Software streamlines insurance paperwork

A new Web-enabled software solution from Toronto-based Worldinsure aims to streamline the lengthy, labour-intensive (and often irksome) process of purchasing life insurance.

Designed for use by insurance carriers and broker associations, Worldinsure’s modular system collects and distributes underwriting data from customers and brokers, then provides rules-based risk assessment and workflow tracking, including such ancillary data as medical tests.

Iain Scott, managing director for Worldinsure in Canada, said when brokers explore coverage options from several companies, they have to fill out applications for each one that include all of the company’s particular underwriting requirements including vocation, lifestyle, health data – a 10-15 page form is considered short. After all the paperwork is completed, it then disappears into the bowels of the individual insurance carriers, where communications channels are “fairly lengthy and not as automated as they should be,” he said.

“We work with the different carriers and we have digitized all their pricing and underwriting requirements,” Scott explained. “In turn, we’re connected to all the [agents and brokers] electronically, so they only need to take one set of information [from the customer] and that information pre-populates all the forms and all the underwriting requirements.

“We’ve also got real-time tracking for both the producer and the insurance carrier,” he added. “For example, when the blood-work is done [results] are sent to the carrier digitally, and on their specific forms so there is no keying in of information, and no legibility issues with handwriting.”

Worldinsure’s system is built from scratch by Toronto-based Optus e-Business Solutions.

This automated process, completed by the agent and customer together, eliminates the many duplicate or tediously irrelevant questions historically associated with creating medically underwritten insurance products, he said.

“If an average case – say someone in their forties, buying over a half-million dollars of life insurance – takes eight weeks to process, we aim to cut this in half,” Scott said. “A lot of that is just speed of connectivity. It’s also speed of communication and information-flow between the units.”

Users only need Internet access and a Web browser to use the system.

Worldinsure operates in several countries but chose to build and run its new software system in Canada for several reasons.

“If you are [expanding] to the Far East or Europe you have to deal with [language] issues and Canada is a terrific test case for that,” Scott explained. “Canada’s financial community is basically consolidated in 12 blocks, so it’s a fairly easy communication situation. Also, I’ve worked in the U.S. most of my business career, and the Canadian insurance industry seems to be more adept at looking at these type of [electronic] approaches.”