An E-Signature Update for US Insurers

by Craig Weber, December 31, 2007


Boston, MA, USA December 31, 2007

E-signature adoption is picking up steam, although this transition has taken much longer than initially expected.

Despite some progress, e-signatures still have not reached ubiquity in any segment of the insurance industry. In a recent Celent survey, 62% of respondents said their companies were not using any form of e-signatures in their dealings with customers or agents. Looking ahead to 2008, most insurers have a clear opportunity to leverage electronic signatures to improve service levels and reduce costs. In a new report, , Celent examines the issues insurers are facing as they move toward straight-through processing enabled by process automation and the use of e-signatures.

The insurance industry is slowly dispensing the myths associated with e-signatures, and consumers and agents are starting to drive carriers toward adoption, rather than simply allowing themselves to be pushed down the e-signature path. Even though the potential benefits of e-signatures are compelling, many carriers have not pressed the issue because their peer companies have not yet done so. Celent believes that the majority of Tier 1 through Tier 3 carriers will put e-signatures in production for at least some business processes within the next 24 to 36 months. Carriers that are waiting for early adopters to work through any remaining issues before they would consider offering e-signature capabilities need to plan for this shift.

"There are tons of success stories out there," says Craig Weber, managing director of Celent's insurance practice and author of the report. "But many carriers have been slow to give their agents and customers an e-signature option, which severely constrains the value of any electronic processing of new business or service requests."

"The benefits of e-signatures are too compelling to ignore," Weber says. "Carriers that have not yet started down the e-signature path should have something planned for 2008."

This report provides context for the continued debate over e-signatures, updating Celent's original report on the subject which was published five years ago. The current report is based in part on a survey administered to insurance carriers late in 2007. A key finding is that a majority of carriers have not yet implemented a single e-signature option for agents or customers.

The 20-page report contains 4 tables and 10 figures. A table of contents is available online.

Members of Celent's Life/Health Insurance and Property/Casualty Insurance research services can download the report electronically by clicking on the icon to the left.  Non-members should contact for more information.  

Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally based analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is a wholly-owned operating unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

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Table of Contents

Boston, MA, USA December 31, 2007

Executive Summary 03
Introduction 04
  E-Signature Basics 04
  Why E-Signatures? 05
  Myths vs. Reality 06
  Adoption Trends 07
Updating the Value Proposition 09
  Moving Toward STP for New Business 09
  Views on Potential Impact of E-Signatures 10
  Impediments to Progress 11
  Addressing User Concerns 12
  Drilldown on Areas of Concern 14
Moving Forward 16
Conclusions 20


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