It’s Groundhog Day for Benefits Enrollment Technology

Photo courtesy of http://bit.ly/1tVwkpT

Photo courtesy of http://bit.ly/1tVwkpT

On February 2, Groundhog Day, something different happened at the annual LIMRA Enrollment Technology Strategy Seminar (ETSS). For the last three years, EIS Group has sponsored ETSS and each year, the latest approaches and challenges to benefits enrollment are discussed. But just as the venerable Punxsutawney Phil himself is prone to do, each year the attendees see their long shadows – of legacy technology constraints – and withdraw to comfortable, insulated dens rather than embrace an early spring of much-needed change. Not this year. For the first time, the conference coalesced around the root cause of enrollment problems: connectivity.

Connecting the digital dots

The first sign of a shift in mood came during one of the breakout sessions, aptly titled “The Biggest Challenges We Face,” wherein someone in the audience made the statement: “The industry needs to find a solution to connect the broker, enrollment technology and carrier. And they need to find it soon.” More comments followed. Later that same day, EIS Group and Maxwell Health were happy to inform the conference attendee that “soon” has in fact arrived.

I, along with my counterpart and true visionary, Vinay Gidwaney, co-founder and chief product officer at Maxwell Health, delivered a vision of “soon”, titled “The Future is Here: A Fully Connected Experience is Possible,” as a seamless, end-to-end digital ecosystem from shopping to claim. We showed what the solution could look like when a modern policy, billing and claims administration system is fully integrated with a state-of-the-art enrollment platform with the tools carriers need for all stakeholders – brokers, HR teams, and employees included. In most companies, up until now, this connection wasn’t possible because legacy administration systems were built in silos, and the need to orchestrate an external ecosystem was never contemplated.

Don’t say “Goodbye” after “Buy”

What makes connectivity so critical to carrier enrollment initiatives right now? It is because today's empowered consumer expects a fully digital, easy and intuitive experience every step of the way from shopping to claim. One of the things that we talked about was how the industry is focusing much effort on the shopping and enrollment experience. Carriers are increasingly delivering a modern, digital and intuitive experience up to the point where customers click “buy”. But after this moment, the experience reverts back to a paper-based, legacy experience that is neither modern nor intuitive.

Why is this? The reason is quite simple: the legacy core insurance administration systems are not capable of supporting or operating within a fully connected digital ecosystem where products, rates and rules are defined once in the carrier’s administration system and are exposed to all of the digital ecosystems partners. In this ecosystem, as the consumer interaction traverses the multitude of digital channels, all information is collected, stored and available to the carrier in real time.

It’s about being friction-free and fast

The demo showcased how friction can be removed at all touchpoints. Vinay began with Maxwell Health's marketplace store for brokers, and we demonstrated how that information is reflected in a fully-connected carrier system of record, how the quote is generated, and how an HR portal is built efficiently within Maxwell's web-based implementation tool. Vinay then demonstrated enrollment and decision support tools for employees and I showed how that information integrates seamlessly into the carrier system, enabling an employee to file and process a claim on day one.

If you are one of the many carriers struggling to deliver these capabilities within your legacy systems so as to find your way through to the end consumer, you may want to explore “soon” for yourself and see the ultimate vision of a fully connected, end-to-end digital ecosystem from shopping to claim.

Tony Grosso is vice president of Product and Industry Marketing at EIS Group, and can be reached at [email protected]. Read more blogs from Tony here.