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Wink, Inc. Releases Third Quarter, 2020 Life Sales Results

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WHOLE LIFE INSURANCE SALES SHINE AMIDST A DISMAL QUARTER

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Wink, Inc. Releases Third Quarter, 2020 Life Sales Results

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Des Moines, Iowa. November 30, 2020 Wink, Inc. released the third quarter, 2020 life sales results in its 93rd edition of Wink’s Sales & Market ReportWink’s Sales & Market Report is the insurance industry’s #1 resource for life insurance sales data, since 1997.

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Non-variable universal life sales for the third quarter were $624.9 million; down 5.2% when compared to the previous quarter and down 25.7% as compared to the same period last year. Non-variable universal life (UL) sales include both indexed UL and fixed UL product sales.

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Noteworthy highlights for total non-variable universal life sales in the third quarter included National Life Group gaining the #1 ranking overall, for non-variable universal life sales, with a market share of 10.9%. Transamerica’s Transamerica Premier Financial Foundation IUL was the #1 selling product for non-variable universal life sales, for all channels combined.

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Indexed life sales for the third quarter were $503.5 million, down nearly 1.0% when compared with the previous quarter, and down 9.1% as compared to the same period last year. Indexed life sales include both indexed UL and indexed whole life. “Thanks to the challenges of recent product repricing, low rates, market volatility, and Covid-19 challenges- indexed life was lucky to achieve sales that were relatively level from last quarter.”

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Items of interest in the indexed life market included National Life Group gaining the #1 ranking in indexed life sales, with a 13.4% market share. Pacific Life Companies, Transamerica, John Hancock, and Nationwide rounded-out the top five, respectively.

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Transamerica’s Transamerica Premier Financial Foundation IUL was the #1 selling indexed life insurance product, for all channels combined. The top pricing objective for sales this quarter was Cash Accumulation, capturing 66.7% of sales. The average indexed life target premium for the quarter was $10,920, an increase of nearly 2.0% from the prior quarter.

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Fixed UL third quarter sales were $121.7 million, down 19.4% when compared with the previous quarter and down 57.6% as compared to the same period last year. Noteworthy highlights for fixed universal life in the third quarter included the top pricing objective of No Lapse Guarantee capturing 54.3% of sales. The average UL target premium for the quarter was $5,066, a decline of more than 13.0% from the prior quarter. Moore commented, “It will be a miracle if total 2020 UL sales equal whole life insurance sales for a single quarter!”

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Whole life third quarter sales were $1,053.2 million, up 12.9% when compared with the previous quarter, and down more than 10.2% as compared to the same period last year. Items of interest in the whole life market included the top pricing objective of Final Expense capturing 57.7% of sales. The average premium per whole life policy for the quarter was $3,700, a decline of more than 3.0% from the prior quarter. “I anticipate that whole life sales will remain strong through 2020,” commented Moore.

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Wink currently reports on indexed universal life, indexed whole life, universal life, whole life, and all deferred annuity lines’ product sales. Sales reporting on additional product lines will follow in the future.

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For more information, go to www.WinkIntel.com

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Wink, Inc. is the company behind the most comprehensive life insurance and annuity due-diligence tools, AnnuitySpecs and LifeSpecs at www.WinkIntel.com. Wink, Inc. is the distributor of the quarterly Wink’s Sales & Market Report. Serving as the insurance industry’s #1 resource of indexed insurance product sales since 1997, this report provides sales by product, company, crediting method, index, distribution, surrender charge period, and more. Wink’s Sales & Market Report expanded to cover all deferred annuity products in 2015, all deferred variable annuity products in 2019, and all non-variable cash value life insurance products in 2017.

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The staff of Wink, Inc. has a combined experience of more than 175 years working with insurance products, more than a decade of which is specific to competitive intelligence. Based in Des Moines, Iowa, the firm offers competitive intelligence and market research in the life insurance and annuity industries; serving financial services professionals, distributors, manufacturers, regulators, and consultants on both a domestic and global basis.

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Sheryl J. Moore is president and CEO is the guiding force behind Wink, Inc. Ms. Moore previously worked as a market research analyst for top carriers in the life insurance and annuity industries. Her views on the direction of the market are frequently heard in seminars and quoted by industry trade journals.

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November 30, 2020

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Des Moines, IA

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(855) ASK-WINK

illustrate inc launches OPUS™ Mobile, a quoting and illustrations app for life insurance carriers

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Toronto, ON, November 23, 2020 – illustrate inc, a point-of-sale software solutions provider for the North American Life Insurance industry, announced today the launch of OPUS™ Mobile, a downloadable quoting and illustrations app created for Carriers, which will dramatically improve the agent and client experience.

