Is the protection industry more advanced than the Premier League in terms of processing asks Guy Williams.
Is the Protection industry more advanced than the Premier League?
The January transfer window for English football is fast approaching.
It runs from January 1st - 31st each year and incredibly, despite the advances in stadiums, tactics and, most importantly for the big teams, money-making marketing, the Premier League still uses comparatively ancient technology for transfers.
According to the Premier League website, clubs sometimes conclude deals at the last minute and it is not always easy for them to get everything completed and sent over by the 11pm deadline. So the Premier League has three different ways in which clubs can send documents through.
On the website it states: "The fax machine is still there and it does come in very handy. We have also got desktop faxes and accept scanned documents via e-mail. If there is a problem and a club does not meet the 11pm deadline then the Premier League Board has the ability to either refuse the application or grant an application and, if thought necessary, impose conditions by which the club making the application and the player shall be bound."
So effectively a multi-billion pound industry is at the mercy of both aging (scan) and ancient (fax) technology. In this way the underwriting industry shares an unwelcome distinction of balancing its business on wooden supports which it should have replaced with steel years ago.
Typically for a client who is buying protection they are asked during underwriting for consent by the insurer to access medical records. The applicant has to then wait for a few days until a letter of consent arrives which they have to sign and post back - which not everyone does.
Our recent IFA survey showed that support was strong for e-signatures, with 85% saying they would consider adopting the technology with their own clients and 93% agreeing that it would help solve the AMRA issue if adopted by insurers.
For their part, insurers are interested but they are also hesitant, although first mover competitive advantage means that the first ones to adopt this new technology will have a significant USP for advisers.
So, logically, it is a matter of time before they make the inevitable technological shift which will benefit advisers', and by extension, their own, businesses.
The e-signature solution is a far more effective and efficient solution and it is fully compliant with the 2002 EU Directive regulating electronic communication.
It provides a court-admissible Certificate of Completion and comes with a comprehensive digital audit trail - in short, e-signatures are legally binding.
The application process is slowed down with every piece of paper issued by an insurer that requires a wet signature. When compared to the ‘one click' Amazon experience it highlights how far behind we are in providing our customers with a proper, efficient service in the digital age.
Although, unlike the Premier League, at least we aren't still relying on faxes.
Guy Williams is director at LISS Systems
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