Thursday, December 7, 2023
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Ken Leibow

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:

Beware Of Cybersecurity Risks And How To Implement Regulatory Compliant Solutions

Protecting your data, implementing cybersecurity and preventing attackers who commit fraud is essential to staying in business. There are stricter security compliance requirements needed to be implemented this year in the financial and insurance industry. In this article, you will learn about the seriousness of the vulnerability of your business and necessary security solutions.

Preventing Fraud Attacks
According to the 2022 LexisNexis Global State of Fraud and Identity report, fraud attacks are following the growth of the digital economy in almost lock step, with fraudsters seeking out new vulnerabilities to exploit. Some notable learnings from the report include:

  • One in every 12 account creations represents an attack.
  • Although bot attack volume increased across all touchpoints of the customer journey, there has been a massive 247 percent increase in automated attacks focused on password resets.
  • Organizations that cannot link consumers across the dimensions of physical, digital and behavioral identity will find it more difficult to thwart synthetic and stolen identity fraud on a global scale. In one example cited, LexisNexis Risk Solutions identified a fraud ring leveraging 63 unique phone numbers and physical locations tied back to seven IP addresses and one email.
  • Social engineering attacks are among the fastest growing cybersecurity threats in both developed and emerging markets. Conventional fraud controls that use IP addresses, device and network attributes are less effective on their own to thwart these scams. Adding multiple prevention tactics, such as behavioral biometrics layered with device and digital identity data elements, offers a stronger defense against fraud.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions has made substantial investments in bringing together a world-class fraud and identity platform, including an award winning ThreatMetrix repository of global digital transaction intelligence that provides insights on more than 1.4 billion unique digital identities. Their new Emailage for Insurance solution uses email intelligence as a core risk identifier and provides a holistic email risk score and confidence analysis during various stages of the insurance policy lifecycle.

It’s clear that fraud is here to stay, and as the digital landscape continues to evolve, so will bad actors’ tactics. At LexisNexis Risk Solutions, they believe that a shared intelligence network that uses contextualized data linking insights from digital, physical and behavioral elements and shared risk events across the community is a powerful tool for preventing fraud.
Organizations that avail themselves of the latest technologies and stay on top of emerging trends will be best positioned to fight fraud now and in the future. Adopting solutions that are flexible, scalable and adaptable should help insurers stay ahead of ever-changing fraud vectors. Implemented correctly, these solutions can also be used to enrich customer experience and satisfaction, ultimately driving top line revenue.

Data Security and eSignature Compliance
Paperclip Inc., as provider of innovative solutions to the broker community, recognizes that there is a large gap between meeting cybersecurity compliance and true cybersecurity. Compliance consists of recommendations and mandates around best practices. It’s impossible for compliance bodies to account for the intricate nuances of each business operation. The goal of compliance is to guide an organization to implementing solid, measurable foundations. Like a house, you don’t stop building once the foundation is poured.

When we asked Mike Bridges, president and COO of Paperclip, “How would you explain Paperclip’s position on compliance vs. security?” he explained: “Paperclip is a lot like the companies we service. We have core compliance requirements for securing the terabytes of critical data and documents we manage. A little over six years ago, Paperclip found that the compliance requirements around encryption just weren’t enough. We saw how too many companies with minimal (compliance) required encryption at rest and in transit protection were suffering large, sometimes catastrophic data theft and ransomware attacks. Like those companies, we checked all the compliance checkboxes. We had to do more to secure the high-value, critical data. We had to make sure searchable data always remained encrypted.”

Mike continued, “This led to the creation of our Paperclip SAFE® encryption-in-use solution. SAFE was initially designed to provide a higher level of security for our internal clients. Understanding that Paperclip wasn’t unique and other companies were faced with the same challenge, we released Paperclip SAFE® to the commercial market. We have a similar story behind our new eM4® Proof of Agreement solution. In short, our clients asked for a better, more cost-effective e-signature solution they could use across a larger array of critical assets that require proof of agreement and tracking.”

Paperclip is now heavily focused on the growth of compliance controls around Privacy and Zero Trust. Many companies look at these changing compliance requirements as standalone concerns. That’s the way most of the compliance documentation is written. In reality, you can’t have Privacy or Zero Trust if you can’t secure the most sensitive data. “Paperclip has deliberately built Paperclip SAFE® and eM4® to align with both compliance requirements and robust Privacy and Zero Trust programs as well,” concludes Bridges. To learn more about SAFE, visit

Regulatory Requirements for a Cybersecurity Program in Financial Services
Cybersecurity is of critical importance in the financial services industry due to the sensitive nature of the data being handled and the regulations that the industry is subject to. Financial institutions are entrusted with their customers’ personal and financial information, and a breach of that information could lead to severe consequences for the institution and the individuals affected

Regulatory bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) have established strict guidelines and requirements for cybersecurity in the financial sector to protect consumers and ensure the integrity of the financial system.

All regulations require financial institutions under their jurisdiction to implement a cybersecurity program that includes safeguards, vendor due diligence, risk assessments, employee training, and incident response plans. Most regulations also require annual certification of the cybersecurity program by a senior officer and the completion of regular penetration testing and vulnerability assessments.

The SEC has also issued guidance on cybersecurity for public companies, stating that they must disclose material cybersecurity risks and incidents in their financial filings. This is important as it ensures that investors have the necessary information to make informed decisions about the companies they invest in.

FINRA has issued similar guidance for broker-dealers and investment firms, stating that they must have policies and procedures to protect customer information and prevent, detect, and respond to cyber threats. This includes implementing safeguards such as endpoint protection, firewalls, secure passwords, and regular system updates.

In addition to meeting regulatory requirements, having a solid cybersecurity program is vital for financial institutions to maintain the trust of their customers. A breach of customer information could lead to loss of business and damage to a company’s reputation which can be challenging to recover from. Overall, having a cybersecurity program in the financial services industry cannot be overstated. It is essential for meeting regulatory requirements, protecting sensitive customer information, and maintaining customer confidence. Financial institutions must prioritize cybersecurity to ensure the security and stability of the financial system.
FCI’s cyber experts can provide a free audit of your network. Another area critical to your agency is endpoint security. Most advisors are connecting to your agency/firm site using their mobile devices, which exposes risk to personal information data. You can learn more by visiting

Technology Impacting Insurance Sales Through AI Leads, Digital Sales STP, And Illustration Workflow

What’s the latest innovation in technology for insurance sales? Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used for lead generation, lead follow-up, strategic marketing, customer retention, and client support. Leveraging AI gives you more control over the sales cycle, helping clients identify hot leads earlier and faster. Artificial intelligence is quickly becoming the most sought-after technology solutions for businesses in every industry. AI can help automate several aspects of your business, freeing up more time and resources for you to focus on revenue generation. I met with Brett Barker, chief sales officer of ATS Global. The conversational AI offered by ATS Global has been helping companies unlock hidden opportunities for businesses for more than 15 years. Let’s look at what this unique technology can do and why it’s worth considering for your business.

What is Conversational AI?
Conversational AI refers to an artificial intelligence system that can understand and respond to natural language input. This type of AI is used by businesses across industries to automate customer service responses, facilitate marketing campaigns, and assist in sales prospecting. By leveraging a powerful conversational AI platform, companies can free up their employees’ time so they can focus on higher-value tasks like revenue generation instead of mundane daily activities like data entry or customer support inquiries.

The Benefits of Conversational AI
By implementing a quality Conversational AI system, businesses can achieve greater efficiency in their day-to-day operations while also creating more meaningful connections with customers. This type of technology enables companies to process orders quickly and accurately without human intervention, identify trends faster so they can improve customer service, and even anticipate customer needs before they arise—all without sacrificing the personal touch that customers expect from businesses today. Additionally, using a conversational AI system helps reduce overhead costs associated with traditional customer service teams as well as eliminates errors due to manual data entry or miscommunication between teams.

Moreover, a quality conversational AI platform, offered by ATS Global, provides deep insights into customer behaviors so companies can better identify key opportunities and craft targeted strategies that will drive growth and maximize ROI. In fact, many companies are seeing over 20 times ROI after implementing their AI assistants. Through its advanced analytics capabilities, ATS Global’s solutions provide actionable insights so businesses can make better decisions faster than ever before.

