Let’s draw the roadmap of where life and annuity inforce automation is going as we end this year and move into 2022. Policyholder self service will continue to grow and dominate whether it is account management in a carrier’s portal or an App that can be used to perform inforce transactions on your mobile device. Then there are inforce policy management platforms that can help advisors create policy reviews with their clients and discover new sales opportunities using innovative data mining, analysis, and reporting. The key to these solution platforms to be successful is the data. We will also take a quick look at solutions that leverage your inforce book of business in the social media/online virtual world.
Inforce Self-Service Portals and Apps
Today’s generation of insurance policy portals include a host of features that help modernize and improve the advisor and client experience. Equisoft/servicing portal removes the need to take your team away from more important tasks. Their portal provides policy holders and agents the ability to self-service changes to addresses, beneficiaries, and payment details. Equisoft/servicing portal is a ready to go, out-of-the-box, online solution that drastically improves the customer servicing experience at any time, on any device. It provides detailed policy summaries and coverage information. Customers get up-to-date information like cash value, payment requirements, and more. And, on the portal, changes are able to be made to policy contract info, eliminating the need for paper change request forms to be sent by mail or fax and reducing the need for calls to the agent’s office.
As more organizations seek to put their customers in control of their policy servicing experience, insurers that provide digital self-service will not only improve their customer loyalty but will support their profitability goals by reducing their servicing costs. Sureify’s LifetimeSERVICE platform is a great example of a simple, intuitive online and mobile self-service interface that leads to customer and producer satisfaction. It gives customers control and takes the burden off producers who want to sell, not service, the business. Additionally, insurers will see immediate cost and efficiency savings using Sureify’s LifetimeSERVICE because in weeks, not months, they will be able to comfortably scale new business without increasing customer service salaries.
Notifications to the policyholder are very important. Sureify’s LifetimeSERVICE includes push notifications, emails and text messages for critical information like lapse notices and account changes. The platform has strong support features like Chat, Co-Browsing, Video-Chat, Advisor Lookup and FAQs. There is life and annuity account information which includes performance visualizations. The policyholder can do transactions like withdrawals, loans, payment and billing. Account maintenance is an expected feature like beneficiary changes. To round out the self-service features would be document management like policies/contracts, illustrations and tax documents (upload/download).
Inforce Policy Management Systems and Services
Employee Pooling (EP) has been developing a holistic policy management system since 2018. They can work with your CRM or one of the policy management platforms like Insured Connect (NIC) and Proformex. The current version of EP’s system includes policy data aggregation, updating policy data, policy monitoring (identification of policies in danger of lapsing or rate increases), campaign development, annual review presentations, and lead management. In a version to be released in the first quarter, EP expects to include policy owners’ current contact information (email and/or phone).
Post-sale policy servicing has historically been a nightmare for independent advisors. While writing policies through multiple distributors and carriers has major benefits in terms of product availability for clients, it has its downfalls too, namely in the way that an advisor’s clients’ policy data is all over the place. As a result, the concept of managing and monitoring policy performance for an inforce book has been largely reactive; it’s only when a carrier or client notifies an advisor that they even know there might be a problem like a lapse-pending policy. Proformex is transforming life insurance servicing from a reactive approach to a proactive one. The key to enabling proactive management of policies is access to timely and current information. Carrier data access is critical, and Proformex centralizes carrier data into a single, secure platform. It’s all about having the right information on the right policy at the right time. That enables advisors to have meaningful interactions with their clients and take proactive action to correct a policy that is no longer meeting its owner’s objectives.
Inforce APIs to Exchange Information
This is the part of the article where I discuss API’s again. I am hoping that by illustrating a variety of business cases month after month you will see the value of APIs. API stands for Application Programming Interface, which is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. Insured Connect (NIC) Inforce Data Exchange provides existing NIC carrier and distributor subscribers with even greater access to inforce data and the ability to use that data with multiple tools, apps and solutions. Whether you want to push pending lapse notices to your CRM, populate your sales pipeline with renewal opportunities or update your AMS, NIC’s data products are specifically designed to support your business. NIC’s data products support both life and annuity inforce data.
Policy/Contract API: Includes individual policy information that can be used to populate reports, forms, tools and apps (e.g. inforce illustration tools, digital marketing platform). The policy API supports individual policies or lists of policies. The policy API does not include policy owner PII data.
Policy Owner / Annuitant API: Includes PII data about the policy owner that can be used to populate a CRM or marketing automation solution. The policy owner API supports individual policy owners or lists of policy owners.
Agent Profile API: Includes data about the agent that can be used to populate a CRM or marketing automation solution. The agent profile API supports individual agents or lists of agents.
Agent Book of Business API: Includes all of an agent’s policies with information about each individual policy owner and policy. The API can be used to populate apps and tools (e.g. CRM) for pricing or analyzing an agent’s book.
Distributor Book of Business API: Includes all of a distributor’s policies with information about each individual policy owner and policy. The API can be used to populate apps and tools (e.g. CRM, AMS) for pricing and analyzing a distributor’s book.
Carrier Book of Business API: Includes all of a carrier’s downline firms, agents, policy owners and policies constructed in the distributor’s hierarchy. The API can be used to populate third-party databases.
Sales Opportunities API: Includes sales opportunities including renewal and conversion opportunities identified by NIC. The API can be used to update carrier and distributor CRM, AMS and other systems.
Policy Service API: Includes policy service changes initiated by NIC users, and includes address changes, beneficiary and other policy changes. The API can be used to update carrier and distributor CRM, AMS, and other systems.
Standardization in data exchange for annuity inforce data is widely adopted in the financial institution channel using DTCC services between annuity carriers and banks, clearing firms (e.g. NFS and Pershing), independent broker/dealers and wirehouses (e.g. Merrill Lynch and Raymond James). On the life insurance side, ACORD has a Life Inforce Product Group, which I have been a co-chair for the last couple of years. The group’s objective is to standardize life inforce data transactions from notifications like lapse notices, replacements, and conversions to financial transactions like withdrawals and fund allocations on variable life products. The concept of a next generation digital strategy by ACORD is to establish a common approach to setting standards, structures, and implementation guidelines while leveraging ACORD data standards invoking API methods.
Solutions Using Social Media/Online Finding New Sales for Your Inforce Book of Business
There are solutions driven by algorithms used in social media/online like Verisk Jornaya for example. These are strategic products and solutions that help you adapt your marketing and lead buys in real time by incorporating your consumers’ online shopping behavior. A solution like Jornaya takes your inforce book of business and optimizes timing and messaging for improved acquisition, cross-sell, and retention using this technology. This is a model similar to what Google, Facebook, and Amazon use. A good example: If your customer was shopping for a mortgage online, then in real time it could trigger an event where they may need more life insurance. This is a winning formula that will continue to gain traction in the insurance industry moving forward into 2022.