Technology, including computers and the Internet, has had a significant impact on the way people engage in financial transactions and search for the services they need. In many cases the processes of offering, selling and buying insurance rely on modern technology in some way. Insurance customers, sales agents and business professionals can all use technology to improve their positions and save time and money.
Shopping and Marketing
Technology's role in insurance begins even before customers begin comparing policies. Most insurance companies, including large corporations and small, local businesses have online presences including websites and web advertisements. Web marketing allows insurance companies to target specific audiences at a lower cost than print media marketing. Meanwhile, insurance shoppers use websites to compare rates and policy features before contacting an insurer for more information. This allows insurance customers to consider the details of a policy and seek feedback in online forums or by reading customer testimonials before selecting an insurance provider.
Purchases and Renewals
Technology simplifies and speeds up the process of purchasing and renewing policies. For customers, the convenience of buying a policy online or submitting an electronic payment leaves more time for work, family or other tasks. For insurance companies, electronic billing saves money. Computerized customer databases allow sales agents and customer service representatives to respond to questions more quickly and help customers make policy changes or cancel service promptly.
Mobile technology has an additional impact on insurance. Customers who use smartphones with Internet connectivity can make payments from anywhere and report claims as soon as they happen. Smartphones and digital cameras also allow customers to take photographs of damage, which can be useful in the case of storm damage to a home or accident damage to an automobile that an insurance policy covers. Mobile technology also allows insurers to send customers alerts notifying them of upcoming due dates for premium payments, reducing the likelihood of late payments and gaps in coverage.
An insurance company's internal business operations also rely heavily on technology. Computers process the complex algorithms that result in actuarial tables, which are the charts that insurance companies use to set rates based on customers' levels of risk. An insurance company also process its financial accounting, payroll, sales franchise information and budgets using computers and specialized software.