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Ken Leibow

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Ken Leibow is founder and CEO of InsurTech Express. He brings more than 36 years of insurance industry experience with an extensive background in insurance technology for distribution and back office systems. Prior to founding InsurTech Express, Leibow worked for Genworth Financial, Mutual of Omaha, and as vice president of operations at Diversified Underwriters Services, Inc. As COO of Integrated Insurance Technologies, he built the largest life insurance data exchange hub in the industry, processing over one million policies per year and $30 billion of annuities (now owned by Oracle, Inc.). Some of the key initiatives he implemented include innovation in quoting and illustration tools, CRM’s, agency management systems, eApp platforms and ePolicy Delivery for long term care, life insurance and annuities. Leibow is a leader for industry technology standards, working with ACORD, LDTC, LIDMA, NAILBA, LIMRA, LOMA and IRI. In 2019, he was appointed to sit on the ACLI Innovation Committee. He is on the ACORD Life & Annuity Program Advisory Council and won the ACORD Leadership Award in 2022 and ACORD Community 50th Anniversary Award in 2020. He is a past winner of the NAILBA Chairman’s Award and NAILBA’s ID20 Award. In 2022, he was the winner of the LIDMA Innovation Award. Leibow can be reached by telephone at 402-740-7356. Email: ken@insurtechexpress.com.

The Future Of Life Insurance Sales: New Digital Illustration Software And AI Solutions

Sales Illustration systems are evolving with enhanced functionalities designed to help life BGAs and advisors better connect with their clients. Cutting-edge tools and advanced technology, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), are driving this transformation. As we consider the 72 million millennials aged 27 to 42, who are becoming major consumers of life insurance, it’s crucial to recognize their preferences. These individuals are embarking on careers, starting families, and seeking visual solutions, self-service options, and engaging experiences. Let’s explore some of these innovative new tools.

My company, InsurTech Express, is excited to introduce our new AI tool, “InsurTech Navigator AI.” This tool boasts the largest repository of Life Insurance Technology content, allowing users to research and shop for software solutions seamlessly. It also provides access to leading carrier agent portals, industry events, and job opportunities, leveraging the ChatGPT API for natural language engagement. Additionally, InsurTech Navigator AI can summarize PDF documents while ensuring data privacy and generate images for your website and social media posts. A standout feature is the integration with other AI tools accessible via single sign-on. This includes “Midnight Underwriter,” a conversational AI Field Underwriting Tool with guidelines from 42 carriers and a medications database, and Proforce Ledger, offering a free version for IUL and VUL Illustrations. Visit InsurTech Navigator AI at https://ienavigator.ai/ to sign up.

Predictive Spreadsheeting with Proforce
Proforce can be used to quickly change UL illustrations in front of the client and do comparisons. It can also be used for running Inforce Ledgers without having to order them from the carrier home office. Proforce AI does not replace illustrations. You start with a fully compliant illustration that Proforce then analyzes. After that, what-if predictions and comparisons can be created instantly to facilitate understanding and improve decision-making. A fully compliant illustration will again be needed for submission. Repredictions are predictions layered upon other predictions. For example, your first prediction may be to show more retirement income. Based on these results, the client may wish to see what happens if a premium is skipped or another premium is added. Proforce uses pattern recognition from an existing compliant illustration. These non-linear patterns maintain all of the original crediting, expense, mortality and administrative assumptions, but quickly scale based on changes you input. It is a Patented AI technology.

Sales Enablement Innovation—Ensight Sales Stories
We are now several years down the road into the broad Fintech transformation era.

There is no doubt that insurtech platforms are now inspiring more financial advisors and consumers to consider and adopt life insurance. The growth opportunity exists for the BGA community if they direct their focus towards adopting and delivering new digital experiences where it matters most, at the Point-of-Sale (PoS).

For permanent life insurance, annuities, and long term care, new easy-to-understand, visually intuitive digital experiences can help make these products more accessible and adoptable to a wider range of agents, financial advisors, and consumers. Ensight is leading this effort, more than any other US technology partner today. Working closely with insurance carriers, Ensight Is now launching carrier “sales stories” (think “digital sales playbooks”) on the Ensight Intelligent Quote platform.

Let’s dive Into why this market development Is so Important for the brokerage community and the future of sales.

Digital sales experiences drive greater adoption in new segments and FAs
Transforming the digital sales and marketing experience of the permanent life product suite (as well as hybrid LTC and annuities) may help ignite the spark to ensuring strong sector growth in the years ahead.

Why? Let’s look at a few key market opportunity growth trends now in play which underpin this emerging landscape, if U.S. life and annuity distribution shift with the times:

  • A complete shift by financial advisors to digital planning and product experiences
  • Millennials now aging up to 45 and entering prime pre-retirement planning years
  • New agents (Millennials, GenZ) looking to learn and sell product on digital platforms
  • The emergence of field-oriented sales enablement platforms with “producer stickiness”

These macro trends paint a significant opportunity for the sector going forward.

Digitally codifying the old “sales playbook”
Sales has traditionally been an utterly human endeavor: understanding a client’s needs, building a relationship of trust with a client, interpreting questions and objections, and guiding the client through the stages of the sale.

Great “salesmanship” has always been an art. An art learned only from top salespeople through seminars, books, advice and years of practice. Today, great salesmanship—or at the very least aspects of the sale—can be learned and ingrained much more rapidly.

Why? The “art of selling” is now shifting onto platforms. The old “sales playbook” is being transcribed into an embedded digital sales platform, where new and Inexperienced agents and advisors are following a guided digital selling experience. This is the future of agent-based selling in the life, annuity and health sector. Today, Google and Apple maps tell us where to go, what adjustments to make based upon insight into traffic conditions. The platform helps guide the “the human act of driving.” As such, new “sales enablement” platforms are now increasingly helping guide the client engagement and sales discussion. Ensight Sales Stories—A partnership between Ensight and Insurance Carriers

Ensight™ has been driving sector Innovation for years. Today it is continuing to innovate in Its drive to help Its partners sell more permanent life, annuity and long term care (LTC) insurance products through “Sales Stories,” co-developed with partner insurance carriers. Sales Stories transform the agent-client engagement and discussion. Now more than ever it is critical to simplify the story of permanent life insurance, annuities and LTC. Ensight Sales Stories are a modern digital sales playbook, fostering a simpler, “easy to follow’’ client discussion combined with a more modern Interactive, financial planning experience. Sales Stories, created In partnership with insurance carriers for the benefit of distribution, provide the Ensight’s distribution community:

  • A sales enablement experience for wholesalers, producers and agents—right alongside the traditional Illustration PDF
  • A more client-focused experience, driving better client understanding and sales

So why are Ensight Sales Stories critical today? Because distribution dynamics are changing rapidly—and we need more agents and advisors more effectively selling permanent life, annuities and long term care. Because we now operate in an economy where consumers increasingly expect to “self-educate” as part of any financial decision-making process. Because a growing majority of advisor-client financial planning discussions now take place over an intuitive digital financial planning experience. Learn more about Ensight illustration solutions at ensightcloud.com.

The landscape of Sales Illustration systems is rapidly advancing, offering enhanced functionalities that empower life BGAs and advisors to better engage with their clients. As new tools and technologies, particularly Artificial Intelligence, continue to emerge, it is crucial to adapt to the preferences of the 72 million millennials entering their prime purchasing years. These consumers value visual solutions, self-service options, and interactive experiences.

Innovative platforms like InsurTech Navigator AI from InsurTech Express are leading the charge with comprehensive tools that support seamless software solution research, carrier portal access, and industry event engagement. The integration of conversational AI tools, such as Midnight Underwriter and Proforce Ledger, further streamlines processes and enhances user experience.

Additionally, sales enablement innovations like Ensight Sales Stories are transforming the way permanent life insurance, annuities, and long term care products are presented and sold. By providing intuitive, digital sales playbooks, these platforms make it easier for agents and financial advisors to communicate complex products effectively.

As the industry continues to evolve, embracing these digital solutions will be key to capturing the growing market of tech-savvy consumers. By leveraging advanced technology and AI-driven tools, life BGAs and advisors can create more engaging and efficient sales processes, ultimately driving growth and success in the life insurance sector. Visit InsurTech Navigator AI at ienavigator.ai to sign up and learn more about Ensight illustration solutions at ensightcloud.com.

The Power Of Administrative Delegation: Offloading Admin Work To Focus On Growth

In the world of life insurance and brokerage, efficiency is king. Brokerage general agencies (BGAs) and insurance marketing organizations (IMOs) are the engines of growth in this sector, fueling the progress through strategic agent engagement and effective policy management. Yet, amidst the bustling activity of daily operations, the art of administrative delegation becomes a linchpin for sustainable expansion. The Power of Administrative Delegation is not just a matter of operational logistics; it’s a strategic imperative that can make the difference between stagnation and success.

Running a BGA or IMO necessitates a delicate balance of patience, perseverance, and diligent effort. It’s indisputable that the trajectory of your growth and profitability heavily relies on your ability to attract and retain agents and advisors. Any lapse in focus can inadvertently become the open door your competitors need to lure your agents away, and they won’t hesitate to do so.

