Back in April we started looking at several different tools agents are using to build their digital briefcases in a blog post titled: How’s That (Tech) Been Working Out for Ya?. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been highlighting different tools we use. This week we’ll take a look at a more general tool agents are utilizing, Carrier E-Apps.
What is an E-App Anyway?
For those of you who haven’t made the switch, an E-App (or Electronic Application) is a way for you to submit your applications online to the carrier. The process of submitting E-Apps vary from carrier to carrier, but ultimately they are electronic copies of the same paper forms you’re already familiar with. Of course you might be wondering:
“If they’re the same as a paper app, why should I complicate the sales and application process for me and my client by getting in front of a computer?”
Great question! If you look at this process in the long run, E-Apps actually make submitting business much more efficient! Even in our original article we shared a quote from one of our top producing agents who said: “E-Apps have drastically improved proficiency, approval times, and reduced errors in the process.”
Paper Applications Vs E-Apps
If you didn’t already know, our New Business Department offers a free review of your paper applications. Members of our New Business Department will scan each application to find any errors, missing information, incorrect rates, etc. Our company has found that it’s much faster to make needed corrections when the application comes through our office, rather than the agent submitting incomplete forms directly to a carrier. If New Business finds an error in one of the agent’s applications, then an email to the writing agent is sent to point out things that are missing or need to be corrected. Here are a few examples of emails they’ve sent out on incorrect applications (Click on the image to enlarge it).
To be clear, it’s not that our New Business Department doesn’t enjoy looking over apps (they like the job security so keep them coming!), but when you use an E-App it’s like a member of our New Business Department is looking over your shoulder helping you complete the application. There’s no more missing pages, no more missed questions, and no more incorrect writing numbers (yeah, it happens!).
Now you have two choices. You can either fax your application waiting for a review and a list of needed corrections …OR! Complete an E-App. The E-App will immediately tell you “Question 6 needs to be answered in order to move forward.” These immediate corrections will ensure you that your applications are clean, and in good order as you write them. Not to mention there’s no more waiting for the mail carrier or the fax machine to hopefully deliver your paper applications!
But Wait, There’s More!!
One of the other big advantages is an E-App allows you to close your sales remotely. There are no more mailing applications to clients who aren’t in your office. Now you can gather your client’s information over the phone and enter everything into the E-App. Then you will use the carrier’s electronic signature method to help secure your client’s coverage. Imagine how much time you will save without having to hand deliver, mail or fax your client’s application!
Getting Started with E-Apps
We know that most agents are hesitant to use an E-App because they are not sure of the process and frankly, don’t want to look like idiots in front of their clients. Don’t worry, the carrier doesn’t want you to look foolish either. That’s why most carriers have walkthrough videos, or training guides showing you how to complete their E-Apps. These walkthroughs will give you a little bit of a preview before submitting an actual application.
Want another option? Try submitting your next paper application through the online portal. This is great for making a sale over the phone. Simply take a paper application just like you’ve always done, then use the information you collected to complete the E-App. Just be sure NOT to submit both the E-App AND the paper application. Also, let your client know how the carrier will accept electronic signatures.
If that’s STILL a little nerve racking, go play around in the sandbox (No I’m not talking building a sandcastle at the playground). Many carriers that offer E-Apps also have what they call a sandbox. This is where you can enter in information and click through the E-App as if it’s an actual app, but there’s no risk of submitting anything. You’ll see the same process as if it was a real application ready to submit.
Remember, submitting E-Apps is a process just like when you were learning how to submit paper applications. After using an E-App a few times, you’ll quickly be able to make the transition. Just like our top producing agent, once you get started using E-Apps we’re confident you’ll quickly see the improvement in proficiency, approval times, and reduced errors on your applications.
Have an E-App success story? Feel free to share it with us!