Amazon’s Threat To The Insurance Business

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Aside from not being able to sell whole-life insurance with a straight face, the volume of manual paperwork killed my days as an insurance agent. Whether it’s Amazon, Google, or [insert tech giant firm name here], someone is going to disrupt this paper-mongering industry.

My utterly miserable paper-wasting insurance days

Maybe it’s because I’m three years away from qualifying as a millennial, I’m impatient with anything that could be done better on a computer. Maybe I’m not that patient a person (definitely true), or maybe it’s the fact that I have atrociously bad handwriting (also clearly true).

Whatever it was, life as an insurance agent was an exercise in futility. Examples:

  • My client filled out the life insurance application and then goes on vacation. I realized that instead of January 2017, they wrote January 2016. In the first month of the year people make this mistake all the time, I (unfortunately) found out. I can’t just cross it out and write the correct year; now they have to fill out the whole application over again. Since they’re on vacation this won’t be for another month.
  • My home office couldn’t read my chicken scratch. As a result the home office throws the whole application out.
  • I had to hand deliver the proposal to client.
  • I had to make sure that I bring the right application for the specific type of policy, state of residence, etc., when I went to the meeting with the client. If I got to the meeting and found out that additional paperwork was required or that it was the wrong application, I had to pull some change in the phone booth routine to convince them to wait 20 minutes while I ran to Staples and printed out another one. Not happening!

Come on, party people! Are you serious?

I mean, is this an episode of Little House on the Prairie? Why do we have to act like this is the year 1875?

Ripe for disruption

I’ve written and podcasted about Mighty Amazon in depth. Whether Amazon does it or it’s another one of those biggies like Apple or Google is unclear. But somebody will step in and take this industry over because it is just ripe for disruption.

Somebody, anybody. Please do it and do it now.

If Amazon were to take over insurance, it could go a little something like this:

  • Amazon suggests the purchase of insurance after a buyer executes a transaction for something that implies that they may need insurance. Examples of things one might buy: office furniture (key executive insurance), a baby stroller (life insurance), stereo equipment for your car (disability insurance). Or, someone who buys something like a Rolex costing $50,000 will get a solicitation for whole-life insurance, since this is a great way to shelter yourself from liability and reduce taxes. Or so they say.
  • An AI interface conducts a risk questioning process and answers are logged.
  • Policy options are presented clearly in a standard format with all fees clearly displayed.
  • Buyer fills out application online and submits.
  • Amazon routes buyer to a sign-up page for medical exam.
  • Amazon checks the application and results of medical exam for alignment with the buyer’s online activity and profile to detect possible fraud.
  • Application is reviewed by underwriting team consisting of live human beings and policy is approved.
  • Policy is sent to buyer electronically once approved.
  • Policy acceptance is sent back electronically.

Read the full article here by Sara Grillo, Advisor Perspectives

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