Fostering business growth often takes a backseat to necessary and timely administrative responsibilities like agent contracting, meticulous data entry, application processing, case management, and managing complex commission structures. Although your agency’s foundation rests upon service principles, there’s often a lack of resources dedicated to fulfilling its needs. To delegate, or not to delegate? That is the question.

Roadblocks to Success: The Clock and The Work
While every aspect of the work your BGA or IMO performs is essential, the work that takes the most hours off the clock rarely brings in the most revenue.

  • Paperwork and Digital Document Processing: Managing and processing paperwork and digital workflows (SureLC, Eapps, TeleApps, etc.) related to agent contracting, new business applications and case management, policy changes, and other administrative tasks is time-consuming.
  • Data Entry and Record Keeping: Managing, updating, and maintaining client records and policy information is labor-intensive.
  • Customer Service and Support: Addressing customer inquiries, processing policy changes, and providing support take significant time and resources.
  • Compliance and Regulatory Tasks: Ensuring compliance with industry regulations and regulatory changes can be complex and ongoing.
  • This list does not include day-to-day back-office management, underwriting, or special projects that require human resources and time that could be more effectively spent elsewhere.

Sometimes Scaling Up Requires Shipping Out
For any business to grow, it needs the ability and resources to focus on strategy, implementation, and execution. For every talented, knowledgeable, staff member who is buried under routine administrative tasks, the opportunity for them to execute growth strategies is sorely missed. So, what are your options?

Technology Can Only Take You So Far
Implementing new systems, CRMs, and other insurtech-facing platforms is essential to maximize your staff’s time and your firm’s overall efficiencies. What’s often an afterthought is how these systems still require training and ongoing maintenance. While artificial intelligence promises a future of robust technological solutions, it is currently relegated to use in other industries, such as marketing, content creation, and graphic design. The best way to enable your technology to be all it can be is with attention from an experienced support team.

While technologies can boost your productivity and organization, a critical element is still missing in any of these systems. Life insurance is very much a people-centric industry. It requires human capital and human touch-points to subsist at even the most basic level. Risk management is not something that people are happy to entrust to technology alone. This is an industry based on trust, integrity, and accountability. Of these three, trust might be the largest obstacle to a BGA or IMO…outsourcing busy work to a third party.

Envisioning Growth
Picture the enhanced productivity your business would achieve if your team could dedicate their time to crucial tasks like recruitment and retention, rather than grappling with complex commission structures.

Visualize the possibilities: Rather than scrambling for APSs and case status reports, imagine engaging with that large agency to assist them in providing comprehensive life solutions to their clients.

Consider the efficiency gained from eliminating repetitive data entry tasks. Instead, envision direct conversations with financial advisory firms, presenting their advisors with opportunities to safeguard their clients’ assets.

Imagine how much you could grow if you had more time and resources.

With Great Power…
There is great power in delegating, and with great power comes great responsibility. The ability to combine technology you can rely on with people you can trust is the solution that can help your business realize its potential. Technology is easily vetted, but people require track records with experience, expertise, and the capacity to take the busy work off your plate with accuracy and precision. They need to be able to point to their reputation in the industry and reveal a constant measure of success. There is one solution provider leading the way: Employee Pooling (EP) stands as a testament to this ethos, seamlessly blending technology with expert human capital within the insurance sector for over a decade. Tailored to address the challenges confronting expanding BGAs and IMOs nearing capacity limits, EP offers end-to-end services and solutions from submission to commission, earning the trust of numerous agencies nationwide, regardless of size. You can learn more about Employee Pooling by visiting https://employeepooling.com.

Delegation is not just about offloading tasks; it’s about creating a space where strategic thinking and growth activities can flourish. When administrative duties are streamlined, and the right tasks are assigned to the right people or systems, the entire organization can breathe easier and focus on what truly matters: Building relationships, developing new markets, and crafting policies that serve the community better. By embracing delegation, BGAs and IMOs can pivot from being transaction-focused to being growth-oriented, shifting their gaze from the minutiae to the big picture.

The benefits of such a shift are manifold. Agencies can experience a boost in productivity, allowing for a more profound engagement with current clients and the pursuit of new opportunities. Yes, what I mean is expanding more channels to offer products and services. You can exponentially grow the production from financial advisors and P&C agents for example. Moreover, sales and marketing can take center stage for BGAs and IMOs.

However, with the power of delegation comes the need for discernment. It is not merely about assigning tasks; it is about empowering a reliable team that can handle these tasks with the same level of care and commitment as the core members of the organization. This team, whether in-house or outsourced, must be adept at navigating the intricacies of insurance administration and possess a deep understanding of the industry’s regulatory landscape.

Look, the life insurance industry is changing because of technology, market, and driven by a new generation of agents and consumers. The power of administrative delegation is transformative, allowing BGAs and IMOs to scale new heights and achieve unprecedented growth. By effectively managing and offloading admin work, these organizations can concentrate on cultivating their core competencies and capitalizing on growth opportunities. It is the fusion of robust technology with the expertise of seasoned professionals that forms the bedrock of a thriving insurance agency. As the sector continues to evolve, those who master the balance between technological efficiency and human insight will lead the charge into a future where growth is not just an objective but an ongoing reality.

In this landscape, brokerage general agencies and insurance marketing organizations that recognize and act upon the value of administrative delegation will not only survive but thrive, transforming challenges into catalysts for growth and setting new standards of excellence in the insurance industry.

Critical Reasons Why Cybersecurity, Data Encryption And Compliance Must Become Front-Burner Topics

As technology evolves, so do the risks associated with cyber threats in the insurance industry. With the increasing digitization of processes and the growing volume of sensitive data, cybersecurity, and compliance have become paramount concerns for brokerage insurance firms and independent producers alike. It is imperative for industry professionals to prioritize cybersecurity measures to protect their clients, their businesses, and their reputation.

These statistics and examples provide evidence of the importance of cybersecurity and compliance in the broker insurance industry, emphasizing the need for proactive measures to mitigate risks and secure sensitive information.

Nine Reasons Why Cybersecurity and Compliance are Important

1) Ongoing Regulatory Compliance

  • 79 percent of insurance executives believe that regulatory compliance is a top priority for their organizations. The future of regulatory compliance for the insurance industry requires leaders to find a balance between opportunity and obligation.1
  • Example: In November, 2023, The NYDFS fined an Insurance company $1 million for violations of DFS’s Cybersecurity Regulation (23 NYCRR Part 500) stemming from a large-scale cybersecurity breach.2

2) Increase in Third-Party Vulnerabilities Now Used by Hackers as a Valid Entry Point

  • The rise of software supply chain compromises was the root cause of 12 percent of breaches.3
  • Example: The 2017 Equifax breach that exposed the personal information of millions of individuals was attributed to a vulnerability in a third-party software application.4

3) Outdated Systems and Infrastructure that Needs Patched

  • The average time to identify and contain a data breach caused by an outdated system is 280 days.5
  • Example: The WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017 exploited vulnerabilities in outdated systems, affecting thousands of organizations worldwide.6

4) AI and Advanced Technologies

  • 75 percent of cybersecurity professionals have seen an increase in attacks over the past year, with 85 percent attributing it to threat actors weaponizing AI.7
  • Example: Deepfake technology can create convincing fake videos of executives, potentially leading to social engineering attacks in the insurance industry. Instances of deepfake phishing and fraud surged by 3,000 percent in 2023.8

5) Liability Risk (Accountability across all roles)

  • Global cybercrime damage costs will grow by 15 percent per year over the next two years, reaching $10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025, up from $3 trillion USD in 2015.9
  • Example: The CEO of a large insurance company faced legal repercussions after a data breach resulted in significant financial losses for customers.10

6) Increase in Hacker Expertise and Entry Points

  • 74 percent of all breaches include the human element, with people being involved either via error, privilege misuse, use of stolen credentials or social engineering.11
  • Example: A phishing email targeted at insurance brokers led to unauthorized access to sensitive client data, resulting in a data breach.12

7) Ongoing Nation-State Attacks

  • The Department of the Treasury reported that the total value of U.S. ransomware incidents reached $886 million in 2021, a 68 percent increase compared to 2020.13
  • Example: Health insurance and services company UnitedHealth Group is blaming a state-sponsored threat actor for a cyberattack on its subsidiary Change Healthcare.14

8) Remote and Hybrid Work Increased Attack Surfaces (not going away)

  • CyberArk found 85 percent of organizations experienced a security incident due to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic.15
  • Example: A remote employee of an insurance brokerage accidentally exposed sensitive client data by using an unsecured Wi-Fi network.16

9) It’s not “If” a Breach Will Happen, it’s “When”

  • The IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report states that the global average cost of a data breach in 2023 was USD $4.45 million, a 15 percent increase over three years.17
  • Example: An Insurance consulting and brokerage firm is informing more than 1.5 million individuals that their personal information was stolen in an August 2023 cyberattack.18

Buckler’s Founder and Chairman, Vincent Guyaux states, “Cybersecurity, and the regulatory requirements around it, went from suggested to required and from attestations to evidence-based. Adhering to cybersecurity regulations isn’t just a legal necessity; it’s also essential for preserving the confidence of clients and stakeholders.”19

Brian Edelman of FCI adds, “Anyone that cares deeply about their business should care about cybersecurity. As an MSSP that automates and secures environments with Zero Trust solutions, we have seen it all from one and two-person agencies to large enterprises and brokerages that have a pressing need to stay compliant as threats continuously shift.”

