TowerGroup: Insurance Carriers Must Adopt Electronic-Commerce Initiatives or Risk Losing Competitive Edge

NEEDHAM, MA, November 7, 2007 – The elimination of legal barriers by the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) opened the doors for financial services organizations to adopt electronic-commerce initiatives such as electronic signatures (e-signatures) and secure documents. As a result, other segments of financial services have experienced decreases in processing time by as much as 50 percent and transactional costs have declined up to 75 percent. Despite this trend, the insurance industry continues to hold on to the traditional paper-based, wet-signature contract execution model.

New TowerGroup research finds that in today’s global business model, electronic commerce is no longer a “nice-to-have” capability, but a necessity. Today, many consumers have become less tolerant of paper-based transactions and expect all their financial transactions to be supported in an electronic environment. TowerGroup believes that insurance carriers need to respond to consumers’ experiences with other financial transactions or risk losing business to financial services organizations that have adopted leading-edge technology for contract execution.

Though IT budgets for responding to demands for new functionality are stretched thin, several forces beyond consumer preferences require that insurers implement the capabilities needed to move documents electronically. These forces include the globalization of the insurance industry, the push for companies to become more environmentally sensitive, the ongoing battle to prevent fraud, and regulatory compliance. TowerGroup believes e-signatures and secure documents are an essential requirement for carriers because they facilitate the acquisition of business in the quickest, most cost-effective, legal manner. However, it is equally imperative that carriers make the development decision on an enterprise-wide basis.

The TowerGroup report titled “Electronic Signature and Secure Forms in the Insurance Industry: Taking the P&C Pen to the Web,” authored by Karen Pauli, senior analyst in TowerGroup’s Insurance practice, explores the numerous opportunities for insurance carriers to improve operations by implementing electronic signature and secure documents technology.

This report is available to qualified members of the press for review. To request a copy or to arrange an interview with Pauli, please contact Jorge Lavina at +1.212.455.8041 or jlavina@cooperkatz.com. Those interested in subscribing to a TowerGroup research service may call +1.781.292.5200 or email service-info@towergroup.com.

At TowerGroup, Pauli’s research covers a wide range of topics related to Property & Casualty insurance, with a focus on distribution, underwriting, predictive analytics, core systems, and business optimization.

About TowerGroup: TowerGroup is the leading research and advisory services firm focused exclusively on the financial services industry. A respected source for trusted information and advice, TowerGroup brings many of the world’s leading financial institutions, technology companies, and professional services firms a deeper understanding of the business and technology issues impacting their organizations. Headquartered near Boston in Needham, Massachusetts, and with offices in North America and Europe, TowerGroup serves a global client base. Visit www.towergroup.com for more information.