In short, investing in a powerful conversational AI platform is essential for any business looking to stay competitive in today’s market. With ATS Global’s solutions, you can create efficiencies within your team while also creating meaningful relationships with customers through personalized interactions powered by artificial intelligence. Unlock the potential of Conversational AI and start driving more revenue today! Learn more about ATS Global at

Covr’s Digital Sales Platform a Complete Straight-Through-Process
Coming soon from Covr Financial Technologies is the official launch of Advisor 3.0, the latest version of the insurtech’s flagship technology product. Covr Advisor 3.0 provides a digital omni-channel, multi-carrier, multi-product, complete transaction management and service platform to advisors at their partner firms.

“We are very proud of the new and enhanced capabilities in our Advisor 3.0 platform,” said Ron Alexander, president and head of innovation. “Covr is constantly striving to grow and exceed our partners’ needs, and this latest version of our signature platform is the latest example of those efforts.

Features include embedded tools and journeys such as multi-product needs analysis, redesigned quoting tools and estimators for term, permanent and asset-based long term care, and new illustration management. Advisors on this platform have access to a full policy review journey, and expanded multi-carrier accelerated underwriting. Advisor 3.0 also launches new digital informal case submission, and improvements to licensing and appointment management.

In addition, the product offers 100 percent drop ticket for more than 30 carriers and 600 products. Digital application fulfillment and e-delivery and signature streamline the process for advisors and clients alike. Improved case status delivery on and off platform lets advisors easily track their cases, and a brand-new resource center houses a digital library of product resources, marketing and training materials.

Covr APIs enable seamless integration with any CRM including, planning software such as MoneyGuide PRO, licensing and suitability/compliance systems, and many others. With Covr Comply, Covr has also launched a turnkey, product-agnostic compliance review unit that can be used alone or embedded in the end-to-end purchasing and transaction process. Also new is Consumer for Advisor, which gives writing agents and financial advisors the ability to send out personalized digital marketing and provide digital application fulfillment in a direct-to-consumer environment inside of the same ecosystem. All cases processed through Covr are displayed for advisors or aggregated at the home office level. Covr can also aggregate all in force policies to be managed in one centralized place with the Covr Insights in force visualization and management tool.

In September, Covr announced that Citi had chosen their technology to simplify the life insurance process for Citi’s U.S. consumer wealth management business. Covr also recently launched Covr Pro, bringing its digital life insurance technology to independent advisors. By signing up online, advisors can get immediate access to the full suite of digital BGA resources including virtual sales support, quoting and needs analysis tools, application fulfillment, case management, products from the leading carriers, and market-leading compensation—all with no production requirements. For details of these digital sales solutions, visit

Ensight’s Streamline Illustration Workflow Expanded to Hybrid Long Term Care Products
One of the critical business applications of technology over the past two decades is to streamline inefficient back-office processes, unleashing time for firms to refocus on the fundamentals that drive success and revenue. Regarding the wholescale transformation of the illustration (workflow) process across U.S. life distribution, Ensight has perhaps redefined the life insurance illustration experience more than any other software platform over the last several years.

The great news for the industry is that Ensight has now extended its market leading life insurance illustration platform, Ensight Intelligent Quote, to support the hybrid, asset-based long term care products, launching with a broad portfolio of the leading hybrid long term care insurance carriers, including Lincoln Financial, MassMutual, Nationwide, OneAmerica, and Securian Financial.

Ensight’s new hybrid long term care capability streamlines the illustration workflow, enabling case designers and wholesalers to simultaneously run illustrations for the leading products and flexibly benchmark product performance across different dimensions, such as: Monthly long term care benefit; overall long term care benefit pool; indemnity vs reimbursement; and other key areas. Additionally, Ensight is the first and only multi-carrier illustration platform to deliver a fully auditable Best Interest-centric illustration process, which ensures the hybrid long term care products are compared on a “like-for-like basis” specific to the actual client case. This fills a critical need in the sector and has been a long time coming. Increasingly, brokerage general agencies and specialist long term care distribution firms are required to implement Best Interest processes, platforms and auditability within their internal operations by key financial institutions and channels.

Another big win for brokerage distribution is the unification of permanent life insurance and hybrid long term care products within a single workflow, on a single platform. Long term care risk today can be managed through a traditional long term care policy, an asset-based policy or a life policy with a long term care rider. Ensight’s wide breadth of product class coverage across permanent life products and the asset-based long term care products will enable brokerage to provide financial professionals with a broad scope of options. All of this built around a more efficient illustration process enabling brokerage to focus on what really matters—client case discussions, growing relationships and closing the coverage gap. Sales Illustration platform information is available at

Consumer Focus From Wellness Apps To Digital Life Sales

Last month saw the release of the Global Consumer Study, new research carried out on consumers across the world and their attitudes towards insurance. 12,728 people from 22 global markets were asked about a range of topics, including: Buying and claiming insurance, purchase triggers, causes of stress, road and cyber insurance, mental and physical health and the use of wellness apps. As part of the study, researchers surveyed over 1,000 U.S.-based consumers, enabling us to build a picture of the modern American and what they are seeking in their insurance experience.

Americans are happy to share data
U.S. respondents showed a willingness to share data with insurers to enable them to assess risk. Interestingly, 80.5 percent of them felt either comfortable or very comfortable in sharing information about their employment with their insurance provider. This was followed up by openness around sharing previous claims data (79.2 percent) and openness on sharing data from health check-ups (76.7 percent). The possibility of a discount was the main driver for this, with three quarters of U.S. respondents interested in possible reduced insurance premiums in exchange for this data.

U.S. consumers love a health app
Findings from the study show the use of health and fitness apps has remained strong in 2022 and shows no signs of declining, with more than half of global respondents saying they have a general fitness app (51 percent). In the U.S., the popularity of such apps rises nearly another 10 percent. Curiously, U.S. women seem to have a far greater appetite for general fitness apps than their male counterparts, with 68.9 percent of American women owning one, compared to just 45.5 percent of American men. And perhaps surprisingly, the data demonstrate that Boomers and Gen X use general fitness apps more than Millennials and Gen Z in the U.S.

Consumers want multiple claim points
Multiple access points are being used by consumers in the U.S. when making insurance claims. These methods range broadly from online (33.4 percent) and email (16.3 percent), to agents (19.3 percent), apps (14.9 percent), and more. However, despite a growing movement towards digitization, the most common claim method for American consumers remains a phone call (45.1 percent). This bucks the global trend, where online claims are the preferred method. With this in mind, it should also be acknowledged that some U.S. insurers are yet to offer online claims capability.

Download the full research at ReMark is a worldwide InsurTech consultancy specializing in consumer insights, marketing campaigns and tech solutions.

Plum Life delivers more fruit for less labor
In today’s life insurance sales environment, advisors are working more than ever remotely and digitally with their clients. This can lead to a lack of personal touch and critical guidance through the sale, not to mention the difficulties of lead generation and client follow-up as expressed by many agents. But it does not have to be that way… Plum Life was designed exclusively for agents and to allow them to sell completely online. As a user, the experience is simple, instinctive, and demonstrates an understanding of how agents sell. Their platform also houses all functions in one location, making it easy for agents to place business. Plum Life automates appointments, submitting and placing applications, tracking commissions and helps agents manage their inforce clients. Because they understand the entire sales process, they have been able to digitize the entire process allowing agents to customize the experience to a specific person or case. Helping agents sell life insurance is at the core of what they do.

Plum Life offers a diverse product suite from A-rated carriers, all designed for a digital agent sale. Their growing list of products and carriers boasts both an instant issue and accelerated term options, whole life, AD&D and two flavors of final expense. Registration is free with Plum Life, which makes it a good option for independent agents. It is intuitive and easy to navigate, with a sleek interface designed specifically for mobile use, allowing agents to start selling quickly. Agents also get access to powerful lead generation and marketing tools, and case management is automated.