Cybersecurity and compliance must be at the forefront of discussions and actions within the insurance world. The evolving threat landscape, coupled with regulatory pressures and the increasing reliance on technology, necessitates a proactive approach to cybersecurity. By understanding the top reasons why cybersecurity and compliance are important, insurance professionals can better protect themselves, their clients, and the integrity of the industry as a whole. It’s time to make cybersecurity and compliance front-burner topics and take decisive actions to safeguard against cyber threats in today’s digital age.

Data Encryption is the Foundation for a Compliance Program
Data encryption is the foundation to building out a solid, executable compliance program. Although, most compliance requirements only address minimal data encryption requirements such as encryption at rest and in transit, if they specifically define encryption at all. Many compliance regulations basically state that data must be protected. We have to remember that compliance refers to adhering to laws, regulations, and guidelines that dictate how an organization should manage and protect data. Data security, on the other hand, involves the technical and administrative controls used to protect data from authorized access, breaches and other forms of misuse.

So why is data encryption the foundation to building out a solid, executable compliance program? Let’s look at where compliance frameworks intersect data encryption:

  1. By encrypting private, sensitive, and controlled data in all three states (encryption at rest, in motion, and in use), the organization will position to exceed any compliance data security requirements and avoid compliance penalties. More importantly, encryption of data in all three states will greatly reduce the likelihood of a threat actor stealing or ransoming critical data. In 2022, Paperclip Inc. launched SAFE®, an innovative solution specifically designed to assure that critical data is always encrypted, including where organizations are most exposed, data in use.
  2. Alignment to defense in depth related compliance requirements. Compliance requirements mandate training, accessibility, authentication, and data leakage controls. Encrypting core, operational data will assure that all compliance layers from the data through to the endpoint are more effective. When implemented, the proper encryption solution will protect the data when other measures break down. For example, Paperclip SAFE®, a data in use encryption solution will protect sensitive data even when a threat actor compromises an end user’s credentials, or even when the threat actor is inside the network perimeter.
  3. One particular data compliance area currently being targeted by the SEC and FINRA is related to incident response (IR). On the surface, IR is less about data security and more about business continuity. Auditors are challenging not just the plan in place, but has it been tested. They want to see the results and mitigation reports based on performance of active IR tabletops. Where the audit of the IR plan intersects with data security is around how auditors are looking to see how the IR plan and tabletop connect to the security an organization has in place. For example, when the organization has encrypted critical data with a solution such as Paperclip SAFE®, it removes that data from theft and ransom. This practice reduces the likelihood of consumer data exposure and will allow the organization to quickly gain control of the incident. IR is all about regaining control of the operational environment, reducing threat actor activity, and getting the operation back online with little to no disruption.

A strategic combination of services from organizations like Buckler and Paperclip will avoid costly out of compliance penalties and even more costly breach expenses and catastrophic reputational loss.

Reference:

  1. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/regulatory/articles/insurance-regulatory-outlook.html.
  2. https://www.dfs.ny.gov/reports_and_publications/press_releases/pr202311281.
  3. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/rising-costs-data-breaches-2023-key-insights-from-ibms-latest/.
  4. https://www.csoonline.com/article/567833/equifax-data-breach-faq-what-happened-who-was-affected-what-was-the-impact.html.
  5. https://www.ibm.com/thought-leadership/institute-business-value/en-us/blog/security-fraud-risks-banking-financial-markets.
  6. https://money.cnn.com/2017/05/13/technology/ransomware-attack-nsa-microsoft/index.html.
  7. https://www.cfo.com/news/cybersecurity-attacks-generative-ai-security-ransom/692176/#:~:text=Seventy%2Dfive%20percent%20of%20security,Sapio%20Research%20and%20Deep%20Instinct.
  8. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2024/01/23/deepfake-phishing-the-dangerous-new-face-of-cybercrime/?sh=3ecc5d774aed.
  9. https://cybersecurityventures.com/cybercrime-to-cost-the-world-9-trillion-annually-in-2024/.
  10. https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2024/01/02/753570.htm.
  11. https://www.verizon.com/business/resources/reports/dbir/.
  12. https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/07/phishing-attacks-are-increasing-and-getting-more-sophisticated.html.
  13. https://www.gao.gov/assets/870/865761.pdf.
  14. https://www.securityweek.com/state-sponsored-group-blamed-for-change-healthcare-breach/.
  15. https://www.cyberark.com/press/cyberark-state-of-remote-work-study-poor-security-habits-raise-questions-about-the-future-of-remote-work/.
  16. https://www.cpomagazine.com/cyber-security/protecting-remote-workers-against-the-perils-of-public-wi-fi/.
  17. https://www.ibm.com/reports/data-breach.
  18. https://www.securityweek.com/1-5-million-affected-by-data-breach-at-insurance-broker-keenan-associates/.
  19. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/impact-cybersecurity-insurance-brokering-chathura-kehelpannala-jyayc/.

Leveraging Data And Analytics To Drive Marketing Success In The Insurance Industry

The use of data analytics and lead distribution tools in life insurance is increasingly gaining momentum, powered by advancements in business intelligence solutions and AI-driven sales technologies. These tools offer significant benefits to both insurance carriers and BGAs. In this article we will explore innovative tools that are transforming the way we analyze and interpret lead data, whether it pertains to insurance prospects or monitoring agent performance.

Staying ahead in today’s highly competitive insurance landscape requires more than traditional marketing strategies. To reach and engage target audiences effectively, insurance professionals must embrace innovative approaches as consumers become increasingly discerning and digital channels continue to proliferate. At the heart of this evolution across the industry lies the power of data and analytics. Harnessing the insights gleaned from data has become indispensable in the quest to maximize marketing ROI and drive sustainable growth.

As a seasoned veteran with 37 years of experience in the insurance industry, I find it imperative to highlight revolutionary solutions that equip insurance professionals to navigate the complexities of modern marketing—especially when some companies are still sticking to archaic and outdated legacy systems. Statistics support the need for constant change—88 percent of
consumers demand more personalized insurance products; 41 percent say they are more likely to switch providers due to a lack of digital capabilities. Industry leaders also realize this, as 67 percent of insurance CIOs say that SaaS will transform the industry in five years or less.1

In this regard, performance marketing automation software Phonexa—one of my partners at InsurTech Express—is a beacon of innovation, empowering insurance professionals to streamline their operations.

A Closed-Loop Approach To Reporting
Accurately tracking and measuring the effectiveness of campaigns remains one of the most significant obstacles insurance marketers encounter. With enterprise-grade tracking software solutions like Phonexa, marketers gain unprecedented visibility into their marketing efforts across various channels, from digital advertising to email campaigns and beyond. These capabilities are essential as insurance agencies focus less on lead generation and instead shift their efforts toward tracking and retargeting leads.

Since sales and marketing teams focus on different stages of the lead funnel, collaboration is necessary to optimize lead retargeting strategies. With sales solely responsible for monitoring a portion of the customer journey, crucial insights regarding lead quality and purchasing intent are obscured, leading to inefficiencies and wasted resources on leads unlikely to convert.

By consolidating data from multiple touchpoints into a single operating platform, Phonexa enables marketers to seamlessly track the customer journey from initial engagement to conversion. This closed-loop approach enhances campaign optimization and facilitates continuous improvement, ensuring marketing efforts align with business objectives.

KPIs to Prioritize
While traditional metrics such as click-through rates and conversion rates provide valuable insights, Phonexa encourages marketers to broaden their scope and focus on holistic KPIs that reflect the entire customer journey. Customer lifetime value, cost per acquisition, and return on investment are invaluable indicators of marketing effectiveness. Each enables insurance professionals to allocate resources strategically and boost profitability.

The importance of personalization in today’s hyper-connected world cannot be overstated. Research indicates that companies adept at personalization yield a 40 percent increase in revenue.2 Phonexa, for one, enables insurance marketers to deliver highly targeted and relevant messages to their audiences using advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms.

Whether by tailoring messaging based on demographic data or optimizing ad placements for maximum impact, Phonexa helps marketers forge meaningful connections with their target customers, fostering engagement and loyalty in the process.

Embracing Data and Analytics
The era of data-driven marketing has dawned upon the insurance industry, presenting challenges and opportunities for forward-thinking professionals. By embracing the power of data and analytics, insurance marketers can gain a competitive edge in an increasingly crowded marketplace. With Phonexa as their trusted partner, life insurance, annuities, and health insurance professionals can accommodate the specific needs of different segments within the industry.

Maximizing the full potential of marketing efforts, driving measurable results, and achieving sustainable growth in the process oftentimes comes down to making a tweak in the tech stack. To learn more about Phonexa’s all-in-one marketing automation solution, visit www.phonexa.com.

