Electronic Chat with Bobbie Shrivastav
Staff Writer | June 01, 2020
Electronic Chat with Bobbie Shrivastav
Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Benekiva
Bobbie Shrivastav is co-founder and chief product officer of Benekiva, a software company whose mission is to bridge the gap between life insurance policies and their intended beneficiaries by transforming the claims process from intake to payout, making policy changes seamless and digital, and helping carriers retain more assets by engaging their advisory force and licensed agents. www.benekiva.com
Please tell me a little about your professional background.
I am a technologist and started my career as a developer. Since then, I have been part of the entire IT value chain -- from the infrastructure side, development side, business analysis and project management side, and even security side. I have developed software, managed enterprise level projects and programs, managed developers, business analysts, and project managers, led commercialization and innovation efforts, and more. I’ve worked for organizations such as AON, PepsiCo, the mortgage insurance division of AIG, and Center for Creative Leadership prior to committing full-time into my entrepreneurship endeavors. Since 2015, when I started my entrepreneurship journey, Benekiva is the third company where I’ve served on the founding team.
I love to learn and have an MBA from Wake Forest University, Masters in Project Management from Western Carolina University, and numerous project management certifications from Project Management Institute (PMI) and Scrum Alliance.
What was the impetus for starting Benekiva?
In 2016, I traveled to Des Moines, Iowa to visit family and for business. I had the opportunity to meet with several members of the business community, which led to an introduction to Brent Williams (Benekiva’s founder, CEO and president). When my business partner and I met Brent and heard about the research and the problem in the life insurance space related to claims and beneficiary management, we both decided to join Brent as founders.
The research that Brent conducted showed four main problems in the life insurance space:
- Claims processing – a very manual, document-heavy, paper-based process
- Legacy systems – It takes an average of six to eight systems to process one claim, and most insurers are still using mainframe/green screen applications for claims
- Unclaimed property – A growing issue, with an annual average of 1 billion a year.
- Changing laws and regulations – Regulations and state-specific laws such as penalty interest, due diligence requirements continue to change.
We asked the question: How can carriers keep up when processes are manual, systems are old, and laws keep changing?
Please briefly describe how Benekiva works.
Benekiva is a software-as-a-solution (SaaS) focused to solve these problems using the following modules:
- Claims – We offer a 100% digital claims solution, from claim intake to payout. Our technology can handle various forms of intake -- web, SMS, even faxes. We can integrate with any system, including green screen. We have developed our own configurator to map and convert data, and our document generation and facilitation engine allows us to digitize documents, including generating correspondence and statements. We have workflow, reporting, and calculation engines, all powered by our rules-based engine that can configure any product, workflow, and process, from simple to complex.
- Retention – This is where we integrate agents and/or advisory forces into the claims process, allowing them to serve the beneficiary.
- Compliance – Rules and workflow to tackle unclaimed property and escheatment laws.
- Servicing – Ability for carriers to use our technology for servicing needs.
Can you cite a specific case study where your product helped an insurer?
Most recently, we’ve helped carriers respond to challenges brought by COVID-19, enabling them to easily move their claims operations to work from home with no drop in productivity or issues with claims processing. One client using our claims module, Homesteaders Life Company, is experiencing business as usual, or even better than usual. Homesteaders Chairman, President and CEO Steve Shaffer says, "With Benekiva's ability to work anywhere, anytime, and any device during COVID-19, it has been business as usual for our claims staff and most importantly, we have been able to uphold our superior servicing standard to our beneficiaries."
Do you believe there is a new urgency in processing life insurance claims during the COVID-19 crisis?
Claims has been a key customer service issue even before COVID-19. Now, more than ever, it is also a business continuity issue. Carriers that want to uphold their superior servicing standards are shifting their focus to tools that make it easier for their staff and customers to optimize their processes for claims and servicing.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge for life insurers in today’s insurance market?
The biggest challenge is the ability to retain the asset. In our research, after a claim is filed, less than 4% of asset returns in the form of new business. How can it, when claims processes are long, manual, and lack adequate communication? This is why we created our retention module. By engaging agents and/or advisory force into the claims process, carriers will retain assets, serve beneficiaries, and fulfil the promise they made to the policyholder.
What areas of insurtech are you especially excited about?
I get very excited when I see tools for carriers and agents that automate what is needed while providing a human touch where needed. I recently did a podcast on the importance of being humane. As a technologist, I understand the importance of technology. The key is to have a healthy balance and offer options – human or self-service.
I also get excited about data. As a platform, we love integrating with data providers to enrich and make lives easier for our carriers. Our premise is to make the process as frictionless as possible for the claim staff and the end user, whether that is the policyholder or the beneficiary. With the right integration, data can drive a lot of efficiency, trigger points without creating strain in the process.
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The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
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