Plum Life also keeps agents, and their clients, in the loop as they go through the sales process. With email reminders and text alerts, agents can quickly and easily stay on top of things and clients are reminded to take required actions. When asked, a Plum Life representative stated this functionality is a “big differentiator and helps drive conversion.” While there are a few other digital platforms available for life insurance sales, many of them are focused on direct-to-consumer sales and put the agent experience secondary, sometimes trying to cut them out completely. Others simply do not have the breadth of products or tools available from Plum Life. For today’s agent who is looking to work with clients digitally, Plum Life has a lot to offer. Agents can register at

UComplete is seamless in the carrier’s life fulfillment process
A powerful model for straight-through processing for life insurance digital sales is an “Agent to Customer Self-Service Process.” ApplicInt has a product “UComplete” that simplifies the eApp process while engaging the agent with their client. The agent runs a multi-carrier quote and completes a drop ticket (then hands off to the client). This is done by the agent who emails a link to the customer to complete Part A of the life insurance application online. The Part B medical questions part has options where the customer can complete, or can be completed via tele-interview or by an examiner performing a digital Paramed exam. The customer will securely eSign the forms in the same experience. If the customer has any questions, then they can do a real-time chat with a call center for assistance as needed. There is a warm transfer to a call center to schedule an exam if needed. This is a seamless process. The forms and data are automatically sent to the carrier in-good-order. The agent is notified of the status via email. The agent is then freed up to focus on sales.

There is a second model for ApplicInt’s UComplete, which is a carrier direct to consumer process. This makes it easy for consumers to apply for life insurance from a carrier’s website. It would start with a secure login process on the carrier’s website. Getting a login is a quick and painless process, but very secure. Once the consumer logs in, they run a term quote. There is a health analyzer available to use so the client can be placed in the correct underwriting category, which impacts the premium quoted. If the client is approved as applied for, then the placement ratio is increased significantly. Leveraging the same functionality of UComplete above, the consumer completes Part A of the life insurance application online. The Part B medical questions are options which can be completed via tele-interview or by an examiner performing a digital Paramed exam. The customer will securely eSign the forms in the same experience. If the customer has any questions, then they can do a real-time chat with a call center for assistance as needed. There is a warm transfer to a call center to schedule an exam if needed. This is a seamless process. The forms and data are automatically sent to the carrier in-good-order.

The flexibility of U*Complete’s seamless integration is because ApplicInt is the only solution provider that has a call center solution “CallComplete” and a digital Paramed platform “ExamComplete.” Any step of the process can also be integrated using an API into a carrier’s supported system so that their workflow remains the same. Other features where ApplicInt transforms the life insurance process includes integrating with a carrier’s automated underwriting process. The ApplicInt platform can also do scoring of data based on carrier rules. The end-to-end process starts with easy access to an agency or carrier portal supporting single sign-on to delivering the data and forms to the carrier in-good-order. This reduces the overall process by five days. The ApplicInt fulfillment software solutions are used by the industry’s largest Paramedical providers. You can visit to learn more.

The Relationship Between Life eApp And The Carrier Policy Admin System

When we talk about sending life applications electronically in-good-order, it’s not just transmitting a data file to the carrier. There needs to be a deeper understanding of the life carrier’s policy administration system and that carrier’s fulfillment process. The eApp data could first be sent to a call center or paramedical provider as interim steps before arriving to the carrier. There are multiple models for the fulfillment process of life apps. In these models, underwriting can be accelerated or automated. Today there are always one or more data calls for automating underwriting like Rx scripts, MIB, identity verification, and now EHR. Below we will take a look at two eApp vendors that have deep relationships with policy admin system and underwriting engines. Also, of the many policy admin systems out there, one is very focused on APIs to easily exchange information with eApp solution providers.

eApp and New Business Underwriting
iGO®, iPipeline’s market leading eApp, leveraged by the industry to submit in-good-order applications has been the eApp of choice for the life insurance market for over a decade.

With more than 11 million eApp transactions completed over the last three years, iGO is an omni-channel eApp used in captive, brokerage and consumer-focused channels and is used by over 300,000 agents and advisors per year, representing over 55 carriers and 300 distributors. These agents and advisors use iGO to sell products ranging from life, LTCI, disability, and final expense to Medicare supplement and annuities to help secure their customers’ financial futures. When agents and advisors use iGO with iPipeline’s LifePipe Term Quote engine, iSolve® Permanent Quote engine, or Illustrations, they receive access to iPipeline’s full suite of tools for optimizing the sales process. iGO is vital in reducing cycle time and increasing placement ratios through the use of easy and intuitive reflexive-based questions and rules to ensure all needed information is captured up-front—ensuring a 100 percent in-good-order application and enabling straight through processing.

iGO comes with many out-of-the-box integrations to ensure accurate and clean data is captured during the application process. The eApp validates mailing and email addresses, as well as bank account information used for premium payment. It also comes with third-party integrations such as LexisNexis, HIPAASpace, Milliman, and others to help supplement the data captured in iGO, and allow carriers to jump-start the underwriting process.

iGO can be seamlessly integrated with iPipeline’s Resonant® new business and underwriting platform for unlocking point-of-sale decisioning and workbench capabilities that can significantly streamline the new business process. iGO can also be integrated with numerous other new business underwriting systems, as well as reinsurance engines from MunichRe, SwissRe, RGA, and more, for point-of-sale decisioning and automated underwriting. iGO data can also seamlessly flow through to carriers’ policy administration systems such as LifePro, ALIP, Faustin, DXC, or CyberLife—through direct integrations, or through Resonant. iGO’s integrations with these policy administration systems can also provide in-force policy data for supplementing the eApp process. For agencies using iPipeline’s Agency Integrator solutions, iGO cases can be integrated into Agency Integrator to allow for out-of-the-box case approval.

iPipeline’s iGO e-App provides a market-leading, comprehensive solution for digitizing, and simplifying, the life insurance application and underwriting process—and optimizing business operations. To learn more, please visit

Straight Through Processing Through Low Code
Equisoft/apply is an end-to-digital point of sale solution for all buying channels—carriers, BGAs, advisors, D2C—even paper if you want. It’s an easy-to-use eApplication for any device that asks questions defined by the carrier, quickly captures data, creates an instant application and submits for real-time decisions. Equisoft/apply has the latest, most responsive UI-UX and low code-no code applications. These features make it possible to easily configure a unique insurance buying journey. That makes these next-gen solutions ready to power your D2C initiatives and grow digital sales. This flexible eApplication solution means you don’t have to settle for old-fashioned question flows and clunky user interfaces, instead you can create superior sales experiences for your advisors and clients.

There are three policy admin system (PAS) integrations: At the end of the app it submits the signed app which is taken into the carrier’s PAS for new business processing–through underwriting, suitability checks, etc. When completing the app it generates real time quotes by integrating with Oracle’s Insurance Policy Administration system (OIPA) to send data like age, state, and gender so premium can be calculated and the quote returned to /apply.

Equisoft/apply has instant decision integrations. Between Part 1 and Part 2 processing /apply can get an underwriting decision. It integrates with the PAS to get an instant decision and send it in real time to the advisor so that they can proceed with the application if the buyer likes the quote.

Low-Code Configuration of Your Insurance Buying Journey

  • Low-code supports greater control than no-code tools while keeping speed to market.
  • Quickly and easily design the digital application form to match your insurance products and facilitate straight-through-processing.

Optimize your buying journeys: Equisoft/apply gives you the flexibility to easily optimize your application processes across all channels. These eApps are low code optimized for insurance buying journeys, giving you ultimate control over building engaging sales flows. This means you can easily create apps that are unique to your company and products. This results in better customer experience, fewer dropouts and faster policy decisions.

There is customization to a carrier’s particular product and buying journey. The objective is to create one common experience for buying, replacements, upsell, and inforce policy changes. It makes instant decisions and issue in seconds on any device, which facilitates straight-through processing, in-good-order validation for instant issue, and eSignature reduces drop-offs. Straight through processing is the new standard for eApplications so that they should integrate seamlessly with your existing internal and external systems, enabling you to get the validations needed to reduce the number of not-in-good-order (NIGO) apps and make policy decisions in real time. Analytics track completion rates, and diagnose and address issues in the buying process. Progress tracking, clear UI for the user and analytics for the IT teams is made available.

