What prompted AIA to embark on an e-signature project?
iPoS is much more than an e-signature project. With iPoS (Interactive Point of Sales) we aim to engage customers in an interactive sales process with aid of a tablet that helps our advisors give customers a better and deeper understanding of how our products meet their personal needs and aspirations. It was important to have a complete and completely paperless sales process on a tablet. E-signatures are therefore a critical component of the solution.
When did the project begin and how many financial advisors are currently using iPoS?
The first launch of iPoS was in Singapore in August 2012. Since then we rolled out iPoS across 11 countries in Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong. Currently over 30,000 financial advisors are using iPoS and submitting insurance applications with e-signature via iPoS.
Can you explain how AIA’s financial advisors are using iPoS?
First of all, our advisors need to prepare less for customer meetings and can spontaneously go from one customer meeting to another without having to carry brochures, flyers, forms and supplements for various situations. When it comes to customer meetings, iPoS guides the agent and the customers through a structured and needs-based sales process and adds an element of fun through the interactive design. Towards the end of the process, the customer can apply and sign directly on the screen and the integrated camera is used to capture attachments, for example the ID-card.
What differentiates iPoS from other sales systems?
iPoS offers three unique, key features:
Functionally complete: An advisor only needs iPoS on iPad. Imagine an advisor coming with confience to a customer meeting without a bag, without a single piece of paper – just with an iPad and a stylus.
Native app: iPoS is completely built as a native app that can respond much faster. There’s no wait time when loading the next page; no poor connectivity or server bottle-neck; it works reliably fast and uninterrupted without an internet connection.
Interactive and intuitive design: We focus a lot on the design to make iPoS as easy as possible to use. This is a new buying experience for our customers. In turn, our advisors really like the system because it’s so easy and convenient.
What are the benefits of using the system?
We see the benefits mainly in three areas:
Customer engagement: iPoS provides an interactive and progressive buying experience. It makes a significant difference whether an advisor explains insurance plans on paper versus an active engagement on a tablet where advisor and customer explore needs and solutions together with a tool that is designed to be highly interactive. More options can be explored in a shorter time and in less meetings, which brings the insurance conversation to a much deeper level.
Advisor productivity: With iPoS, customer meetings are more efficient and effective and fewer meetings are required. The advisors can address multiple insurance needs in just one meeting leading to a higher premium size. In addition, the advisor’s mobility is enhanced. He or she doesn’t need to travel back to the sales branch as often as before. In conclusion, our advisors are more mobile, can see more customers, and sell higher cases.
Fast turnaround: iPoS ensures that the insurance application is complete and pre-validated. This allows a high ratio of straight through processing and many customers are covered on the same day of signing the application.
How did you choose the e-signature technology?
We knew that we were the first in most of our markets to introduce e-signature in the life insurance industry and we had to present our case to the regulators. We therefore had to be prudent in choosing the e-signature solution. The key e-signature selection criteria were:
- Secure biometric signature
The e-signature captures not only the image but also the sequence, speed and acceleration of strokes. It’s almost impossible to forge a signature. The signature can then be embedded, encrypted and hashed with the PDF document, which ensures that the original document cannot be altered. The document and the signature are inseparable and the signature cannot be re-used.
- Easy integration and time to market When we evaluated the various e-signature solutions, iOS software development know-how was still scarce, at least in Asia. So it was important for us to find a solution that enabled us to integrate the e-signature technology within iPoS on iPad easily and with little efforts in order to launch it quickly.
- Renowned and reliable e-signature solution We also looked at references and the reputation of the vendor to find a solid solution. With hindsight we are quite satisfied with the robustness of the solution particularly through the journey of various iOS upgrades.
What would be your advice to other organizations looking to implement e-signature technology?
Ease of integration is important. E-signature solutions are never standalone and always embedded in another system. An easy and seamless integration of the e-signature as a robust and reliable component in the target system is one important factor.
Think long-term. E-signed documents usually have a lifespan of many years. You need to make sure that you can access, read and verify an e-signed document over many years to come.
AIA Group Limited and its subsidiaries comprise the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group. It has operations in 17 markets in Asia-Pacific – wholly-owned branches and subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, New Zealand, Macau, Brunei, a 97 percent subsidiary in Sri Lanka, a 26 percent joint venture in India and a representative office in Myanmar. It had total assets of US$159 billion as of 31 May 2014.