 

OPUS™ Mobile is a powerful sales tool for agents that enables them to provide quotes, illustrations and reports to clients, quickly and easily, on the spot, through their mobile phone. As with illustrate inc’s entire solution set, OPUS™ Mobile is built to be configurable and customizable to the individual needs of specific insurance carriers. It can be used in conjunction with illustrate inc’s other digital solutions, separately, or can integrate with other 3rd party systems and information providers.

Watch The Video to Learn More

“Life Insurance agents and clients are continuously pressed for time. OPUS™ Mobile enables them to respond to consumer expectations where they can deliver complicated information, easier and faster, to facilitate an informed decision,” says Lyndon Edwards, President of illustrate inc. “We’re thrilled to offer this powerful new sales tool to help agents increase the speed at which they can provide quotes and illustrations to prospective clients, and ultimately close more accounts to achieve their growth targets.”

 

illustrate inc is dedicated to helping insurance carriers evolve their organizations to better serve their agents, and current and prospective clients. OPUS™ Mobile is the latest in a line of solutions that aims to deliver state-of-the art tools that facilitate a highly productive, informed and efficient sales process.

 

Learn more at illustrateinc.com or contact us at info@illustrateinc.com.

 

About illustrate inc

Established in 1989, with offices in Toronto and Kansas City, illustrate inc has been building and delivering powerful and innovative web based POS software solutions – including quoting, illustrations, and eApps – for the North American Life Insurance industry, enabling carriers of any size to embark on, extend, or enhance their Digital Transformation.

 

For additional information contact:

 

Anastasia Sudetic

Marketing Manager

illustrate inc

anastasia.sudetic@illustrateinc.com

416-890-8147

The Future of Automation in Life Insurance

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The Future of Automation in Life Insurance

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There are really four areas of technological revolution happening together and at once to reshape the industry: automation, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and cloud. Combined and intertwined, they mark the current disruption that shapes any discussion on the future in life insurance

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Cloud computing has been around since the 1960s, though only adopted for mainstream use in the last twenty years. Widespread cloud acceptance means uninterrupted access to data. If you think about it, this mirrors the same timeline for many types of records and databases. Twenty years ago, most medical records were not even electronic; the big push was to get industry-wide acceptance of electronic medical records by 2014. Constant access is a new phenomenon.

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Big data means we have more complex data sets from new places. More connected devices in the world means more data. Think of late generation devices and the data they collect: exercise wearables, fitness apps, smart TVs, smart vehicles, and even surgically implanted medical devices collect information about you. The implications for the insurance industry are undeniably massive. Insurance companies will be able to leverage data assets for strategic decision making, sometimes in real time. Constant access to next-level data offers insurers new insights into risk mitigation, and new avenues to recognize and seize opportunities.

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Such opportunities may be just in time to address generational challenges. Millennials have shown a general unwillingness to buy life insurance. Not only that, but they are less likely to join the insurance workforce. Millennials prefer the more lucrative tech-jobs.

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Part of the reason why is that legacy industry entry-level jobs had long been filled with mundane, repetitive, routine-type tasks – the very same jobs that are being replaced by a combination of AI and automation. Underwriting is a perfect example. The job has traditionally required repetitive, time-consuming, manual processes that once provided a small army of young professionals with industry experience. Underwriting was a paperwork-laden task. Today, the desire for fast decisions combined with 24/7 access to increased data sources means the role can be performed electronically and instantly. It’s not uncommon for the technology firms that service insurers to process 19 out of 20 insurance applications immediately and without any human intervention.

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Digital transformation across the industry has delivered business agility but transforming has been more about survival. 44% of policyholders surveyed in 2019 stated they would change carriers if they couldn’t access and service their account electronically.

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The future of life insurance involves a heavy dosage of the same four ingredients: automation, AI, big data, and cloud working together to provide new growth opportunities with the same old-world concept of security. Look for more data, increased reliability, and immediate decisions made with less human intervention.

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Ushering the industry into tomorrow are technology and automation firms like Management Research Services (MRS). MRS helps carriers streamline their application system with their no-code platform. Underwriting decisions can be made in just moments and at the point of sale. With voice and electronic signature capability, the MRS system allows for a time-to-issue of just a few minutes. For carriers seeking a technology partner that provides AI-based automated insurance services and solutions, learn more at www.managementresearchservices.com.