Another feature is to support direct-to-consumer (D2C). Being able to easily and quickly create eApps tailored to your buying journeys means that you can create one common customer and advisor experience for buying, replacements, upsell, and policy changes. These eApps can become the front-end of your D2C offerings, providing modern UI/UX that is consistent across the board. And the built-in configuration tools are all you will need to maintain your applications without having to write any code.

APIs Are Fundamental to Creating Insurance Ecosystems
From a broker’s perspective, there are several things to know about application programming interfaces (APIs). First is that they are engineered to facilitate integrations between systems and data sources, and this includes everything from the big backend insurance core systems down to data from IoT devices, mobile, usage-based insurance apps, fitness trackers, and the like.

Even more important though is how brokers benefit from API-first enterprise insurance systems. Those systems are much more likely to offer pre-fill, accessing high-quality data to speed the completion of digitalized applications and decrease or eliminate errors and fraud. APIs also enable digital communications options that didn’t exist even a few years ago. As a result, API-first systems can be used to create dramatically better workflows, leading to faster underwriting cycles, shorter sales cycles, and much less paper.

This may be the most important bit: APIs can help dramatically reduce the administrative load for agents and brokers, giving them more time to do the important work of managing relationships with both insurers and the insureds. APIs are what enable agents and brokers to access and update customer and prospect information–ideally in real time–and offer similar self-service options to insureds.

At a higher level, APIs are foundational to creating insurance ecosystems. The most ready examples of ecosystems are Amazon and eBay. Shoppers go there for an opportunity to consider many products, review their attributes, as well as add-ons from partners and service providers. Ecosystems recognize customers, collect their histories and make informed suggestions appropriate to their interests, demographics, and more. Purchases are accelerated by virtue of being timely, personalized, and digital. Here is great three-minute video overview of insurance ecosystems.

“Ecosystems help brokers by offering a seamless customer experience and fostering relationships in a moment of need. Ecosystems also help brokers expand capacity for revenue-generating activities because they spend less time on administrative tasks,” says Karen Valdez, head of life and annuity product marketing at EIS. “Insureds benefit from better customer experiences and personalized offerings, which leads to increased customer retention, referrals, and satisfaction. APIs help ambitious insurers bring it all together and offer real customer centricity without complexity.”

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

New Benefits And Challenges In Automated Life Underwriting


Automated or electronic new business and underwriting systems allow life carriers to automate the processing and underwriting of new life insurance policies. The systems combine evidence data such as lab reports, APS, electronic health records, Rx Scripts, MIB reports, MVR, and financial background checks along with other underwriting requirements and help evaluate the information to assess the appropriate rate class of the proposed insured. An underwriting decision is the ultimate goal.

Today predictive analytics and scoring systems are being integrated into the underwriting rules engines. There are lifestyle scores and electronic health records (EHR) eliminate the need to draw fluids. The simplified underwriting process with an accelerated underwriting program has had some difficulties. Even though many clients may qualify for accelerated underwriting programs by age and face amount only about 33 percent actually get approved for the carrier’s accelerated underwriting programs. This is because of the results of the medical questions answered by the proposed insured and a result of the data collected through Rx checks and MIB. There are instant issue life products that are non-med and not just for the young and healthy and not just final expense with low face amounts. These products in general are up to 15 percent more expensive in premium compared to the simplified issue term products. There is a demographic of consumers that will pay more for speed and convenience.

There are distinctions between raw data, triaged data, scoring, and automated decision making. My analogy is a mixologist who make cocktails at a bar. The vast amount of data available and tools used by paramedical companies, insurtech companies, and reinsurers result in several models that are implemented in the digital point of sale. Predictive analytics, risk assessment applications, AI technology, algorithms run on Rx Data, MIB, Electronic Medical records, are all the components that make automated underwriting possible. We are at the beginning. Automating life underwriting is far from being mature. There are industry initiatives working to normalize/standardize both the data like Rx scripts, EHR, and lab results along with standard data transactions utilizing APIs. Yes this opens Pandora’s box to unlimited possibilities and challenges in the future of Automating Underwriting. Is the tail wagging the dog or the dog wagging the tail when it comes to underwriting and driving life insurance product design? I believe we need more data scientists and possibly enhanced actuarial tools to work out new product design and pricing.

Automated underwriting also opens up the door to fraud. An example: If a young healthy person passes all question and data tests that gets them through the accelerated underwriting process. The client could have said “no” to tobacco use, and because there are no fluids drawn significant premiums would be lost to the life carrier. When creating automated underwriting, fraud possibilities have to be explored. Though there is a solution to the tobacco issue mentioned above. A software solution provider developed a voice analytical tool, which is in production today with some call centers, that has an 85 percent accuracy of determining if someone is a tobacco user utilizing voice analytics. When we look at the digital point of sales process for life insurance, as automated underwriting and instant issue is becoming more in demand, an evaluation of the entire process needs to be examined for possible fraud. Another technology that was recently implemented is automatically comparing data received from Rx checks and MIB, etc., and comparing them against the Part 2 medical questions answered by the proposed insured. This is done in real time. Here is an example: Let’s say the client answered “no” to diabetes, but the Rx check shows that he/she is taking diabetic medication, then this is flagged by the AI technology platform putting the question back in the lap of the proposed insured with the option to update the answer to the diabetic medical question. The data is then sent in-good-order to the carrier.

Another level in automated underwriting goes into data collected from wearable and wellness apps (iOTs) Internet of Things. This is a new trend. Tech companies that create devices and software also have added services. Services can include 24/7 virtual human support along with digital tools. Also there are medical prevention and diagnostics. These tools reduce risk and get ahead of health challenges and form self-triage digital HRAs to personalized screening plans to early diagnosis and detection. There is medical management and navigation. This is continuous and multidisciplinary responses to serious and complied medical conditions, from musculoskeletal, cancer, cardiac, Covid-related issues and more such as holistic consultations and navigations of treatment. Rehabilitation which supports the path to recovery, from multidisciplinary advice to personalized rehabilitation managment services. Mental health is a growing issue. Services that navigate the complex cadre of mental health from diagnosis to treatment to long term management. Finally there is tele-health. This service is immediate and complete nationwide access to leading medical teams across specialities for responses and prescriptions to every-day health needs. As you can see wellness is more than how many steps you walked today and your BMI. The analysis of this data could be factored into an automated underwriting decision.

In today’s world, where the only thing constant is change, that original vision has been expanded to include more services and technology capabilities designed to help clients adapt quickly and in a cost-effective way. Insurtech companies and reinsurance companies have invested heavily in technology platforms to create a foundation for the next revolution in life insurance. No-Code platform gives you all the tools needed to build a highly secure, complex application that efficiently collects voice and electronic data without writing a single line of code. The result is a vastly reduced time to market with no initial or ongoing maintenance costs making the total cost of ownership substantially lower than status quo solutions. A platform’s ability to support powerful reflexive logic makes an underwriting rules engine extremely efficient in collecting all information needed to make a point-of-sale decision. The capabilities and flexibility of these platforms allow customers to use the technology as their single solution or as a tool to support and enhance current technology solutions they already have in place.

Looking under the hood of the underwriting process itself there are comprehensive platforms not just for digital decisions but also for intelligent automation, application development, and customer engagement. Digital decisions capabilities on a workflow platform allows software developers to define decision logic that includes analytics and can be tightly integrated with case management and underwriting workbenches at the carrier’s back office. This process automation can extend to an advisors CRM or distributors agency management system. Taking it even another step further is an intelligent automation platform that includes customer engagement applications, such as a decision hub, marketing sales automation, customer service and field service. Leveraging this technology redefines what is Straight-Through-Processing. We can’t forget that every step of the process must meet security and compliance standards protecting personal health information. Here I have demonstrated that the future of automated underwriting has powerful benefits and challenges. This impacts the digital point of sales process, new business underwriting process, and insurance product design. Wellness monitoring data can also drive a more favorable future underwriting decision for existing policy holders.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Enhancing The Digital Life Insurance Sales Experience Technology Is Revealed

The digital life insurance sales experience is continuously improving in both agent facing or consumer facing software applications. So what are some of the technologies responsible for these enhancements and why should you know? Look, I don’t want to scare you from reading the rest of this article with technical terms like Electronic Health Records, No-Code software solutions, and APIs. When addressing the digital point of sales solutions to carriers, distributors, or advisors, you need to understand the business problem these technologies solve without having to dive deep into the technology. With this basic understanding, you are better informed and feel more confident in investing in the software solutions that will help sell more life insurance.

