Insurers embrace automated underwriting

Burlington, Ont.-based financial services software firm Bluesun Inc. is expanding its product shelf for insurance firms and their advisors under a new partnership that will see it become the Canadian distributor of products from U.S. software provider Internet Pipeline Inc. (iPipeline).

Exton, Penn.-based iPipeline specializes in cloud-based software for the life insurance industry, such as electronic applications (e-apps), illustrations and electronic delivery solutions.

Under the new agreement, announced on Tuesday, Bluesun will become the exclusive reseller and implementation partner of iPipeline products in the Canadian market as the U.S. firm seeks to expand its footprint in Canada.

“iPipeline has a really strong suite of products, but they need the local presence, and they need a smaller, more nimble company to help them with the implementation, and that’s where we’ll come in,” says Mike Donati, Bluesun’s president and CEO. “We are local, and we know the Canadian market more than an American company.”

iPipeline has gained significant traction in the U.S. since it was founded in 1995. The company’s e-app offering, which was one of the first e-apps available on the U.S., has been particularly successful.

Although most insurance companies in the Canadian market already have e-apps in place, Donati says he expects to see demand in Canada for some of iPipeline’s other solutions for insurers, managing general agencies and insurance advisors.

In particular, he says many companies are lacking an electronic policy delivery tool.

“For the vast majority of the industry, insurance policies are still printed and couriered with manual signatures,” Donati says.

That slows down the process of getting a policy issued, he says, which presents a problem as consumers increasingly demand a faster and easier insurance-buying process.

As insurers sell a growing range of simplified issue life insurance products that can be purchased online, facilitating electronic delivery of contracts will need to become a key priority for insurers, Donati says.

“[The process] stops dead in its tracks if you have to go to a courier and manually print a 30-page document,” he says. “If you could tack electronic delivery onto the end [of the insurance-buying process], then you’ve truly transformed the process and you can make it all electronic.”