The U.S. Postal Service is in dire financial straits and, like many businesses, in danger of shutting down completely if it doesn’t cut costs.
By now, most carriers have been conducting business with their policyholders and agents offering electronic delivery of everything from applications to renewal notices. But there are those that still require some transactions to be conducted by “snail mail.” If the U.S. Postal Service were to shut down as early as this year, what would they do? Would the burden of these transactions then be rest with the agents, and if so, how would they react? Would those carriers be the carrier of choice when they’re not so easy to do business with because of these manually necessary steps.
Obviously, the first step for most carriers is delivering policy documentation leveraging a modern document generation tool, very quickly followed by a method to accept premium payments online and set up automated account withdrawals. Both of those are fairly straightforward projects that can be done relatively quickly and easily. But the more complicated transactions of policy amendments and audit reporting are where many carriers lag behind. That’s where the postal shut down would really hurt. Policies like Worker’s Comp or General Liability that require businesses to report remuneration and sales figures on a regular basis rely on communication, and if that cannot be done electronically, it will become much more complicated and a longer process if paper documents have to be sent around.
You don’t want your agents to become your Underwriting Assistants and bill collectors. You want them to stay out there pushing your products and generating business. You want to be the carrier that’s easy to do business with and the independent agent’s carrier of choice. If not, you may find that you’ll need to start a postal department to handle all those deliveries to policyholders.