• Tedd Patel
  • Published: 16 August 2021

Let’s face it – buying insurance can be a hassle for consumers. Between navigating detailed policy choices and going through application processes with several steps, the buying process can get confusing and frustrating. With consumer demand becoming increasingly focused on seamless transactions using digital tools, insurance carriers, especially those using contact centers to assist customers, now have an opportunity to use another application signature option that brings convenience, speed, and an even better customer experience: voice signatures. 

While the traditional wet signature process used by insurance agents when meeting with customers in person still exists, these days it tends to be used more for those kitchen table conversations. Standardized electronic application signature solutions have been used by many insurance carriers for years. These solutions typically involve sending a completed application via email to a customer for login, authentication, and electronic signature imprint. Once the customer completes the signature steps, the application is automatically sent back to the insurer for underwriting. 

While this electronic signature approach makes things easier for customers than a wet sign process, there are still several steps needed once the agent or customer service representative sends the activation link to a customer’s email. The customer makes an account, verifies it, and finally electronically signs and submits the application. At each of these stages, there is a possibility the customer simply doesn’t make it to the next step. This essentially stops the application process because the insurance carrier never receives the signed application to move forward.  

On the other hand, voice signatures offer a simple more convenient way for customers to apply for coverage. This process is typically used by insurance companies that use contact center representatives to assist customers with new business questions including applications. A phone representative will give the customer the choice of using verbal consent as a means of completing and submitting the application. Assuming the customer agrees, the representative reads a carefully defined statement over the phone which validates that the customer is applying for coverage as soon as they provide verbal consent at the end of the statement. If the customer opts in, the phone representative will trigger a voice signed imprint on the appropriate application signature page(s) to complete the application and immediately have it submitted for underwriting. The statement and verbal consent to proceed are recorded and stored for access if needed.  

Advantages of using Voice Signatures:  

  • A fast and simple application signature option for customers to use when applying for valuable life insurance and other related insurance coverages.    
  • Higher conversion ratios due to the convenience and speed by which completed applications are immediately submitted for underwriting & policy issuance. The reduced new business cycle time results in a higher percentage of individuals and families attaining the insurance protection they need, with coverage beginning sooner than non-voice signed applications.       
  • The streamlined voice sign application process increases the insurance company’s placement ratio of submitted applications to in force policies, with initial premiums booked faster as a result.   

It should be noted that along with the benefits, there are some potential challenges posed by voice signatures, as well. Insurance companies generally have clear voice recording storage requirements and business rules regarding voice signature protocols. Persistency ratios on in-force insurance need to be watched closely. The risk with persistency tends to be reduced if the contact center alignment on all voice signature protocols is strong. Clear customer communication by the contact center representatives with adherence to the required voice sign verbiage helps solidify each sale, as does setting the expectation with the customer on the time they need to listen to the voice sign verbiage before reading it to the customer in a clear and pleasant tone.   

So how can we help? Our insurance practice can advise you on how this feature can be part of an effective, overall digital customer experience strategy. With decades of expertise in digital transformation, we begin by defining a set of insurer business and technology requirements, including data storage, security, and compliance. Once the voice signature technology is built, we test the system and undergo an audit process to ensure a seamless and secure customer experience. Simply put, voice signatures can help improve the customer experience while increasing application conversion ratios. We can help insurance companies implement this win-win approach as part of an overall digital strategy.