Momentum Corporate’s Smart Underwriting solution, an industry-first in South African group insurance, won the silver award in the Service Design category at this year’s Loeries. The Service Design category was introduced in 2015 to recognise brands that engage their customers in an innovative way.
“The win marks yet another step forward in our company’s journey towards transforming the service experiences of customers and financial advisers,” says Regard Budler, Head: Product Solutions, Momentum Corporate.
“Smart Underwriting is an efficient, customer-centric digital process. The ‘at your finger tips’ Smart Underwriting technology platform enables customers to engage with the insurer through preferred everyday channels, on a real-time basis. It also helps to solve the industry-wide problem of under-insurance and reduce the staggering insurance shortfall,” says Budler.
The families of South Africa’s 14 million income earners face a combined insurance shortfall of R28.8 trillion, according to a 2016 Association of Savings and Investments South Africa (ASISA) study. One of the many reasons for this shocking figure is underwriting - the process used by insurers to gather the medical information necessary to assess an individual’s risk before granting or increasing cover.
“When an employee’s salary increase causes their insurance cover through their employer to exceed a certain limit, they need to go for underwriting to align their cover to their higher salary. However Momentum Corporate’s research shows that industry-wide, the underwriting process is complex, lengthy and highly invasive - a deterrent for increasing cover. As a result, many employees remain underinsured. These insights were the starting point for reimagining and reinventing this key touch point.”
From three weeks to ten minutes
“One of the key insights emerging from the research was that time is non-negotiable. The overall underwriting process had to be much faster. The new process addresses this very effectively. While the old process could take up to three weeks, the new process now takes on average 10 minutes.”
Simple process, warm conversation
“Another key research insight was that the way we speak to customers needed to change. We designed the new interface to be familiar, using simplified language, mimicking a conversational style app that made answering questions really easy. To facilitate responses to more complex questions, we used simple visuals, like an illustration of a human body where the user just needs to click where it hurts.”
From the comfort of the couch
“Traditional medical underwriting tends to be invasive as it requires the sharing of personal health information. For this reason, we took the process to customer’s mobile phones, so they can complete the process privately, in their own space and time.”
The Smart Underwriting service uses a combination of SMS, email and a secure website, which the customer accesses with a secure one-time pin login and authentication process. Email communication keeps the financial adviser informed throughout the customer journey.
Smart Underwriting is Momentum Corporate’s third ‘smart’ service over the last two years, following Smart Exits and Smart Retirements. The Smart Exits solution won a Loeries gold award in 2017.
Budler concludes, “Cumbersome customer experiences exacerbate the ‘grudge’ aspect of the insurance purchase and can result in behaviour which leads to poor financial wellness. We are delighted with our win which recognises how our innovative approach is helping to transform customers’ experiences and address serious industry issues.”