The Paperwork Problem

 In Paperwork

Part I ­ The Paperwork Problem: forms, applications and contracts that are sent, filled out and returned.

The picture above depicts the most common alternatives (express mail, standard mail, fax, email) to filling out and signing forms, applications and contracts when a face to face meeting is not possible. The process usually entails several steps, is time consuming and costly if express mail is used. In addition, paperwork can sit uncompleted as people tend to procrastinate and if there are errors or changes, the process starts all over again.

Paperwork has always played a big role and is a necessary evil across all industries. It is especially present in financial services and insurance. From applications (i.e. life insurance, loans, financing) to forms (i.e. new accounts, enrollments, compliance) to contracts (i.e. brokerage services, real estate, employment), paperwork is everywhere!

Throughout history, most paperwork was completed and signed in person with the exception of courier services (pigeon post was used by the army in the times BC). While working on this post, I was curious about the progression of the tools used for business paperwork throughout history and here is what I found:

1450­ Up until mid 15th century, handwriting was a specialized vocation (primarily used by the church) and therefore business contracts could only be drawn up by writing experts (i.e. scribe).

1650­ By the end of the renaissance period, handwriting became accessible to a wider audience and people were able to draw up their own documents.

1660­ The General Post Office was started in Britain and Wales.

1775­ U.S. Postal Service began in the United States.

1808­ Carbon paper was invented making duplicates possible for forms, applications and contracts.

1860­ The modern day typewriter was invented and widely used for business.

1869­ Agreements/terms/contracts were enforceable through telegraph signatures.

1918­ First airmail route by the U.S. government (flown by Army Air Services pilots between New York and Washington D.C.). Soon after, the Post Office department took over with their own planes and pilots.

1953­ First high speed printer introduced to the market.

1959­ Copy machine introduced to the market.

1966­ Modern fax machine introduced to the market.

1971­ Laser printers introduced to the market.

1975­ The first personal computer was introduced to the market.

1980’s­ Faxed signatures became an accepted business practice.

1993­ Email became available to the masses.

1999­ E­Signature act began in the U.S./UK/Canada.

Although we have made huge strides with technology in general, the paperwork process has remained the same with the exception of E­Signature since the early 90s when I started out with Great­West Life selling employee benefits.

Because the process is so cumbersome, Liveoak Technologies has developed a new solution around the paperwork process. We enable you to remotely and securely complete paperwork as if you were in a face to face meeting with one or more people. This process works in real­time, has bank grade security, meets compliance standards, records the sessions and communicates directly with back­end systems (including incumbent, legacy systems).

Sounds too good to be true? Contact us and we will show you how we get the job done. We are pumped to be a paperwork game changer!

Andy Ambrose, Andy@liveoak.net and Pete Rung, Pete@liveoak.net

* An interesting side note, the first insurance products were practiced by the Chinese and Babylonian traders in the 3rd ­ 2nd millennium BC. They practiced risk balancing and loans for their shipments (insurance to protect in the case of a ship capsizing).

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