Transforming Consumer Experience with the Power of Digital Health Data
So, what could the new customer experience look like for buying life insurance? First, a potential customer meets with an agent to discuss their situation and financial needs in the event of their untimely death, recommending the best life insurance product for their situation and providing a quote. The individual then makes a decision to move forward and, with their agent, they get started on the application and add their health info to the part two. The agent sends the application to the carrier and it goes to the underwriting department. Then, the customer is almost done. An electronic medical record is searched for and comes back within a day. The underwriting team makes a decision and the policy is sent to the customer to officially purchase, just a few days after submitting their application. And, now, one more family has peace of mind that they’re financially covered.

Human API is dedicated to being a key player in this customer experience. I have written several articles about Electronic Health Data (EHR) and Human API has always been a critical player in the discussion, but there’s much more. Human API is not only consumer-forward, not just an EHR provider, not just helpful in replacing APSs, not just sharing better underwriting data, not just tech-agile and API-driven—Human API is a critical partner for carriers seeking to showcase the best in consumer experience and to accomplish their most strategic transformation goals.

  • Defining the future of consumer experiences and interactions—across all touch points.
  • Expanding and accelerating transformation to better support distribution partners and reinsurers.
  • Seamlessly turning data into intelligence by possessing a flexible and scalable data infrastructure for modern, fast and efficient processes.

Here is a quote from a top carrier about leading the changes and best of breed experience, “Human API’s platform further expands our ability to provide our members the best experience buying life insurance. We were the first company to use digital health data and are continually looking for ways to improve our processes—including increasing the percentage of medical records we can receive digitally which cuts down on the time that it takes to get life insurance coverage.”—Christopher Flint, senior vice president and GM, Life Insurance, at USAA. For more information about Human API, visit

How No-Code eApp and EHR Saves Time
Technology that allows for rapid decision-making, the functionality of a no-code platform, and a customer-service driven approach to integration is what Management Research Services (MRS) has created as an industry innovator. Many underwriting decisions are easy ones. The issue is that it requires analysis of massive data sets to arrive at the decision. Technology improvements offered in the MRS no-code platform will never eliminate the need for underwriters; they just eliminate the need for underwriters to spend hours upon hours of reading and scanning the intel provided for each client.

Consider the recent history and changes in record-keeping across the medical industry. Generations of paper records yielded to the first-generation Electronic Medical Record (EMR). EMRs are not standardized across providers, they are really an in-house chart—something of a relic from the days before cloud computing. The lack of standardization means there is a lot to manually unpack and interpret.

The process today has now been turned upside down: Most underwriting decisions are already made. The applications become about seeing how and where each applicant qualifies, according to each client’s pre-programmed rules and decisions. The result is rapid underwriting decisions made at the point of sale; over 95 percent of applicants are processed within just minutes.

The example of the rise of EMRs provides a behind-the-scenes way technology began saving time in application processing. It is notable that where MRS is truly going to save time for insurance carriers or third-party vendors is with the sleek functionality of the no-code platform. Their system bypasses an expensive and time-consuming step in the process by removing the need to work with developers or IT. They have already taken care of that step for you; no programming or coding experience is required in the process. This results in their clients becoming empowered.

MRS has a customer service driven approach which means rapid integration times for systems customized from the ground-up and with minimal maintenance costs. They want to collaborate with you to build the platform or E-App that best serves your organizational and client needs. Click here to learn more or request a demo.

APIs Bridge Together Systems for a Better Life Insurance Sales Experience
As I continue educating the industry on APIs, I reached out to Paperless Solutions Group. Bill Walasek, VP of Sales at Paperless Solutions Group recently spoke with an industry veteran who asked about APIs. Bill asked him to talk about how he did business a few years ago. He recounted the days when, meeting with a prospect, he would scribble down some notes during the meeting and bring those notes back to the office. He would hand those notes over to his staff with some direction on how to proceed in regards to coverage. At that point, like any good businessman, he would move on to the next prospect. He was really not involved with the case unless something unusual came up like a rating or decline. Bottom line, a month or two out, he looked at his commission statement to see if the case was placed. Sound a bit familiar?

After this handoff, a lot goes on behind the scenes. This includes storing the data he collected (likely in a file cabinet or maybe a spreadsheet), getting a quote, filling out an application, submitting it to a carrier, waiting for a response, and if placed, finally receiving a policy and the commission. Take a second, think about how much data has moved through this process and how many different and disparate systems that the data must be ingested into.

The likelihood of information being lost or improperly entered is great and the time to move this data around is even greater. What was and is needed is a way to bridge all this information to systems that can accept it without keystrokes, resources, and wasted time. This is why APIs are so critical for our industry.

We, as an industry, have just begun to see the power of the use of APIs. Other industries have been doing this for years. APIs pull the appropriate data needed, at the time that it is needed, and then move it to the correct place in the next step of the process. So we are now getting to a place where you can take prospect information and feed it into a CRM where it can then be sent to a quoting system. Once the appropriate quote has been agreed upon, that information can then be delivered into an e-application which is sent to the carrier and stored in the CRM. The carrier can then ingest that information into their systems and send the agent status updates that can be stored and displayed wherever they wish. If there are outstanding requirements, those pieces of information or forms can be collected quickly so the case does not go stale. Finally, once the case is placed, policies can be delivered electronically and, yes, the commission almost instantaneously. Aren’t APIs great?

“At Paperless Solutions Group (PSG), we embrace APIs. In fact, we utilized APIs before APIs were cool. All our solutions are API driven from eApplication, to quoting with underwriting (eValuate), to requirements gathering (eRequirement), to eSignature. While these solutions provide a seamless experience, we understand that there are other solutions that you have invested much time, resources, and dollars implementing. What APIs provide is the ability to play nice in the sandbox with other solution providers. And this brings up what should be considered when implementing any solutions: How does it affect what I do today and how will it work with our vision moving forward?” To learn more about PSG solutions visit

Simplify AI For Underwriting And Focus On Sales Tools For Advisors

There are many benefits to using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in underwriting life insurance. This is a growing trend weaving AI into the fabric of underwriting decision engines and workbench technology. So it’s time to take the next step to remove tech people from the process and make it possible for the underwriting experts and business side to take control using no-code solutions. AI is also expanding in sales and digital marketing in general. However, because insurance is sold and not bought, the focus is to provide advisors with easy access to sales and lead tracking tools using a dashboard user experience. Also, there should be focus on specific sales tools that “visually” help the advisor explain the benefits of the product. This will ultimately close more business.

Personalization: Insurtech’s Secret Sauce for Life Underwriting
The insurance industry is stuck in a sort of technological amber. Many companies have taken their offerings online while others use software solutions such as Slack, MS Teams, Google Suite, or others to encourage collegiality and efficiencies, but underwriters are still relegated to their desks for hours reading applications and supporting documentation to approve or deny coverage based on the data provided. It’s slow and boring, but it has to be done to keep the company afloat.

Eugene Shafronsky is the head of strategy at thinktum™, an Insurtech enabler. His background in underwriting and deep understanding of the state of the industry means he knows the technology at play and how it can all work together to everyone’s advantage. “Underwriters are vital to the insurance business. We believe though that, in the future, most underwriting will be done using technology.” He adds, “This doesn’t remove underwriters from the process, but human brains—while complex, and highly capable—need rest from repetitive or routine processes. A solution such as thinktum’s liz life suite can free up underwriters to do more challenging and rewarding tasks such as designing new insurance products or contributing to the company’s bottom line in more creative ways.”

Personalization is why Shafronsky is so bullish on their technology suite. “We see many companies trying to make the application process faster, but faster is not enough. And focusing on outdated static models of yes/no answers is also not enough, because then you lose the most important aspect—accuracy. By using our approach, personalization can be applied to every application and the approach is intuitive, you can achieve much greater accuracy and better detail on risk assessment. And, if you think about it, creating a personalized approach can also actually make it faster as a byproduct.