Revolutionizing Insurance Sales: The Power of Lead PrioritizerTM
In the dynamic world of insurance, staying ahead in the sales game is crucial. This is where Lead Prioritizer™ comes into play, a groundbreaking tool that is transforming how insurance carriers and brokers/agents approach their sales strategies that is offered through Spinnaker Analytics. Lead Prioritizer™ is a responsible AI solution designed to optimize the distribution, underwriting, and operations processes in the insurance industry. Its primary function is to convert high-priority prospects into placed policies efficiently. This tool is not just for carriers but is also an invaluable asset for brokers and agents.

One of the key features of Lead Prioritizer™ is its ability to assign a likelihood score to each new business prospect. This score helps organizations align their resources effectively, focusing on prospects with higher scores and a greater likelihood of sale conversion. Additionally, it provides action recommendations such as whether a quote should be provided, enhancing decision-making processes. Lead Prioritizer™ operates by identifying patterns in in-house data and augmenting this with external market data. It blends data science insights with management experience to develop actionable recommendations. The tool is equipped with autonomous learning capabilities, allowing it to adapt to the latest market shifts and management actions. This continuous learning ensures that the Lead Prioritization solution remains updated with the best proven techniques, algorithms, and libraries.

A significant advantage of Lead Prioritizer™ is its ability to seamlessly integrate new data that was not available during initial deployment. This flexibility means that carriers and brokers can start using the solution immediately with whatever data they have, bypassing the need for extensive data gathering and infrastructure investments.

Results Delivered
The impact of Lead Prioritizer™ on sales and customer satisfaction is significant. By prioritizing high-likelihood cases, which are often overlooked in traditional workflows, sales growth is driven effectively. For instance, one carrier reported a 20 percent growth in sales after implementing this tool. Additionally, it helps in identifying attractive customer segments, allowing carriers to target leads with a higher propensity to sell.

From an operational standpoint, Lead Prioritizer™ enhances the utilization and productivity of scarce resources and skill sets in distribution and underwriting. It also plays a crucial role in improving customer satisfaction, with one carrier increasing segment profit by 15 percent using this tool.

Lead Prioritizer™ has been successfully deployed across various clients, including carriers and brokers, with a track record of over four years in growing sales. It is implemented on a secure portal, customized to the client’s needs, and can accommodate technical requirements such as AWS or Azure. This integration dovetails with existing management reports, ensuring a seamless transition and operation. Its ability to prioritize leads effectively, adapt to new data, and drive sales growth makes it an indispensable asset for carriers and brokers aiming to stay ahead in the competitive insurance market.

So what are the lessons learned? During a recent deployment, the CEO’s priority was to improve efficiency. However, the underwriters wanted to improve their workflow and distribution wanted to grow sales. While the algorithmic solution addressed all of the above analytically—there was an initial resistance to adoption by various functions. It took off only after each priority was explicitly acknowledged and the solution to achieve that priority was communicated to specific audience/stakeholders. Now everyone at the carrier is happy as sales have increased 20 percent, accompanied by improvements to efficiency and profitability. More importantly, channel partners are happy because now they flow more favorable cases to the client carrier—which is an added plus! This is an important reminder that solving business problems by combining data science with management art and stakeholder priorities is what wins the day for everyone. Visit Spinnaker Analytics to learn more: www.spinnakeranalytics.com.

Reference:
1. https://www.liferay.com/blog/customer-experience/20-must-know-stats-for-insurers-in-2022.
2. https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/growth-marketing-and-sales/our-insights/the-value-of-getting-personalization-right-or-wrong-is-multiplying.

The Evolution Of Life Insurance: Embracing Digital Point Of Sales Solutions For A Millennial Market

In the ever-evolving landscape of life insurance digital point of sales solutions are not just a trend but a revolution, particularly tailored to the preferences and needs of millennials—the central buyers in today’s market. This demographic, aged between 26-45, is driving a significant shift in how life insurance products are designed, marketed and sold. The key to capturing this market lies in blending self-service options with on-demand advisor support, accelerated underwriting processes, and leveraging cutting-edge AI technology.

The Afficiency Model
The move to digitization has been embraced by our industry for some time, with carriers vying to meet the needs of both tech savvy consumers and distribution partners anxious to move with the times. However, it has not always been a smooth ride. For many carriers the transition has been a long and winding road, oftentimes a road that cannot be navigated alone. Some successful life carriers have benefited from leaning on the expertise and nimbleness of the new breed of life insurtechs.

One such insurtech, Afficiency, has the unique advantage of an innovative tech stack combined with a team of talented individuals with a proven track record in digital life insurance deployments.

Understanding the importance of the agent-client relationship and the valued role that the agent plays, Afficiency has always focused their attention on a distributor-first model to deliver a true digital workflow for term, final expense and whole life products with offer rates close to 70 percent and increasing with continued underwriting innovation. These products, along with more advanced products in the pipeline, provide agents and consumers alike with an in-session decision; at times the end-to-end journey is complete in under 10 to 15 minutes. This represents a windfall for agents and carriers looking for high quality risk and keen to expand their business, especially among younger digital natives.

The Afficiency model is based on collaboration between all parties; technology, carriers, and distribution to deliver digital products that address parties’ desire to be in control of their costs and to utilize a scalable platform.

Most recently Afficiency has released the latest version of their eApp, which relies on proprietary API technology and an easy-to-navigate and configurable UI, to bridge agent experience, third party database checks and carrier connections. Guided by the agent, the client is walked through the application to collect and verify their personal data, capture eligibility, health, and lifestyle information before gaining consent via either email or text message. Once consent is provided, the real-time magic happens in the background as the sophisticated underwriting engine kicks into action simultaneously conducting applicant identification checks, implementing fraud controls, and returning a decision while the agent and client patiently standby for an in-session decision in a matter of minutes—and often a decision is returned in seconds.

Should the application proceed to an offer the agent continues the digital journey with their client, adjusting the term and coverage as needed as well as adding additional benefits such as children’s term riders or accidental death benefit rider. The client signature is captured, once again digitally via either email or text message. The client can have the financial protection they need within minutes and the agent has the added security of competitive, next-day commission payment.

Afficiency works with their carrier partners to continuously improve and fine tune the interpretation of the underwriting rules to maximize the outcome for carriers and distributors alike. Such fine tuning includes the recent introduction of a manual underwriting process to the once “fully automatic” workflow. While the overwhelming majority of applications are still decided digitally and within the same session, the refer to underwriter process allows for manual review of edge cases that may have otherwise been declined within 48 hours, further increasing the number of cases being approved.

Another recent enhancement to the Afficiency client journey is the introduction of an underwriting report on declined applications for the information of both the agent and their client. Historically agents have had to make do with the scant and sometimes unhelpful information provided on adverse underwriting decision notifications. By providing more detail on why their client was declined, the agent is armed with meaningful insight and can better advise their client on the most appropriate next steps for protecting their financial future.

In the end it’s about growing the number of families we can help distributors and carriers protect! To learn more about Afficiency visit https://www.afficiency.com.

The Millennial Influence
Millennials, known for their affinity for technology and convenience, have reshaped the life insurance industry. Their demand for quick, efficient, and hassle-free services has led to the emergence of digital point of sales solutions. Unlike previous generations, millennials are willing to pay higher premiums for life insurance policies that offer speed and simplicity—a testament to the adage “time is money.” The process has become as important as the product itself, with instant issue policies and accelerated underwriting processes gaining popularity.

Speed and efficiency is the new currency. In the realm of life insurance, “time is money” has never been more pertinent. The quicker the process of obtaining life insurance, the more attractive it is to potential buyers. Millennials, in particular, are willing to pay higher premiums for policies that offer speed and convenience. This trend has led to the concept that the process itself has become the product, a significant departure from traditional insurance models.

The Rise of Non-Medical Underwriting
One of the most significant advancements in catering to this need for speed and convenience is the development of non-medical underwriting, often referred to as “Non-Med.” This approach eliminates the traditional, time-consuming medical exams and fluid draws, relying instead on part II medical questionnaires, prescription data, Medical Information Bureau (MIB) checks, and Electronic Health Records (EHRs). This shift not only speeds up the underwriting process but also makes it more comfortable and less invasive for the customer.

AI: The Game Changer in Underwriting
Insurtech companies are at the forefront of integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into the underwriting process. By utilizing AI, these companies can quickly analyze vast amounts of data from medical questionnaires, prescription histories, and electronic health records. This technology enables insurers to accurately score and make informed decisions on policy applications at an unprecedented speed. The result is a more efficient underwriting process, leading to higher customer satisfaction and increased business placement.

The life insurance industry is undergoing a transformative phase, driven by the demands of the millennial generation. The integration of digital point of sales solutions, non-medical underwriting processes, and AI-driven technologies reflects a broader trend towards convenience, speed, and customer-centricity. As digital agencies continue to emerge and evolve, they are setting new standards in the life insurance market, making the process of buying life insurance more accessible, efficient, and appealing to a generation that values both time and technology. The future of life insurance is digital, and it is unfolding now.

Pioneering Technological Advances In Life Insurance Underwriting

Life insurance underwriting technology has undergone significant transformations in recent years, reshaping the landscape of the insurance industry. This evolution is driven by the integration of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), big data analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT). These innovations are not only enhancing the efficiency and accuracy of underwriting processes but also improving customer experiences and expanding the reach of life insurance products.

