New benefits and insurance options to expect – Entertai…

HILLSDALE – Ever wondered whether your insurance policy was actually working for you?

You may be in luck, as your insurance plan may start to follow the same trends being adopted in other industries: simpler, more convenient and personalized products – all supported by the latest mobile technology.

This year, Stephanie Shields, a product marketing and development expert from Aflac, said that policyholders can expect these “value-added services” to become less of a nice-to-have and more of a given:

• Telemedicine: Consulting with a physician and getting treatment online offers greater flexibility and may become essential to busy people.

• Fraud protection: Identity theft is likely top of mind for policyholders and businesses. Expect to see better fraud protection, including ongoing internet monitoring and full identity restoration after a data breach.

• Bill negotiation: The ever-changing health care system is often confusing to navigate. Ongoing education, as well as help understanding medical bills, can ultimately mean greater access to efficient, affordable care.

 

Transformed Benefits

Insurance providers will likely shift the customer experience to follow that of retailers and other industries. In 2018, expect to see insurers such as Aflac offer more cohesive insurance policies that combine multiple benefit types into one plan.

Experts say successful businesses can continue to close the gap with such services as:

• No more “one-size-fits-all”: Communications from benefits providers may be more tailored to individual needs.

• Bite-sized communications: Concise information about workplace benefits, tips for using benefits to help protect financial security and better explanations of coverage combinations that are appropriate at various life stages.

• New format: While some benefits information will still be delivered in the typical booklet format, more businesses may consider using online articles, digital signs, brown-bag luncheons and town halls.

• Frequent communications: Employers may communicate about benefits throughout the year, or time communications to coincide with life events, such as employee anniversaries.

 

Time Spent Smarter

In 2018, employers who have not yet adopted online platforms to manage benefits may do so. Advantages include year-round, convenient access to pertinent information and one-page views of all benefits options and selections, enabling you to identify any holes you may have in coverage.

Thanks to a tech-driven world and the growing demands of consumers, 2018 may see insurers expand their services to offer even more convenience and personalization.

Richard Moore of Moore Insurance in Hillsdale said even though his business doesn’t do much in the marketplace of life and health insurance, insurance in general can be a complicated process for the majority of people.

“The consumer wants to understand as much as they can before they purchase something and also make sure they don’t purchase a bad product,” Moore said. “Technology is changing our society and the insurance marketplace is no different.”

Insurance companies now have phone apps that policyholders can download and have their policy and claim information at their fingertips in a matter of minutes.

“However, just as technology is important, personal contact is important, too,” he said. “For most people, their most valuable possessions are their automobiles and homes. Do you really want to risk these assets to just anyone or because of a unique technology feature?”

Moore said there is still a comfort level of purchasing from someone who will physically be there when you need an answer or when technology isn’t working.

“In today’s fast pace world it’s okay to slow down and make sure you know what you are purchasing,” he said. “And, make sure the level of service will continue when you really need it.”

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