“We see, most commonly, a lack of flexibility by companies to make the change technologically. And pure no-code is the solution. Our no-code suite uses a graphic canvas that allows non-developers to move boxes, drag and drop, and connect them in different ways, then set up specific rules that are predefined to create any flow they want. This significantly shortens implementation and optimization times. Think of it as the WordPress of AI. It’s all about the interface in front and robust technology in behind.” Learn more about thinktum’s pure no-code liz life suite at

Simplify the Life Sales Experience for Advisors
In a world where artificial intelligence and machine learning seem to dominate media headlines, it has become a common misconception that technology is out to replace human interaction. But Finaeo believes the opposite to be true: “Applying for life insurance is an inherently complex process, and we believe that the value of advisor relationships—with their knowledge, trust, empathy, and support—cannot be replaced by machines. Our goal is simple: We want to see a world where insurance is accessible to everyone, and we believe that can be achieved by putting the right technology in the hands of advisors who care.”

Finaeo is an all-in-one, turn-key, life insurance sales software on a mission to bridge the digital divide between carriers, agencies, advisors and clients. Founded in 2016 in Toronto, Finaeo began their journey by partnering with life insurance agencies across Canada to empower their advisors with a more efficient means of doing business. By early 2020, Finaeo had helped advisors to place over $1billion in coverage for Canadian families. And in 2021, with demand increasing, they launched into the USA—operating as a tech partner with IMOs and BGAs across all 50 states.

The core of Finaeo’s solution is simple: Automate remedial tasks in the sales process and instantly provide product recommendations, giving advisors more time to build client relationships and provide expert advice. They offer an end-to-end system where advisors can build websites, digitally onboard clients, need-assess, maintain records, as well as search, quote, compare and apply from their extensive marketplace of over 30 carriers and 500 products.

As clients demand more asynchronous interaction with their insurance providers, Finaeo is uniquely positioned to partner with BGAs to enhance their digital identities and expand reach. To learn more about Finaeo for your BGA visit or contact Kyle Langstaff, director of business development at

Sell more Disability Insurance with a Presentation Sales Tool
Many BGAs, GAs, IMOs, etc. across the country have a similar question on their mind, “How do we get more advisors selling more DI plans?” This is a question that’s been on the top of many BGA’s minds for the past two decades. Another way to phrase this question might be, “How do we provide advisors with client specific DI presentation tools to help them better position, sell, and close far more of the DI illustrations we provide them?” When you look at the core elements to having a highly effective income protection (DI) conversation with clients, advisors must be able to quickly position the need, demonstrate the client’s problem, present new plan solutions in an easy-to-understand way, and put premium into perspective.

The vast majority of advisors are trying to accomplish a version of this by using DI illustrations, statistics sheets, and general non-client-specific marketing materials. These items clearly have their role but, when it really comes down to it, advisors typically experience a wave of objections from clients using these types of tools and presentation approach, which makes most advisors simply struggle with or avoid this critical topic of risk mitigation with their clients.

OneProtection’s DI presentation software is a tool that helps advisors take this friction off the table by allowing them to present the income protection story to their clients in a simple yet visually powerful way. This drastically improves the advisors ability to mitigate or even eliminate the most common client objections while simultaneously increasing their closing percentages and case sizes. This is music to a BGA’s ears because the more advisors they have selling more DI plans through them the better. Everyone wins.

Even though OneProtection’s DI Software is not specifically designed for the BGA per se, it is designed for the advisors and insurance professionals who are doing their business with them. Through OneProtection’s BGA Affiliation program, they are able to strategically partner with BGAs across the country with joint marketing efforts to help advisors across the country drastically grow their DI sales production. To learn more about OneProtection visit

Digital Life And Income Insurance (Tech) Companies Is A Growing Trend

We see what I like to call “digital insurance companies” and think instant issue and direct-to-consumer for low priced limited benefit products. There is so much more that many people in the industry don’t know about these companies including myself, until back in April I had the honor to moderate a panel at the LIMRA Life Insurance Conference in Tampa. On the panel were leaders from Bestow, Ethos, and Ladder Life. Also this year I was contacted by an old friend and colleague from when I worked at Genworth who introduced me to Asteya, which is an insurance company with a digital platform for products like disability insurance. What I have learned from all these companies is that they each have their own unique digital model for selling insurance, powerful insurance products, advanced AI technology for underwriting, and are in other distribution channels like independent brokerage. I see this as a trend that is growing, and there are several other companies out there competing. Today we are going to focus on three unique digital sales platforms.

My company, InsurTech Express, is currently marketing Asteya’s digital platform. I asked Chad Ourso who leads distribution sales and Noelle Bartlett, life distribution marketing, to explain the Asteya offering and digital platform. Let’s dive in.

If you had to guess what was more likely to happen, getting injured due to accident or illness and not being able to work versus passing away, you would likely say the former. But, did you know that you’re 3.5 times more likely to need disability insurance than you are life? Yet only 29 percent of people have disability coverage compared to 44 percent that have individual life insurance policies. Some believe that this gap in the market is due to three different issues: Poor positioning, lack of education, and accessibility.

Compared to life, car, and health insurance, the term “disability insurance” is out of place because it doesn’t make known what it’s protecting—your income! We don’t call life insurance “death insurance,” right? Asteya believes that the term “income insurance” better represents what is being insured and why it’s necessary to have.

Looking at the overall market, there’s an accessibility issue. Historically, income insurance was marketed and sold exclusively to white collar professionals with high incomes. The purchasing process was laborious and included medical exams, bloodwork, and had an application process that could take up to 90 days. Luckily, thanks to technology and new types of products, income insurance is now more accessible than ever.

With new instant issue products that are tech-first and use AI-powered underwriting engines, the speed in which a policy can be sold (agent assisted quote to issue in 15 minutes) is matched with the ease of case management and administration handled through an online dashboard. These are likely some of the reasons why five-year benefit periods are a big growth segment, making up 17 percent of U.S. sales, when historically it was much lower according to Milliman’s 2021 annual survey. Paired with the workforce now demanding access to non-employer sponsored benefits, freelancers, independent contractors, and blue-collared professionals are receptive and excited to be educated on and get access to income insurance.

So, whether you’re interested in including income insurance (DI) into the suite of products you sell or want to see how one insurtech company is using technology to standout and move forward, check out to learn more and contact Chad Ourso at

Ethos’ Digital Ecosystem
After reaching out to Marty Schaefer, chief distribution officer of Ethos, he offered to tell his story and discuss the innovative technology of Ethos: “In 1998, I started in this industry as a retail agent, meeting families at kitchen tables late at night. I helped deliver the true, democratized value of the product we sell, providing a critical safety net for grieving families. But the industry faced several intractable challenges. The agent base was beginning to age and shrink rapidly. Remaining agents faced time and resource constraints selling a high-touch product that took weeks or months of underwriting. These constraints meant I could only reach a handful of families in a typical week.

“Last year I joined Ethos because I saw a compelling solution to these long-standing issues. I saw a 100 percent digital ecosystem that eliminates all of the most challenging things about buying insurance—for both consumers and agents. It makes medical exams a thing of the past, offering affordable coverage for almost everyone in just minutes. Ethos’ underwriting engine analyzes 300,000+ data points from authorized sources in real time. It works together with our online application, featuring 1,300 reflexive health and lifestyle questions, to determine the best product fit for clients. Using this system, we can instantly approve about 95 percent of applicants ages 18-85. We do it by working with top carriers to offer the broadest range of digital term and whole life products in the industry, some created for our proprietary process.

“In a world where it’s impossible for a financial advisor or insurance agent to meet every consumer’s needs, this fully automated solution now gives agents a way to provide the best underwriting review of every applicant with little to no overhead. This expands our ability to offer life insurance to more consumers, growing margins, efficiency and scale. Agents and agencies are starting to envision the multiplier effect that can have for their business. They see that concurrently to their brokerage appointments, their team can now present life insurance to 100 more people and protect 50 families per week versus just a handful in person. They can now meet that democratized need within time and revenue constraints. Our robust agent portal and custom URL make it simple for them to manage and grow their business.