Traditionally, life insurance underwriting has been a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. It involved extensive data collection, including medical histories, lifestyle information, and financial backgrounds. Underwriters would manually assess these details to determine the risk profile of applicants and set premium rates. This process could take weeks, sometimes even months, leading to customer dissatisfaction and higher operational costs.

The advent of digital technology has revolutionized this process. AI and ML algorithms are now capable of rapidly analyzing vast amounts of data, including non-traditional sources such as online behavior, wearable device data, and even social media activity. This not only speeds up the underwriting process but also allows for a more nuanced understanding of risk.

Predictive analytics, a key component of modern underwriting technology, uses historical data to predict future outcomes. In life insurance, this means more accurate risk assessments. By analyzing patterns and correlations in large datasets, life carriers can identify risk factors that were previously unnoticed. This leads to more personalized insurance policies, where premiums are more closely aligned with the individual risk of the policyholder.

Automated underwriting systems (AUS) are another breakthrough. These systems use predefined rules and algorithms to evaluate applications. In many cases, they can approve policies instantly without human intervention. This automation not only speeds up the process but also reduces the potential for human error and bias.

The IoT and wearable technology are also playing a growing role in life insurance underwriting. Devices like fitness trackers provide real-time data on an individual’s health and lifestyle. This information can be used to offer more tailored insurance products, such as policies with incentives for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The integration of technology in underwriting has significantly enhanced the customer experience. The process is faster and more convenient, with many life carriers offering instant quotes and online applications. Additionally, the use of data analytics allows for more personalized policies, potentially leading to lower premiums for healthier or lower-risk individuals.

These advancements are not without challenges and ethical considerations. The use of personal data raises privacy concerns. Life carriers must navigate the fine line between leveraging data for better risk assessment and respecting individual privacy rights. Additionally, there are ethical considerations regarding data use and the potential for discrimination based on health or lifestyle data.

Swiss Re “Underwriting Ease”
The Swiss Re team has developed an underwriting visualization platform that will revolutionize the process between brokerage general agencies and carrier underwriters. I met Nanditha Nandy, SVP of Underwriting Solutions of Swiss Re, in 2023 at a LIMRA Conference. She later showed me a demo of Underwriting Ease. I was impressed because it wasn’t an underwriting workbench, yet it was a dashboard that provided all the necessary information to make it easy for an underwriter to make a decision. Dan McKinney, VP of Data Driven Underwriting at Swiss Re shared additional information about the platform. I believe this is a game changer in the industry.

Underwriting Ease enables the digital consumption and visualization of digital health data (DHD), expediting manual underwriting workflows for brokerage agencies and for carriers.

In recent years, the concept of digital health has gained significant momentum. The advent of digital health has allowed healthcare providers to deliver better patient outcomes, improve disease management, and reduce healthcare costs. The introduction of digitally generated health-related data such as medical records, biometric data, and personal health data, has opened up new opportunities across the life insurance industry ecosystem as well.

Data is one of the most valuable assets for the insurance industry. The underwriting process, which is used to assess an individual’s risk profile and determine the premiums they will pay, requires significant volumes of relevant data. Traditionally, BGAs and insurance underwriters used paper-based forms to collect information about their clients’ health history, lifestyle, and other factors. However, today, the advancements in digital technology and the ubiquity of digital health data have paved the way for a streamlined underwriting process, from initial application intake to policy issuance.

Digital health data is increasingly being used by agents and carriers to evaluate a client’s risk profile. However, the process of compiling and analyzing data and subsequently transferring that information can be time-consuming and cumbersome, requiring significant human effort. That is where the integration of digital health data into a visualizing SaaS platform comes into play.

SaaS, or software as a service, is a cloud-based model for delivering software applications over the internet. SaaS platforms can be accessed through a web browser, eliminating the need for locally installed software. The integration of digital health data into a SaaS platform can provide agents and underwriters with a clear and easy-to-understand visualization of a client’s health history and risk profile.

The benefits of integrating digital health data into a visualizing SaaS platform are many. Here are some of the advantages that can be derived for agents and carriers from this integration:

Improved efficiency: Integrating digital health data into the Underwriting Ease platform can significantly reduce the time and effort required to evaluate a client’s risk profile. Agents and underwriters can quickly and easily access relevant health-related data, reducing the need for manual data collection and analysis.

Accurate risk assessment: The use of digital health data ensures that agents and underwriters have access to a rich source of relevant data that can help them make accurate risk assessments. The use of the Underwriting Ease allows underwriters to identify patterns and correlations that might be difficult to detect otherwise, leading to more informed decisions.

Reduced costs: By eliminating the need for manual data entry, analysis, and interpretation, the integration of digital health data into Underwriting Ease can reduce the time and cost associated with finding the applicant the right carrier for their policy.

Enhanced customer experience: The use of Underwriting Ease allows agents to provide a seamless customer experience. Clients can simply provide access to their digital health records, reducing the need for invasive and time-consuming medical exams.

Increased transparency and trust: The use of Underwriting Ease in the underwriting process can increase transparency and trust between agents and carriers. Agents can see the data that underwriters are using to make decisions about their policies, leading to greater confidence in the process.

The integration of digital health data into a visualizing SaaS platform can also offer agents and carriers significant competitive advantages. By streamlining the underwriting process, agents can offer quotes and policies more quickly, improving their ability to attract and retain clients. Additionally, the use of digital health data can help agents and carriers identify potential health risks and offer personalized health and wellness programs to their clients. However, the integration poses a challenge–the development and deployment of robust data analysis and visualization tools. To derive meaningful insights from digital health data, carriers must have the right tools and expertise to analyze data effectively. Carriers that lack sophisticated data analysis capabilities may struggle to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by digital health data.

To address that challenge, Underwriting Ease seamlessly connects via API or embeds into existing underwriting workflows and works with any automated underwriting engine and underwriting manual. It was designed by underwriters, for underwriters, to help the industry to take a technological step forward without radically changing the fundamentals of underwriting. A confluence of the data that matters, delivered in a focused, user-friendly visualizer that has already normalized and simplified the data. It is a single page view of all the available underwriting data disclosed by type and source. Allowing the underwriter to drill into the information needed to assess the risk. Empowering and enabling the agent and underwriters, while delivering cost savings by reducing manual UW efforts by 50 percent.* Additionally, the reduced per case review will help to address any backload of cases that manual underwriting has caused in light of the current industry wide UW shortage.

The integration of digital health data through the Ease platform has the potential to transform the underwriting process for life insurance. By streamlining the process and providing agents and carriers with valuable insights, Underwriting Ease can help life carriers improve risk assessment, reduce costs, and provide a better customer experience.

An industry leader in the underwriting innovation space, Swiss Re and its team of subject-matter experts continue to advance its underwriting capabilities. Through research and analytics, we aim to advance the capabilities of underwriting shops with speed and increased cost efficiencies. Swiss Re can help carriers and clients in developing and implementing these capabilities. Learn more about Swiss Re Underwriting Ease by visiting https://www.swissre.com/reinsurance/life-and-health/solutions/underwriting-ease.html.

Life insurance underwriting technology is at a pivotal point. The integration of AI, ML, big data, and IoT is transforming the industry, making underwriting more efficient, accurate, and customer friendly. As the technology continues to evolve, it promises to further refine risk assessment and policy customization, benefiting life carriers, policyholders, and insurance advisors.

AI Dominates Discussions At Major Industry Conferences

I typically attend 15 to 20 industry conferences annually, spanning two main sectors: Insurance and Technology. The stretch from October to early November this year was a grueling conference schedule. My journey began in Tampa, FL, at the Life Insurance Direct Marketing Association (LIDMA) fall conference and business showcase. From there, I traveled to Portland, ME, for the International DI Society (IDIS) Annual Conference, followed by the LIMRA Annual Conference in National Harbor, MD.

During this time, there were other overlapping industry events that I couldn’t attend. However, as October transitioned into November, I was committed to participating in both Insuretech Connect (ITC) in Las Vegas and the NAILBA/Finseca Conference in Florida. To manage this I had team members present at both locations and I personally attended portions of each conference, taking a redeye flight from Las Vegas to Florida to make it possible.

A striking commonality across these conferences was the focus on AI technology. Whether it was a major topic in a session, a highlighted feature of an exhibitor’s platform, or a subject touched upon by nearly every speaker and panelist, AI’s presence was unmistakably pervasive and central to the discussions at these events.

LIDMA Business Showcase
I have attended LIDMA conferences since the time I worked at Genworth going back to 2011. It’s been one of my favorite conferences because of the format, locations, and the attendees. At the LIDMA conference this year, several pivotal sessions highlighted the role of AI in the industry. These included:

  1. The Future of Marketing: Harnessing AI and Digital Strategies in Life Insurance—This session focused on integrating AI with digital marketing tactics specifically tailored for the life insurance sector.
  2. Navigating AI Regulation and Risk Management: Essential Updates and Strategies—This discussion centered on the latest developments in AI regulation, addressing how these changes impact businesses. It also covered strategies for mitigating risks related to regulation, litigation, and reputation.
  3. The Evolution of Automated Underwriting: A Look from Past to Future—This session provided an insightful journey through the history, current state, and future prospects of automated underwriting in the industry which included AI.

