Our Current Industry Environment
The life insurance industry never ceases to challenge us. On one hand, it’s a well-established and highly mature industry with a general environment of stability, consistency and clear expectations. On the other hand, we continue to be tested by developments that will bring change to our industry—economic downturns, new regulations and technological advancements represent just a short list of potential disruptors.
These disruptions can easily become opportunities—carriers can invest in new technologies to meet market demand, changes in regulation can become opportunities if navigated appropriately and financially strong companies can leverage economic downturns by investing in growth and garnering new market share.
At Columbus Life, we continually work to balance these disparate and sometimes competing demands. Our effective management of these evolving factors has allowed us to achieve consistent year-over-year sales growth for the last decade. During the currently prolonged low interest rate environment, we’ve maintained a broad competitive product portfolio of indexed universal life, guaranteed universal life, term life and annuity products. And, our progressive technologies continue to help enhance business processes for independent producers and make doing business with Columbus Life even easier.
Goals for 2016
As we move forward, we are focused on three areas—completing business faster with technology and higher levels of service, continually driving and improving our “producer first” mindset and culture, and increasing awareness of the Columbus Life brand and story. We believe these are the keys to successfully continuing our growth and exceeding our clients’ expectations.
One of our core goals is to reduce “submission to commission” time by more than 50 percent—and today’s technologies can help make that a reality. In 2016, we will introduce several new technologies that will speed up business processes—especially new business processing.
Thanks to electronic applications, electronic policy delivery and mobile applications, many of the time-consuming aspects of policy underwriting, generation and delivery can be shortened considerably. In 2016, we will introduce the CLIC Mobile app to allow appointed producers to track the status of all pending business, respond and communicate directly with new business and underwriting teams as needed, and accept or modify policy offers. We will also introduce an electronic policy delivery tool that will help producers significantly shorten the time and effort needed to complete the final delivery of a policy to a client.
While technology is critical in improving business processes and efficiency, we still believe that personal interaction, support and relationships are the cornerstones of success. To that extent, we are partnering with many of our internal support areas to make sure they are easily accessible, responsive and proactive when it comes to supporting independent producers. We are evaluating and refining our agency onboarding process to ensure that the right information is provided when it is most needed. We continually evaluate our call centers to ensure that the ability to reach a live contact is not encumbered by voice prompts and wait times. And as always, we maintain our open communication policy that allows producers to speak with any member of the Columbus Life team—whether that means direct access to underwriters to discuss pending cases or direct lines to senior management to communicate needs and concerns. Our company was built on this fundamental aspect more than 100 years ago and it continues to be as relevant today as it’s been for the last century.
Finally, throughout 2016, we will continue to refine our marketing efforts to make sure the Columbus Life story is better known among independent producers. This includes some of the classic methods of promotion in our industry, but also includes more modern techniques. We have begun to leverage YouTube®1 and other social media forums in new ways that not only deliver value for independent producers but provide advertising and promotional opportunities for the Columbus Life brand. Similarly, our innovative mobile apps—both the Tax App and CLIC Mobile–also deliver an added benefit of name recognition and promotion. Mobile-friendly websites along with enhanced digital advertising and promotions will round out our efforts to expand the Columbus Life brand.
Underlying all three of these 2016 goals is our continued commitment to maintain our financial strength and a consistently competitive product portfolio. Our heritage of strength as a member of Western & Southern Financial Group, one of the strongest life insurance companies in the world, helps give producers and their clients confidence in Columbus Life’s future. Our indexed universal life, guaranteed universal life and current assumption universal life products remain competitive, and will continue to be evaluated to ensure their core features and added benefits meet client needs. We believe that maintaining these core aspects—while adding new programs and key technologies—will establish the foundation for another decade of solid company growth.
With our company’s compelling story, competitive products and financial strength, we will continue growing the number of producers that represent Columbus Life while striving to maintain the loyalty of our currently appointed independent financial professionals. But above all, we will continue to make decisions that put independent producers first. [SJS]
1: YouTube® is a registered trademark of Google, Inc.