From driving directions to shopping to bill paying, consumers today demand convenience in all things, including insurance. With electronic signatures, insurance agencies have the ability to capture a signature immediately and digitally, preventing customers from wasting time printing, scanning, faxing, or mailing signed documents back to you. You’re able to close deals from anywhere in a matter of minutes, eliminating the hassles of paperwork.
There are many eSignature options available on the market today. To a certain degree, they all deliver cost savings, efficiency, and convenience. However, not all electronic signature products are created equal.
From one system to the next, there can be significant differences in the features, functionality, and pricing. If you’re in the market for eSignature software, here are a few things to consider when deciding which solution is right for your insurance agency.
Does the solution work well “out of the box” with your agency management system?
As you’re researching electronic signature solutions, be sure to look into ones commonly used by insurance professionals. Some eSignature solutions can work seamlessly with agency management systems, providing a streamlined and user-friendly workflow.
In addition, look for solutions that can provide a two-way integration, meaning that signed documents live within both the eSignature software and your agency management system. You should be able to safely send signed quotes, proposals, policies, claims, and other documents to systems such as Applied Epic, Vertafore, QQSolutions, GBS, Jenesis, and Xanatek.
How much time and effort go into implementation and training?
The implementation and training for an eSignature software should take a matter of minutes to complete, not hours, days, or weeks. Be wary of any electronic signature solution that requires a large time investment to get started, as it’s likely a reflection of a poor user-experience.
Also, many eSignature providers offer lots of “bells and whistles” unnecessary for insurance professionals. Look for simple software that’s easy to implement and that even your agency’s less tech-savvy employees can learn quickly.
What kind of security is included?
To suit the security needs of an insurance agency, all communications housed within and sent from an eSignature system should be fully encrypted with full AES 256-bit SSL security, which is the same technology used in banking transactions.
Password protection is another key security element, so look for eSignature solutions that password protect your account and documents, while also encrypting passwords with RSA keys. Also, be sure to inquire about where the company’s data servers are located, and if their data centers have redundant power and internet connectivity.
Is the solution easy to use?
The easier the eSignature software is to use, the more likely it is to be embraced by those using it. All of your electronically signed documents should be able to be signed in the same way using the same simple method, rather than using different processes for different documents.
An eSignature product should also store all of your documents in one place. This will make it easy to retrieve documents from any place at any time, instead of placing documents in multiple locations or requiring you to rely on a local copy. In addition, look for systems that eliminate document scanning, uploading, and manipulation.
Is it compliant with industry regulations?
In the United States, eSignatures are primarily governed by the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA) and the E-SIGN Act, both of which paved the way for widespread adoption of electronic signatures.
In the insurance industry, ACORD has also set forth guidelines for electronic signatures that include authentication, record retention requirements, special consumer disclosures, and capturing the signer’s intent. To ensure that electronically signed documents are legally binding with the same enforceability as manual signatures and paper-based transactions, any eSignature software you consider should comply with these regulations and guidelines.
Does it give you mobile and in-office signing capabilities?
Flexibility is an important benefit of electronic signature software. However, the level of flexibility does depend on the individual solution. To get the most out of eSignature software and give your agency and customers the most options, look for a system that allows for mobile and in-office signing.
With this capability, you and your customers can decide on a signing process. Clients should be able to easily sign any document from anywhere, on the device of their choosing. When signing documents on site, your clients will love how smooth it is to sign on a tablet or computer. No more overwhelming stacks of paper or wasting time flipping through sheet after sheet.
Did you know? Formstack Sign makes it incredibly easy to gather electronic signatures from any device. You can even send your document for signature via text message instead of email!
What is the pricing structure?
While most eSignature providers have moved away from charging by the document, it’s important to confirm that unlimited documents and signatures are included in the price. Also, inquire about whether you can create unlimited templates or if there are additional fees if you exceed a certain number of templates. Many companies also reserve certain product features for higher pricing tiers, so make sure you know exactly which features you’re getting for the amount you’re paying.
Conclusion: Do your research!
Adding an eSignature product can help your insurance agency streamline business processes, save time, deliver better customer service, and book more business. With benefits like those, it’s hard to see a downside.
However, much like you help customers reduce their exposure to risk, you can do the same for your agency by thoroughly researching every eSignature solution you consider. Take the time to find out each provider’s reputation in the insurance industry. Ask your peers about the solutions they’ve used in their agencies, seek out reviews, and make sure that the eSignature solution you choose will only improve your agency.