LIMRA Annual Conference
The LIMRA Annual Conference saw an impressive gathering of industry leaders, offering excellent opportunities for networking, and featured 22 sessions encompassing all the critical topics in the life and annuity sector. Notably, seven of these sessions at the conference were specifically centered around Artificial Intelligence. Below are four of the seven AI sessions that had some very game changing information:

The Modernization Journey—Investigating Technology Investments for a Competitive Edge:
LIMRA and EY recently partnered to explore technology investments and future priorities of life insurance companies aiming to achieve competitive advantages. Join this session to gain valuable insights into the modernization journey of life and annuity carriers. We will explore the key challenges and complexities faced by these carriers in areas such as product development, marketing, sales tools and illustrations, underwriting, and claims. Furthermore, we will explore their current and future technology investments including advanced analytics, digital customer experience, core legacy systems, blockchain, and AI—and how they can provide a competitive edge.

Step Into The Future Harnessing the Potential of AI:
Experience the excitement surrounding Generative AI and ChatGPT in reshaping the industry landscape. Explore the rapid growth and limitless potential of these ever-evolving technologies, while tackling the challenges of legacy infrastructure. Hear from a panel of experts with diverse perspectives on navigating this intersection of innovation and practicality. Don’t miss this opportunity to expand your knowledge on this extraordinary topic and stay ahead of the curve.

A Canadian Perspective—Driving Growth in a Changing World:
As our industry continues to evolve, consumer expectations and economic conditions are shaping how business leaders are making key business decisions to fuel growth. Join us for an in-depth panel discussion of industry leaders and executives to learn about how technology, innovation, regulation, and other factors are impacting and reshaping the marketplace.

A Human Industry in an AI World:
The world is on the precipice of an AI revolution, a seminal technology moment the likes of which we have never experienced. AI brings with it the limitless possibilities to fundamentally reshape our industry across the entire value chain. Are we equipped to mitigate the risks? Are we able to capitalize on the opportunities? How can machines actually help us focus on the Human Factor within our industry? Join us as we delve into the role of artificial intelligence to learn more about the associated risks and opportunities that will shape the industry’s future.

(IDIS) International DI Society Annual Conference
The one conference that did not center its topics on AI was the IDIS conference. Instead, it offered a variety of sessions with different focuses. Key highlights included: Claims Stories: This session brought together experts to share insightful narratives and experiences related to disability insurance claims. Expert Insights on DI Sales: This presentation provided valuable strategies and tips from seasoned professionals in the field of disability insurance sales. The Current Landscape of the Disability Insurance Industry: A comprehensive presentation that offered an array of compelling statistics and insights into the state of the disability insurance sector. Motivational Speaking: The conference featured an inspiring motivational speaker, adding a dynamic and uplifting element to the event. The Magic of Behavioral Finance by Theron Schaub: This session stood out as particularly engaging. It uniquely combined entertainment—with actual magic and hypnosis—and practical applications of behavioral finance in business, making it a memorable and informative experience for attendees. Yes, this event was much more insurance focused than technology.

NAILBA Annual Conference
NAILBA/Finseca is one of the year-end industry conferences everyone looks forward to including me. It was a great event again this year. At the NAILBA Annual Conference, a notable breakout session titled Generative AI: What it is and what it means for the insurance industry was presented by Roy Goodart, VP of Product Management at iPipeline. This session delved into the intricacies of generative AI and its implications for the insurance sector.

Additionally, the conference featured a prominent panel discussion on the main stage, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Life Insurance: The practical, the problematic, and the potential. This panel brought together a formidable group of industry leaders, moderated by James Wong, EVP of Partners Advantage. The panelists included Mark Holweger, president and CEO of Legal and General America; Michelle Dauphinais, VP, Head of Distribution at John Hancock Insurance Company; Harsh Singla, CTO of Integrity Marketing Group; Amanda Soho, CTO of Proformex; and Chris Orestis, president of Retirement Genius. They explored various facets of AI in life insurance, from practical applications to potential challenges and future possibilities.

The influence of AI was also evident among the technology exhibitors at the conference. Many showcased how AI is integrated into their platforms, demonstrating its growing significance in the industry. My company, InsurTech Express, was also present with a booth at NAILBA. We engaged in discussions about insurtech solutions incorporating AI for life insurance, highlighting our commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements in the sector. I felt it to be necessary to highlight how AI was a key component in some software solutions because it’s the hot topic of the moment.

Insuretech Connect (ITC)
The largest global insurtech conference of over 9,000 attendees gather every year in Las Vegas. This conference is very for heavy P&C insurance. The day before the conference there are kick-off summits that focus on life insurance: Sureify’s Life Insurance & Annuity Ecosystem Summit and Equisoft’s Life Insurance Lab. Yes, AI was discussed at these kick-off summits.

ITC had a Masterclass: A Deeper Dive into Generative AI for Insurance. Some of the key sessions were focused on AI, like: Preparing for the Data Evolution: Organizational Readiness to Maximize Analytics and AI Investments. Data and analytics offers great opportunities for insurance, but most insurers are still building out a foundation that’s needed to optimize these investments. This is challenging in light of economic pressures, talent shortages, new hype around emerging technologies such as Generative AI, and difficulty in measuring business impact. The fireside chat discussed trends and opportunities around the use of analytics and AI in the industry. These contributors were Mano Mannoochahr, chief Data and Analytics Officer at Travelers, and Kimberly Harris-Ferrante, vice president and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner.

Embedded Insurance of the Future: Turning Lessons Learned into New Innovations presented by Milliman was another AI session at ITC. What will embedded insurance look like over the next two decades? With huge technological advancements from Generative AI and LLMs to self-driving vehicles and smart cities—front-end insurance quoting and underwriting have been automated, further enabling the sale of embedded products and services across industries. The session demonstrated how we can apply lessons from the past to innovations of the future, with personalized pre-fill data, tech, and AI to seamlessly provide insurance.

Considering the hundreds of tech exhibitors at ITC, it’s no surprise that a significant number showcased AI technology integrated into their insurtech solutions. The reality is that AI is now a ubiquitous topic, discussed in contexts ranging from personal to business realms, far beyond just the insurance industry. It’s becoming increasingly clear that AI is set to revolutionize the world as we know it. Yes, this last paragraph was rewritten by ChatGPT…

The Puzzle Pieces To Efficiency

In the dynamic world of life insurance, staying ahead of the curve is paramount. Life insurance distribution processing has evolved significantly in recent years, thanks to the fusion of agency management systems, human capital, and data. This harmonious blend of technological innovation and human expertise has unlocked new avenues for efficiency and customer-centricity in the insurance industry.

Agency management systems are the linchpin of modern life insurance distribution. They provide BGAs with a centralized hub to manage their operations, streamline processes, and optimize agent interactions. These systems not only reduce administrative overhead but also empower agents with real-time information, enabling them to make informed decisions and offer better service.

The integration of agency management systems into the distribution process has revolutionized policy issuance, underwriting, and claims processing. BGAs can efficiently track policy applications, generate quotes, and manage compliance. This streamlining of operations is a win-win, as it saves time for both agents and clients, ensuring a smoother and faster customer experience.

While technology is essential, the human touch remains irreplaceable in the insurance industry. Human capital, in the form of skilled agents and underwriters, plays a pivotal role in life insurance distribution processing. Agents build trust, guide customers through complex policies, and provide personalized solutions to meet individual needs.

Investing in human capital development, training, and retention is crucial. BGAs need to adapt to the evolving landscape of insurance products and regulations continually. Equipped with agency management systems and data analytics tools, agencies become more efficient and capable of delivering a seamless experience, ultimately enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Data is the lifeblood of the modern insurance industry. The fusion of data analytics and agency management systems empowers insurers with actionable insights. Advanced analytics can identify trends, assess risk, and tailor policies to meet specific customer needs. It can also predict future market conditions and customer preferences, enabling proactive adjustments to product offerings and distribution strategies.

Moreover, data-driven underwriting allows carriers to assess risk more accurately and make quicker decisions. This not only benefits the insurer by mitigating risks but also benefits the customer by potentially lowering premiums for those who pose lower risks.

The synergy between agency management systems, human capital, and data creates a dynamic ecosystem that is greater than the sum of its parts. When these puzzle pieces come together, BGAs can deliver a seamless, customer-centric experience. Agents armed with cutting-edge technology and data insights can provide tailored solutions, improving client relationships and driving business growth. These tools are provided by the BGAs to their agents through their website agent portals.

Life insurance distribution processing has been transformed through the fusion of agency management systems, human capital, and data. This synergy empowers carriers to enhance efficiency, engage customers on a deeper level, and make informed decisions. As the insurance
landscape continues to evolve, embracing this fusion is not just an option but a necessity for staying competitive and meeting the evolving needs of insurance advisors.

