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Laying the Groundwork for Paperless Insurance
Colin Simpson—Chief Executive Officer, IBAO
ver the course of the pandemic, how we do business together—brokers, customers and carriers—has changed. Significantly. A historically paper-driven industry, insurance can no longer rely on past processes and ignore the advantages of paperless delivery. There’s a real need to provide insurance brokers and insurance customers the choice of electronic access to insurance documentation. In 2020, we kicked off our Going Paperless: Getting it Right for Consumers initiative. Chaired by IBAO but involving participation from across the country, the Going Paperless Committee includes the voices of insurance brokers, carriers and technology vendors. Soon, it will include the voice of insurance customers across Canada. Time and again what’s lacking in the insurance industry is alignment. With so many parties involved in delivering the end product to consumers, without alignment and the consistency it brings, we’re unable to offer the same service levels consumers experience in other industries. It was clear early on in this initiative that developing guidelines for consumers and technology vendors would help drive alignment across stakeholders—documenting a common understanding of basic service levels was a quick win, iterated through the development of two charters. In the Consumer Digital Charter, we capture key elements for successful digital service through brokers, with a primary focus on customer experience. In its companion piece—the Vendor Digital Charter—we provide clear guidance on paperless service requirements and how technology vendors can deliver. The goal of these documents is to create blueprints for modern, consistent service, outlining requirements and priorities to provide consumers options in insurance document delivery. Very thoughtful work is behind these frameworks to ensure a clear approach by all involved. Here’s a summary of the fundamentals found in each.
  • Consumers can choose to receive paper or electronic documentation of their insurance policy
  • Consumers who choose electronic documentation can switch back to paper insurance documents
  • The cost of insurance won’t increase based on delivery method
  • If an incentive-based model is adopted incentivizing consumers to choose electronic documentation, it should be driven by brokers to ensure consistent delivery
  • Near Term—consumers can expect to receive access to specific information electronically from their broker regardless of insurance carrier:
  • Legislated Insurance Documents
  • Policy Declaration Packages including Pink Slips
  • Policy Information including Billing Schedules and Policy Details
  • Long Term—consumers can expect to receive access to real-time servicing and data from their broker through modern, digital technology applications
  • Consumers can expect to access digital insurance data on a consumer-centric platform consistent with mainstream delivery models
  • Consumers can expect the delivery model to be easily accessible
  • Consumers can expect to access digital insurance through a single delivery platform
  • Data should be provided to brokers as consumable data to enable automated processes like customer payment reminders
  • Consumers can expect their information to be secure in compliance with current applicable legislation both provincially and federally
The next step following the creation of these charters was to gather more data on consumer preferences. This summer we created a consumer-focused survey and asked our members to distribute it to their respective client bases, representing roughly 6 million policyholders across Ontario. Results will help us determine consumer appetite for moving to paperless insurance documentation—we know some people will always prefer paper policies, but we need to understand how large that contingent is to guide the direction of the insurance industry’s services. Once Ontario consumers have been surveyed, we’ll expand to survey consumer preferences across Canada in partnership with provincial broker associations across the country. This initiative is rewarding on many fronts. I’m encouraged by the focus and partnership from participants across the industry, and truly believe we can make a difference in pushing the industry towards consistent and effective delivery based on consumer expectations. More to come as we move ahead on this initiative—if you’d like to get involved, we’d be grateful for your participation and perspective.
Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario
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Toronto, ON M4P 3A1
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