It’s the most powerful, all-encompassing instant issue buy box in the U.S.—and a tipping point that’s just beginning. We see the greatest opportunity ahead in working with our brokerage partners to reach today’s 80 million uninsured and under-insured Americans.” To discuss the Ethos opportunity for your BGA, please contact Marty Schafer,, or Jason Speigel, head of life distribution, at”

Bestow’s End-To-End Digital Term Life Insurance Experience
Many of you may know Steve Robinson, chief distribution officer at Bestow. Steve is an industry veteran. I see Steve often at industry events. Steve and his team took time out from their busy schedules to share what differentiates Bestow and an inside look at their end-to-end digital life insurance experience.

Selling life insurance has been historically tedious, with processes that waste precious time for agents all while they risk losing sales when customers tire of the back and forth. Even the most seemingly straightforward transaction, like purchasing a basic term life insurance policy, can take weeks or months. This tech laggard experience is not ideal when people have the power to purchase almost anything online and see it arrive on their doorstep the next day. It shouldn’t take weeks to buy anything, including your term life insurance policy.

Since time is money, this inevitably shifted advisors’ focus to more affluent and, therefore, more profitable customers, leaving middle- and lower-income Americans uninformed about their coverage needs and critically underinsured. The industry must adopt technology solutions that meet the needs and expectations of today’s customers to break this trend. And life insurance carriers must equip agents with the tools to succeed in today’s more competitive sales environment.

Enter Bestow, the leading life insurance technology company built to make life insurance more accessible to millions of people who need it. Bestow is building technology to digitize the industry at large and has created an end-to-end digital term life insurance experience that empowers agents to make faster sales by solving complex industry pain points. This enables agents to expand the life insurance market they serve and provide a better experience to their clients. Customers who purchase a term life insurance policy on Bestow’s platform can apply and, if approved, bind their coverage in as little as five minutes.

Key technologies that Bestow provides:

  • The Online Application: a customer-driven, fully digital application with instant-decision underwriting and end to end journey from approval to payment.
  • Agent Link: a unique co-branded website solution that gives agents an easy way to share the application with clients and prospects.
  • Agent Application: an application platform built for call center sales done completely over the phone in minutes, that provides agents more control over the customer experience and application journey.
  • Protect: enables partners to embed a fully-hosted, 100 percent digital term life insurance buying experience either through API integration with a customizable, white-labeled offering or through a simpler plug-and-play solution.

Today, Bestow goes to market in the brokerage channel as an agency and third party administrator (TPA) selling policies issued by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance.®* Customers can apply for and, if approved, purchase up to $1.5 million in coverage in as little as five minutes within the partner’s application or website. A medical exam is never required. In addition, the company has successfully become a nationally licensed life insurance company. With licenses in 48 states and the District of Columbia, Bestow Life Insurance Company (BLIC) will be able to design and launch its own innovative financial protection products in the near future.

Bestow is committed to giving agents the tools they need to make a sale in minutes, not months. Digitization enables advisors to reach more customers by leveraging technology that eliminates paperwork and case management. Providing a convenient, frictionless process to clients can be even more impactful to the advisor than competitive compensation. When agents have this capability at their fingertips, it enables them to help more clients while expanding their business to new markets and additional revenue streams. To learn more contact Steve Robinson at

*Life insurance quotes provided by Bestow Agency, LLC dba Bestow Insurance Services in CA, who is the licensed agent. Term Life Insurance Policies offered by Bestow are issued on policy form LS181 and LS182, or state version including all applicable endorsements and riders, by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance,® Administrative Office, One Sammons Plaza, Sioux Falls, SD 57193. Products or issues ages may not be available in all jurisdictions. Limitations or restrictions may apply. Not available in New York. Our application asks about your lifestyle and health to determine eligibility in order to avoid requiring a medical exam.

Insurance Marketing Automation For Distributors/Advisors And API Magic For Carrier Illustrations

In my last Tech-Tock article, I wrote about learning about the latest innovation in insurtech by attending onsite industry conferences. I am very excited to continue to inform you of the latest technology that can help your business grow and stay on the cutting edge. Sorry for the cliché. I continue to discover more new tech innovations and solution providers. This article is focused on two topics. The first is automation in insurance marketing. Whether you are a BGA using the platform or offering it as an agent recruiting tool, you will learn about the power of automated marketing for direct to consumer insurance sales. As I try not to be too technical when writing this column, you have seen since last year that I occasionally write about APIs to educate you on the next generation of sharing information and creating a seamless user experience. I have discovered another powerful API solution that is simply magical for carriers who are developing illustrations for new insurance products.

Conquer Your Marketing With One Solution
For insurance marketers jockeying for position in an ultra-competitive market space, the name of the game is leveraging formative tech tools to enhance customer outreach, increase conversion and retention rates, and boost ROI. Fortunately, as communication methods evolve, Phonexa’s all-in-one marketing automation solution for calls, leads, clicks, email, SMS, accounting, and more has shaped how insurance direct marketers and carriers connect with consumers and make more financially sound marketing decisions. Automating marketing initiatives allow insurance agencies to rely more on organic marketing and new technology to complement their back-end leadgen processes. Recent case studies have found that Phonexa helps insurance providers, agents, and agencies reach their full business potential through an all-encompassing automation platform.

Key highlights include:

  • Significant reduction in marketing spend
  • Less manual work stemming from more automated tasks
  • More time to convert leads to sales
  • Increased revenue due to heightened conversion rates
  • Lowered fraud resulting from an advanced vetting process

There are multiple solutions that are critical to the success of automating marketing. Starting with data analytics, which needs to have fast-loading real-time data insights that uncover key information about your insurance lead generation and ROI. You then need an application to handle your calls. Insurance lead applications for inbound calls help you create better customer interaction. Reporting is key to measuring results, especially comparison reports. These reports help identify the most relevant data specific and KPIs specific to your campaigns. You need an application that can filter by geographic area, such as by state, to measure campaign performance and outcomes by a specific region. In order to get adoption, speed-to-contact technology is essential. These LeadGen and communication tools are needed to initiate an efficient customer outreach. Now personalized outreach utilizes outbound calls, emails, and SMS tools for personalized drip campaigns and contact with insurance client segments. Traffic flow optimization allows you to segment your incoming insurance leads to vet out low-intent clients and re-engage lapsed prospects. Phonexa,, offers all of these tools as an All-One-Element that integrates all of your lead generation and management in one place in a comprehensive tech stack that covers all areas and demands of the business.

Do Not Be Afraid of APIs
In New York at the Insurtech Insights Conference back in May, I met with the team from Coherent Global, I was amazed at their technology. Even though I am not an actuary, I know tech—this is a game-changer. Nick Leimer, senior technical director at Coherent Global, helped explain in layman’s terms how it all works for their application Coherent Spark.

APIs, (application programming interface) are just a way to connect to different parts of a business process, set of calculations, or both together, while adding speed and flexibility. Think Legos for business processes. Build whatever you want or need from all the parts you have in a box or change out one set of blocks for another. If the process changes, just reconnect the blocks and/or add new ones. Complete flexibility.

What if you had a Lego that would calculate the price for an insurance coverage. Then that Lego could be used by the pricing department to generate the same results with the same inputs and outputs to calculate over and over again and only need to make changes in one location to adjust the calculations in that department. Now think bigger. That block can now be used by the illustration application, and it will always match the results expected from the pricing team. Even bigger still, the same block could feed the valuation system, the project system, and even then the cash flow testing system. The same results from the same block across all business units in different systems. One source of truth managed from one location.

The use of APIs to address this issue is applicable to a wide range of business and process calculations. The same base calculation is used in many different systems with the expectation that the results are consistent in all systems. Anyone who has been part of a large transformation or upgrade project has found a calculation or process that should be the same for all parts of the company. But because a system is only rarely used, or will not be used until a later date in the transformation workflow, it is pushed to the bottom of the backlog where it is likely deemed out of scope or forgotten. Now instead of a single source truth for this calculation from an API, the calculations in different systems will be updated at different times by different resources which typically cause the calculations to deliver inconsistent results requiring re-work and timeline extensions.

