digital carriers will go further by digitally enabling their sales forces, interacting with consumers and intermediaries in real-time omnichannel environments and offering remote and robo-advice at any hour on any platform.” (See McKinsey & Co., Harnessing the Power of Digital in Life Insurance).
What does this mean? We are being warned by the oracle of consulting firms that life insurance consumers want to interact by computer, and insurers should immediately respond by offering them remote, real-time, always-on “robo-advice”. Where does that leave the seasoned insurance professional? Will the agent finally be replaced by the algorithm? If you think this is science fiction, think again. This technology is already here. Continue Reading
Want to do something fun? Try going online and figuring out what kind of life insurance plan you need. Term? Whole life? Current assumption UL? Equity index UL? Not sure what those are? Don’t worry. You can do it! Now think about which insurance company is best for you, given your age, health and underwriting issues. Think about which particular product. And which set of features and riders. Which crediting strategies or combination of crediting strategies, in what proportions. Still interested?
Now think about how much premium you’re going to spend and what benefits you and your beneficiaries are going to receive as a result. Will you take income from the policy? If so, when? What impact will that have on the policy for the remaining years? What if market conditions change? What if interest rates change? What if we experience higher than expected inflation rates? Are you there?
What’s the best way to structure your life insurance transaction? Are you going to own the policy personally? Should it be owned by your corporation or by an irrevocable trust? Is the death benefit included in your estate? Are distributions from the policy taxable? Can you protect your cash value from creditors? Is anything ever deductible under any circumstances? Hello?
I understand it pains you to sit down with a life insurance agent who obviously gets paid by selling you something. I get that. But let’s face it, they’re the experts. And what they’re selling, you need to buy! So how’s this for a compromise. It’s called Lifester. You can do everything online just like you were trying to do before. No one will hard-sell you anything. Rather, you collaborate with your insurance producer to build a life insurance Project that will ultimately grow to become a custom designed solution for you.
Once the Project is completed, you can invite your other personal advisors such as your accountant or tax attorney to review and critique. You can also invite family members, close friends or anyone else you think might provide valuable feedback for a better decision. In other words, the Internet is used to assemble a private team of advocates to idea source on your behalf so that you can most efficiently achieve your goals. And if you are satisfied with the proposed final solution, you can move forward with the coverage. Then and only then, your life insurance agent will earn a well-deserved commission. Regardless, Lifester never participates in any insurance commission, since Lifester is just a software service that is free for consumer use. Ah, you’re back!
Just because it makes sense to you doesn’t mean it makes sense to your clients. Life insurance strategies and, in many cases, the underlying products themselves tend to have lots of moving parts. As a result, it’s not always easy to understand lengthy life insurance proposals and quotes let alone implement critical recommendations.
Lifester makes sure everyone is on the same page by changing the entire dynamic between Producer and Consumer. By co-building Projects in Lifester, experienced Producers and Consumers work together to produce engaging multimedia pages that tell a story and explain a life insurance plan. Not just give a quote. The purpose of the Producer is no longer to communicate to the Consumer, but for both the Producer and Consumer to communicate to the team of Project Members they have assembled by inviting them to the Project. Ultimately, it is their approval that is being sought. Continue Reading