Supporting BGAs with Technology and Outsourcing Staff
We all wondered what the new norm was going to be post pandemic. There are organizations who went back to office, others have taken a hybrid approach, and some have gone completely remote. This newfound freedom of choice has more and more individuals looking for new opportunities in search of the company culture that best matches their needs. Staffing shortages have hit many and attracting new staff or supporting the great people you have has been a challenge. How do you continue to maintain let alone elevate the level of service that attracts new and maintains your current customers? I have been working with eNoah iSolutions for several years. What makes them different is that they are not just a business processing outsourcing service, but infusing technology to automate the distribution process for life insurance. I reached out to Stacey Paulson, director of Insurance Services at eNoah. “At eNoah, we understand the uniqueness from firm to firm and do not take a ‘this is how we do business’ approach, but rather learn what your culture is and how we can best support you. Your dedicated eNoah team member becomes an extension to your team to help support and allow them to spend time on what matters most for your organization. There is no one size fits all. That is the beauty of the brokerage world. Each organization has their own culture they developed to support their customer base.”

They are seeing new firms/agencies rise and as they grow are working on how to create internal efficiencies. Whether you are starting new or have an experienced agency, it’s hard to focus on the change that is needed and still handle the day to day. eNoah helps during these times of growth or restructure. Whether it be simplistic data entry into your AMS system to commission reconciliation on the backend and everything in the middle. They are there to support you as you grow.

IT resources are in short supply, especially those that understand the needs of the insurance industry. If you are fortunate to find a resource, it’s costly. You don’t have to wait to bring your website or tools to the next level. eNoah has over 550 IT engineers who can help with Application Development, Cloud Services, Testing and Database Support. Visit eNoah iSolutions.

Data Drives the Process
Carriers and distributors face many of the same challenges today. How to streamline and simplify the insurance buying process to create a better customer experience. If successful, this will lead to better placement rates, reduced acquisition costs, and more smiles on more faces. How can this be accomplished? To begin, understand that data drives the process. By knowing the prospective customer as early as possible in the process, we can better understand what is the best solution for that individual. It starts with their goals and then it is up to the agents, advisors, and carriers to help determine what is best suited for them. Analyzing that data and moving it forward in a seamless fashion not only helps the process move more efficiently, but ultimately leads to the right product and the right carrier being chosen for the prospective client. It also may lead to a separate conversation about additional products or services that could be of value. At Paperless Solutions Group (PSG), an MIB business, they realize that purchasers of products, those who distribute them, and those that manufacture them all need to work together. That is why PSG looks at the process from a holistic perspective and makes sure that their solutions are customized for each specific situation. If the suit doesn’t fit, you probably should not buy it. While an “out of the box” solution may be an easy decision, is it the right decision for you and your client?

All this being said, obtaining accurate data and moving it along the sales cycle will lead to a more efficient process for all organizations involved in the process. Reduction in cost and greater efficiency is what we all aim for. API’s are a must in order to do this as you may need to “bolt” solutions into an existing architecture if it will allow. To protect more families, we must play nice in the sandbox with each other to meet that ultimate goal. See the end-to-end life insurance process at Paperless Solutions Group.

Advanced Markets Life Sales: Harnessing The Power Of Technology Tools

When we utilize life insurance in more advanced market scenarios, we find that the financial planning capabilities provided by brokerage general agencies (BGAs) are somewhat limited. Software solutions commonly used by financial planners, such as MoneyGuide Pro, EasyMoney, and NaviPlan, for instance, offer only minimal support for integrating life insurance into their planning processes. This highlights a significant disparity in the tools available to life insurance agents compared to those provided by BGAs. Below are two examples of closing the gap.

Market Technology
I reached out to Ian Ryan, brokerage director at BackNine Insurance and Financial Services who explained how their digital platform solutions for agents is not just for selling simplified term insurance products. BackNine’s strategic expansion into partnerships with like-minded companies dedicated to automation and technology in the advanced life insurance markets marks a significant milestone in the industry’s evolution. Their Advance Markets department now supports premium-financed life insurance designs on automated quoting and submission platforms while ensuring that these solutions adhere to conservative constraints and meet the due diligence standards upheld by financial services firms nationwide.

In the realm of financial services, the concept of premium financing has long been a cornerstone of strategic planning, primarily adopted by individuals entrenched in the life insurance industry. With a focus on nationwide marketing and life insurance products, these professionals understand the nuances of ensuring a secure financial future. Financed life insurance plans are divided into two sub-categories: Traditional and bank leveraged arrangements, each deserving recognition for their unique attributes. Both options have their merits, catering to diverse preferences and needs, offering policyholders distinct advantages.

Traditional premium-financed plans are renowned for their intricacy, requiring ongoing management and a policy owner with financial sophistication. Therefore, BackNine restricts these services to agents whose clients possess a minimum net worth of $15 million and a suitable profile for long term planning. Beyond suitability screening and case design, they partner their agents with established lending brokers, handling substantial premium loans, to provide clients with a reliable path forward.

The premium lenders they recommend go beyond the conventional role of a bank, by harnessing a rich pool of resources, tapping into multiple capital avenues, and crafting solutions exclusively designed for the life insurance sector. This involves leveraging not just banking resources but also integrating proprietary capital markets to serve the distinctive financial demands of affluent individuals. These institutions work to facilitate financing solutions not just for newly minted life policies but also for existing ones, ensuring a broad spectrum of clients can benefit from their expertise.

In the world of premium financing, bank-leveraged planning stands out for its ability to reduce risk in premium financing arrangements. This reduction encompasses several key elements: No loan underwriting, no financial credit checks, no loan documents, no interest payments, and no personal guarantees.

While traditional premium financing typically caters to the affluent and high-net-worth, Back Nine’s program takes a more inclusive approach. They achieve this by leveraging a streamlined process, powered by the same seamless technology featured in their Quote & Apply™ software, to reach individuals earning annual incomes of $200,000 or more across all 50 U.S. states. This effort underscores BackNine’s commitment to make premium-financed life insurance accessible to a broader audience and empowering more life insurance agents to better serve their clients.

For agents that find themselves with clients in the upper echelons of income earners making $200,000 and up, those clients’ lives might seem more comfortable than for most. However, this higher income often comes with its own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to saving for a secure retirement. Depending on who you ask, 40 to 60 percent of working Americans have not saved enough for their future retirement. Most financial planners are suggesting clients put aside 10 to 20 percent of their pre-tax income to achieve a comfortable retirement. BackNine recognizes these challenges and offers tailored solutions, including leveraged life insurance planning, that have the potential to significantly enhance supplemental retirement planning for licensed life insurance agents.

One often overlooked advantage of premium-financed life insurance is its capacity to empower you as an advisor to educate your clients on using pre-tax dollars (via premium loans) to further enhance their supplemental retirement planning. These plans undergo meticulous design and rigorous stress testing, all with the anticipation that those pre-tax dollar premium loans will be repaid from the policy cash values. As a result, your clients may have the potential to access 60 to 100 times more in living and death benefits. This balanced approach emphasizes both growth and protection, ensuring that clients have a spectrum of options at their disposal. This not only provides financial security but also the flexibility to customize their supplemental retirement plan to align with their unique needs.

For agencies and agents seeking a streamlined and tech-savvy approach to life insurance marketing, BackNine Insurance & Financial Services, Inc., offers a comprehensive suite of tools and services tailored to the modern digital landscape. For more information on these solutions or to learn more about BackNine and how to get started, visit https://www.back9ins.com.

Testing IUL and VUL Policy Illustrations
IUL and VUL policy illustrations have a credibility problem—but these illustrations have been the only “tool” available for agents to demonstrate the expected future performance.

IUL policy illustrations are calculated using an AG49B specified maximum crediting rate—and it’s used as a constant for many decades in the future. However, the “market” underlying the Index will fluctuate every year—and in the real world—will produce a range of policy credits subject to the non-guaranteed cap and participation rates and the floor rates!

Similarly, VUL policy illustrations allow a specified (gross) crediting rate as high as 12 percent—and again, use that rate as a constant for the entire duration of the illustration. Here the market isn’t constrained—the S&P500™, for example, has been as high as +34 percent (1995) and as low as -38 percent (2008)!

There hasn’t been a reliable way to test illustrations subject to these kinds of volatility and non-guaranteed elements—until now. Agents and policy owners can gain important insights from a newly introduced service, called Life Insurance Sustainability Analytics (LISA), which provides a more realistic view of the long term life insurance policy’s performance.

The answer for agents: How “sensitive” is the policy performance to premium and living benefit amounts and changes to the non-guaranteed parameters, in the context of underlying volatility, is a question that can now be answered. This is a critical component of the sales process and agents can use these insights to adjust illustration designs, making the sale with more confidence and less risk to the client and to their practice.

The answer for clients: Clients form their expectations around policy illustrations, but the illustrations cannot provide a realistic view of what is likely to happen. That’s true when you calculate a premium based on the assumed crediting rate, as well as for the projected retirement cash flow of an illustration attempting to show, “How much can I take out of the policy for retirement?”

Let’s say you’ve run a death benefit-oriented IUL policy illustration using a calculated premium based on the maximum AG49B crediting rate of the chosen index—is it a problem if the volatility assessment comes up with only a 62 percent likelihood the policy will sustain to at least age 100? If that’s an issue you can use LISA to re-design the premium to meet the client’s probability objective. It is an excellent way to reinforce that you provide solutions in your client’s best interest.

