Exclusive INN interviews with insurance thought leaders
Paring Costs From Printing
Even as digital communication becomes more prevalent, the case for
investing in new print technologies remains strong for insurers.
Seemingly no matter how far the insurance industry moves into the digital age, it still heavily relies on printed forms to communicate. Insurance Networking News asked
Francis McMahon, VP of Marketing for
Trumbull, Conn.-based Océ North
America Production Printing Systems,
about how insurers can leverage new
printing innovations to cut costs.
channel. But they should also be using
it to deliver the maximum value as well.
These documents don’t just provide
evidence of a transaction. Furnishing
customers with new insurance cards,
EOBs or policies offers a valuable opportunity to reinforce the company’s
commitment to the customer, promote
the brand and cross-sell.
INN: As the Web becomes an increasingly popular delivery channel, are
insurers missing opportunities to
extract costs from their print
FM: The insurance industry is such a
document-intensive business. You don’t
buy a box of insurance or configure an
insurance system—paper is the physical
manifestation of something policyholders place a high value on. So, printed
communications have historically been
an important component of engaging
customers and agents and solidifying
While all types of insurance firms
are insisting that agents move away
from paper and are offering incentives
for customers to go paperless, overall
print suppression rates across insurance
businesses still hover in the 5% to 7%
range. This means that paper is the main
channel for more than 90% of customer communications.
Insurers should be looking for opportunities to extract costs from this
INN: How can developments in printing technology help insurers cut
FM: As insurers wrestle with issues
such as consolidation, competition and
compliance, they need to produce documents in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible. Digital technology, it
turns out, is a great enabler of both cost
efficiency and marketing effectiveness.
From a hardware standpoint, the latest innovation is inkjet technology,
which enables a sophisticated white-pa-per-in, finished-product-out process.
Instead of producing preprinted paper
stock or forms and adding variable data
and printing checks on dedicated magnetic ink character recognition (MICR)
printers, insurers can produce full-color
documents and checks with security
features on a single platform using plain
Until recently, this type of solution
could only be delivered on toner-based
printers. Now, with the availability of
high-speed inkjet products and the fall-
ing cost of ink, there are operational
advantages for companies that have the
volume to drive economies of scale. In
essence, inkjet machines typically cost
more to acquire, but are less expensive
to operate so the companies that save
the most money are the ones who print
the most volume on each device.
INN: Are the benefits of new
production printing technologies
purely operational or are there mar-
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