The solution Coherent Spark has several use cases for life, health and annuity products. It can be used for ”back office” actuarial calculations in which a client uses Spark for common regulatory market value and reserving calculations. It can also be used for new product development and illustrations such as to a complete illustration for a new IUL product and recover botched delivery for new distribution partners. For supplemental health benefits, Spark can be used to create an API from plan design and rate excel model. The last use case is that Spark can be used for life policy administration conversion which significantly reduces costs and risks.

Here are two quotes about the APIs that sum it all up: “They no longer have to build a core application that tries to do everything. Instead, they can contract out certain responsibilities by using already created pieces that do the job better. So APIs are the Lego bricks of software development: Standardized tools for software to communicate with other software, leading to faster building and deployment and faster load times,” says Corey Walther, Allianz Life. And: “Coherent Spark enables an API-based cloud ecosystem making it easier for internal and external processes to talk to one another so data can be quickly handed off from one process to the next, making automation easier and the development and deployment of new workflows quicker,” says Todd Buchanan, US CEO of Coherent.

Hit The Road To Get The Latest In Life Insurtech And Underwriting Innovations

Industry conferences are back! I just returned from a two week business trip. First I flew to Tampa to attend the LIMRA Life Insurance Conference at the end of April. I was then invited by the National Brokerage Agencies (NBA) to speak at their Spring Conference in Dallas. From there, I flew to Denver to attend the Association of Home Office Underwriters (AHOU) Annual Conference. Each one of these conferences had great attendance, top speakers, educational sessions, and exhibitors with new innovative products and services. I learned a lot, and it was a fantastic networking opportunity. There are so many conferences happening throughout this year 2022 hosted by industry associations, IMOs, and technology groups; it’s almost impossible to attend them all. This is a nice problem to have as to which ones to pick to attend, sponsor, and/or where to exhibit. Many companies have the resources to split their teams to cover multiple conferences, especially those that may be happening around the same time. The best part is the positive energy you feel when people appreciate the in-person interaction that was lacking during the hiatus period in the last two years because of COVID. I did attend a couple of conferences late last year but they had lighter attendance, and some were hybrids with remote participation. Just not the same.

Challenges fuel opportunities for Life Insurtech
Exhibiting at both the LIMRA Life Insurance Conference and at the AHOU Conference, I met with the Sapiens team. Sapiens is an industry leader in carrier new business and underwriting systems for both life and property and casualty business. I spoke with Jennifer Smith, vice president of Life and Annuity Products in North America, about the opportunities they are seeing in the market today: “Between the complexities of life products, shifting business models, and ever-changing consumer expectations, the demand for impactful and innovative solutions to support the distribution market continues to grow. New opportunities to increase customer retention and build your multigenerational book of business have become game changing imperatives in this new dimension of insurance. And, of course, technology continues to play a pivotal role in helping to strategically transform the channels in which we communicate, operate and market. The market is flooded with insights on how the challenges of the past two years have caused companies to squeeze in several years’ worth of innovation and ideas into narrow frames. Yet the continual challenge of creating an all-encompassing platform, which can seamlessly support the entire cast of the insurance ecosystem—carriers, brokers, technology partners, and the customer—remains a challenge.”

For many organizations, the benefits of selling directly to consumers—higher margins, faster turnarounds, access to customer data—should be an ace in the hole. The ability to offer your clients an omnichannel “online experience with the similar capabilities and experience of being face to face,” is crucial these days. “During our recent Sapiens Customer Council,” Smith continued, “where a few dozen of our North American customers gathered, one of our life carriers noted that they have an 80 percent close rate when a consumer comes to their website directly and an agent was recommended to them. It was also noted that one of the reasons this carrier is better able to meet customers needs, is that they partnered with a progressive solution provider, Sapiens, who helped them reshape and redefine the ‘sold, not bought,’ and integrate the right tools and technology to support both customer demand and business needs.

“One of the beneficial components, in this new frontier, has become the Sapiens Illustration solution, which is enabling the agent to easily run simple and complex ‘what if’ scenarios to show and explain to the consumer how the insurance product will behave, how value accumulates, and what their premiums are doing to protect them. Instead of competing with the ‘Amazon Effect,’ our customer determined that if they could deliver real-time data insights for the broker and client, reduce time in to fill-out the application, underwriting, and errors, that they could focus more on what matters most—ensuring that customers are given exemplary agent or advisory experiences. Evidence is pointing to the fact that today’s up and coming agents have very different expectations of their experience and engagement with the tools required to explain and illustrate life insurance as the initiation of a good customer experience with an insurance carrier. They want intuitive capabilities that walk a customer through the life of an insurance policy and then they want that detail entered to continue through the process of applying for the illustrated product and hopefully enable point of sale decisioning or indication of the rating.

“We continue to work with consumers, carriers and partners across the life industry, demonstrating digital and differentiating ideas to better help close the life insurance protection gap. Leveraging decades of experience along with innovative ways to drive adoption of life products—either through new direct to consumer channels, or through current (or new) agent networks—we are fueling new methods and opportunities to educate markets on the importance of protecting their families and future.

“While so many things continue to shift and change, those of us who have been in the industry know that there has been one constant on the life side, and that is insurance is a product that’s pretty fraught with emotions. Going forward, the ability to empower agents to continue to educate, empathize and market products that have purpose, value, and deliver a sense of protection and security, will continue to create opportunities for those who are first to adapt to the new reality. Our Sapiens solutions for New Business and Underwriting are already helping life and annuity carriers navigate and evolve in this new era, and yesterday’s challenges only fuel our ability to deliver on the opportunities for tomorrow and beyond.”

Turning on the Power of EHR Data
AHOU is definitely a mass gathering of life insurance underwriters, data scientists, and anyone related to the underwriting process. Exhibiting at the conference was Diameter Health; specifically I met with Dr. Paulo Pinho, vice president and medical director. He explained that medical underwriting has traditionally been a manual process requiring skilled resources to sift through attending physician statements (APSs). Comprised of hundreds of pages delivered as PDF files, today’s APSs—while based on data that is captured in electronic health records (EHRs)—are essentially paper analogs that require underwriters and medical directors to use the same time and resource-intensive processes to find data critical to risk assessment. Some carriers, re-insurers and insurtech vendors have recognized that the ubiquity of EHRs and subsequent availability of clinical data in near real-time could be disruptive for underwriting—delivering data elements that are most relevant to risk assessment directly into underwriting workflows. Theoretically, this should enhance automation, improve speed to issue and improve client experience. However, their exploration of EHR data has uncovered the fact that raw clinical data poses challenges due to poor data quality, inconsistency, and lack of interoperability, particularly in the most complex patients who may see multiple providers in multiple care settings.

“Diameter Health’s Fusion technology is purpose-built for turning raw clinical data into a high value data asset. It ingests multi-source, multi-format data and generates a semantically normalized longitudinal record that makes key data points accessible to underwriters. Diameter Health’s comprehensive and scalable technology has tackled the high volume, multi-source aggregation required by the nation’s Health Information Exchanges, health insurance payers, state and federal governments, and more recently a portfolio of life insurance ecosystem players. Our life insurance clients realize that claims data has its gaps, medications don’t tell the full story, and individual labs represent one point in time and not the line that connects discrete points. They realize that clean clinical data is the thread that mitigates gaps, weaves the full story, and forms the line that transforms the episodic into the continuous—these transformations are critical to an evidence based, client centric and seamless underwriting experience.

“Beyond an APS replacement solution, clean EHR data is the foundation for accelerated underwriting, claims and disability cover. Timely, rich population data can drive pricing, client engagement, fraud detection, new product design and even dynamic underwriting premised on a wellness model. Diameter Health is the enterprise data quality solution necessary to disrupt life insurance through automation and simplification.”

Life insurance technology innovations from back office policy admin systems to distribution digital point of sales solutions and enhancement in automating underwriting are advancing significantly. The best way to get your arms around all the great changes happening in the industry is to get out on the road and visit customers, carriers, vendors and industry events.