If the sale involves a retirement income oriented IUL policy illustration, using the maximum non-MEC premium, and solved for the largest policy loans (income) based on the maximum AG49B crediting rate of the chosen index—is it a problem if the volatility assessment comes up with only a 55 percent likelihood the policy will sustain to at least age 100? If that’s an issue—you can recalculate the future retirement income to meet the client’s probability objective.
These are simple solutions that demonstrate to your clients that you are dedicated to their long term success. You can uncover and fix these problems and avoid disappointed clients! Test the illustration to find the likelihood of success—while modifying premium amounts and/or policy withdrawal/loans—that fits the client’s risk tolerance.

If you would like to see a demo of Life Insurance Sustainability Analytics (LISA) and also get a free trial then visit https://lifeinsuranceanalytics.com.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The New Era Of BGA Commission Accounting

For decades BGAs have adhered to a traditional approach when it comes to commission accounting. They have relied on their Agency Management Systems to manage commissions, sourcing commission data feeds from certain carriers and manually visiting carrier websites for additional commission statements. Despite potential outsourcing of some tasks, the technological method has remained largely unchanged—until now. Within this article, you will be introduced to two solution providers who have crafted technologies designed to automate many of the current manual processes involved in commission processing for insurance distributors. By the conclusion of the article, you will also gain insight into an upcoming innovation poised to disrupt and revolutionize BGA commission accounting practices.

Processing your Commissions Outside of your AMS
In the ever-evolving world of insurance, commission accounting is a cornerstone of success for agencies and financial advisors. Embracing innovation is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity for staying ahead in a competitive landscape. At the forefront of this transformation are InsurTech companies like GreenWave, that redefines commission accounting with its forward-thinking approach.

Breaking free from traditional Agency Management Systems (AMS), GreenWave liberates insurance professionals from dependencies and associated risks. Commissions are safeguarded in a separate, secure system, empowering advisors to operate with confidence knowing their
earnings are protected. Relying solely on AMS can introduce risks associated with commission tracking. Discrepancies, manual errors, and lack of real-time data can lead to financial inconsistencies and trust issues between BGAs and their partners.

Leveraging the power of automation, GreenWave unlocks a new era of data collection. Gone are the days of manual struggles. Through advanced technology, agents access real-time data from manual sources effortlessly. This data-driven approach empowers them with comprehensive insights for informed decision making, driving success for their clients and themselves.

One of the key advantages lies in its seamless outsourcing services. Commission reconciliation becomes a breeze, freeing up valuable time that can be used to focus on nurturing client relationships and growing their businesses. When choosing an outsourced partner it is always vital to understand the capabilities of people, process and technology. By partnering with companies like GreenWave who have enterprise software, dedicated commission experts and world class technology the decision becomes simple.

Complementing their innovative services is the industry’s leading book by CEO Slava Isayev—Commissions Management Secrets. A valuable resource for industry professionals seeking to optimize their commission strategies, Slava’s insights provide invaluable knowledge for navigating the dynamic landscape of commission accounting helping clients achieve their goals. However, GreenWave’s vision extends beyond the present. It pioneers the future with its embrace of blockchain technology. By leveraging this decentralized ledger system, GreenWave and others will enhance commission transparency, trust, and speed of processing in the insurance industry. Such forward-thinking ensures that their clients are prepared for the digital transformation of tomorrow. GreenWave is committed to revolutionizing commission accounting. As they lead the charge into a new era, GreenWave’s services transcend the ordinary and set them apart as pioneers in the field.

With a dedication to a future-oriented mindset and a focus on client success, GreenWave pioneers the path for commission accounting’s evolution. As the insurance industry navigates unprecedented changes GreenWave is the guiding force, propelling their clients towards a secure and prosperous future. By embracing innovation, automating data collection, and empowering advisors, GreenWave leaves an indelible mark on the commission accounting landscape. Clients, partners, and industry professionals alike are eager to explore the possibilities that GreenWave’s vision offers.

With the dynamic insurance landscape and InsurTech constantly evolving, GreenWave’s commitment to staying at the forefront of technology and industry trends ensures their clients always receive the best service possible. In embracing the new era of commission accounting, GreenWave sets a benchmark for the industry. Their vision for a more efficient, secure, and prosperous future for insurance professionals is truly transformative. With each innovative step they take, GreenWave reinforces their position as leaders, trailblazers, and partners in their clients’ success.

To get a copy of Commission Management Secrets or learn more about how you can benefit from a new approach to commission accounting, visit https://greenwavecommisions.com or purchase the book on Amazon.

New Method of Getting your Commission Data
PaperClip this year launched Mojo for Commissions. Known for their document management and document exchange technology used by life BGAs, PaperClip has made significant traction in the industry with their Mojo product. Mojo is an innovative platform that turns documents into data using machine learning and crowdsourcing.

For years, the consolidation of commission reports across product companies has been a laborious process lending itself to human error. Commission statements are unstructured reports, variable in nature, with different presentations and nomenclatures across manufacturers and products. Populating commission databases is labor intensive, requires training personnel for data entry, is subject to human errors, and lacks scalability requiring higher human capital costs. This results in delayed reporting and payout of commissions.

Example: An organization processes on average 725 commission statements per month for 45,000 transactions. Each commission statement is manually downloaded from their respective sources. Using three FTEs, the entire process takes 104 days to achieve reporting and pay out. Estimate $40K ($16/hr.) cost in labor.

PaperClip’s Mojo takes their proven “straight-through process” model to a new level of automation and accuracy for unstructured documents. With Mojo you can onboard commission statements seamlessly, eliminating the need for facilities, human resources, security, training, and more. Estimate—$8K Mojo cost for the same volume. Mojo offers an 80 percent cost saving and a 95 percent reduction in time to process (minutes not days), and near real time flow of commission data ready to report and pay out.

The Result

  • Mojo saves valuable resources by capturing data across disparate commission statements and normalizing it into a single format for ingestion.
  • Organizations avoid typing, indexing, and human errors in favor of having Mojo automatically file both data and images into the Paperclip Virtual Client Folder document management system.
  • Mojo processes commission statements near real-time giving a higher level of service to your producers.
  • Mojo’s machine learning technology digitizes, transcribes, and interprets data fields supported by human verification to achieve true accuracy.
  • Mojo offers the Zero Trust Architecture highest level of data security with SAFE, beyond encryption.

Agencies who have used Mojo for commissions have had great success in saving time and money. An example of what an agency said (summarized): “The biggest benefit for us is that this process cuts some of the time we spend manipulating the csv/pdf that is provided to us by the carrier. All statements from the carriers need to be in a similar format so we can import it into our AMS so this is a big help.” Visit PaperClip.com for more information on Mojo for Commissions.

The Future of Commission Accounting Creating a New Ecosystem
The biggest issue with commission accounting for insurance carriers, distributors and advisors today is that the ecosystem is broken specifically in the independent brokerage space. Let’s start at the beginning of the process which is to contract agencies and agents. This is mostly a paper process with no workflow or rules. Building hierarchies and assigning commission levels has no approval or validation process today. If you walk back a step further, both carriers and distributors need to build these commission schedules into their commission systems. Carriers need commission schedules to pay commissions and distributors need commission schedules for commission reconciliation to verify they got paid correctly. If the average life BGA works with 30 carriers, and an average of 10 products per carrier, working with about four hierarchy levels per carrier equates to a lot of data that needs to be input and maintained to keep these commission schedules up-to-date. If the carriers and the BGAs both need to create these schedules into their respective systems, that looks like a lot of redundancy.

The second problem is validating the commission data. A carrier sends commission statements in multiple formats either directly to the AMS vendors (in multiple formats like an ACORD 1206 transaction or CSV), to their websites or in a PDF document. It’s like the Wild West, there are no controls or validation processes. This results in mistrust between the carrier and their distributors.

The solution is building an ecosystem that uses Blockchain technology and SmartContracts: For reduced cost and speed-to-market a private Blockchain should be built on existing technology such as IBM. Executing SmartContracts, commission statements, commission detailed transactions, and payment information will be the workflow on the Blockchain. The Blockchain nodes would be modeled in groups such as carriers, distributors, and groups of advisors. SmartContracts with commission schedules for carriers to run micro services to validate commission payments, and distributors to do commission reconciliation. The SmartContracts which is programming code that has rules for hierarchies, onboarding agents, will have an approval process. These SmartContracts will be reusable templates. The process will have the ability to attach and send contract documents. A Blockchain Viewer will include features such as viewing agency/agent contracts, commission schedules, hierarchies, commission statements, commission transactions, reporting, and accounting functionality. Commission data will be validated before it is put on the Blockchain. The data is very secure with specific permissions of what data the user can access.

All vendors, carriers, distributors, and advisors will benefit and participate on the Insurance Commission Blockchain. This has been a pet peeve of mine for many years. This is why I have designed this solution at InsurTech Express calling it the “IE Commission Blockchain for Insurance.” We are seeking funding to build out this new ecosystem for commission accounting. Learn more by visiting InsurTechExpress.com.