Life insurance CEO speaks on award winning model

President talks to Life and Health Professional about why product has been such a success

What makes an award-winning life insurance product?

If anyone would know, it would be Doug Baker, president and CEO of Teachers Life. His insurance company, based in Ontario, has been acclaimed with the 2016 Model Insurer Award from financial services research firm, Celent. The award was presented earlier this month after Teachers Life became the first North American insurer to fully underwrite a product completely online.

“The Teachers Life product is the first successful fully underwritten online term product in North America,” Baker told Life and Health Professional. “We connect directly with clients: they can initiate their application at their own pace, in the privacy of their homes, and receive a real-time underwriting response. Applications can take as little as 15 minutes to complete, with no medical. This is exponentially faster than the traditional paper process, which can take as long as 42 days.

“We worked with the world’s best technology partners and invested four times as much money as our peers on technology to build and deliver this fully online product.”

So what went into such a sizeable investment in new technology? According to Baker, it was not as big a risk as it may seem as consumer demand was clearly there – and without this forward thinking approach there is a chance of being left behind.

“Consumers can be intimidated by having to share so much personal information with agents, brokers and other individuals,” he said.  “And, more than ever, consumers are comfortable managing complex transactions online directly and in their own time.  

“We launched this product because we are a company that prioritizes innovation to stay relevant to our members. As a fraternal insurer, what's in our clients’ best interest is in our best interest. Ensuring we are relevant for another 75 years makes for a solid fraternal insurance company. Innovate or be left behind.”

Speaking about the award, Colleen Risk, senior analyst at Celent, highlighted that winners should be an “inspiration” to others and highlighted that Teachers Life is able to react better and faster than far larger insurance providers. So what advice can Baker offer to advisors looking to attract clients to life insurance products?

“Engaging people requires building trust, through personal relationships and on the strength of your brand. For Teachers Life, we’ve focused on demystifying insurance, using plain language and creating a wide variety of options for people to engage with us.  

“As more and more people are comfortable using the internet for financial transactions, we wanted to ensure people could access our life insurance product on their own terms - online, privately, and at their convenience. Our online term product, which is fully underwritten online, supports our mission. It is customizable for the individual needs of policy holders by term, coverage amount and even premium that fits their budget.

“In the end, we believe people will engage when they know the products will meet their unique needs.”