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Firms Using iPipeline’s InsureSight Data Analytics Increased Life Insurance Placements by 9% for Perm, 3% for Term

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InsureSight Data Analytics Enable Agents/Advisors to Break Through COVID-19 Challenges to Sell

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Exton, PA (November 10, 2020) – iPipeline® – a leading provider of low code cloud-based software solutions for the life insurance and financial services industry – today reported, for the period ranging from March to August 2020, five top firms using InsureSight® Data Analytics increased placement for permanent insurance products by 9% and term insurance products by 3% above the industry averages. This resulted in a $7.3 million increase in sales for the five firms during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Developed by iPipeline’s data analytics and data science team, the InsureSight® Data Analytics leverages data from iPipeline’s Agency Management System (AMS), which is comprised of 300+ Distributors, 70+ Carriers, 800,000+ annual application submissions, $8 Billion+ in annuity deposits, and $4 Billion+ in life premium within the industry. Real-time performance metrics for a participating firm are benchmarked against the industry to deliver a holistic view and drive improvement.

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“Nothing thrills me more than to see our customers benefiting from our digital products during the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges to customer engagement are real, and selling in the contactless environment is extremely difficult,” said Larry Berran, CEO, iPipeline. “InsureSight Data Analytics is an extremely powerful and insightful tool for top management to use in benchmarking performance both within their unique environments as well as on a national basis. It not only provides knowledge about how you stack up against the competition, but it enables top management to evaluate what is being sold, where, and to whom to fine tune operations and optimize sales on a demographic and geographic basis. Being able to analyze white space for a product portfolio and identify viable markets is invaluable when things are tough. InsureSight is making a difference and proving to be a critical service in today’s marketplace.”

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“As an early adopter of iPipeline’s InsureSight Data Analytics, AgencyOne began to see and measure data points that we had never looked at before. We had a gut feeling about the success of our business, but we could not prove it other than by looking at our revenue,” said Gonzalo Garcia, Partner, AgencyOne. “To understand more about our business and people, we worked with iPipeline to develop the ‘advisor scorecard’ functionality of the system. By measuring each advisor’s business relationship with us and more importantly, communicating that information to our advisors on a quarterly basis, all parties are held accountable for the success of each other. It became a true business partnership. From there, we were able to have some very real conversations—using factual data points—to enhance services for productive relationships and terminate non-productive ones, resulting in long term, mutual profitability and growth.”

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“Lion Street has an intense focus on connecting high-net-worth individuals, family offices, business owners, and corporate clients with the best financial solutions to meet both their short- and long-term needs. Our ability to understand all their current and future needs has a profound impact on our performance,” said Dan Stanley, Vice President Operations, Lion Street. “iPipeline’s InsureSight Data Analytics provides the ability to quickly and efficiently identify service gaps and adjust both internally and externally to strategically plan our next move, and this has positively impacted our placement ratios in a very difficult year.”

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“As a data driven firm, having immediate insight into the dynamics of our business enables us to understand how we are performing as an integrated operation to address the needs of our customers and agents. This is particularly critical in today’s marketplace given the challenges,” said Mac Chrystal, President & CEO, Gen3 Advisor Group. “InsureSight Data Analytics is a powerful and rapidly enabled service, which has allowed Gen3 to react in real-time to all activities within our business process. There is no question that it has improved how we function as a team and driven record growth for us during the COVID-19 pandemic period.”

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To learn how you can implement iPipeline’s InsureSight Data Analytics to improve agent selling for permanent and term insurance products, contact sales@ipipeline.com or call 1-800-758-0824, option 2.

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About iPipeline

iPipeline is a leading provider of low code, cloud-based software solutions for the life insurance and financial services industry. Through our SSG Digital, end-to-end platform, we accelerate and simplify sales, compliance, operations, and support. We provide process automation and seamless integration between every participant in our ecosystem including carriers, agents, general agencies, advisors, broker-dealers, RIAs, banks, securities/mutual fund firms, and their consumers on a global basis. Our innovative solutions include pre-sales support, new business and underwriting, policy administration, point-of-sale execution of applications, post-sale support, data analysis, reporting, user-driven configuration, consumer delivery and self-service, and agency and firm management.

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iPipeline’s platform is used by approximately 150 carriers, 1,400 distributors and financial institutions, and their agents and licensed advisors in a cloud-based environment. With headquarters in Exton, Pennsylvania, iPipeline has locations in Boston, Bromley (UK), Burlington (Canada), Cheltenham (UK), Dallas, Davidson, Fort Lauderdale, Huntersville, Ontario (CA), Philadelphia, Pleasanton, and Salt Lake City. Visit www.ipipeline.com.

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About AgencyOne
AgencyOne works with a select group of life insurance and wealth advisors across the nation who specialize in the needs of high net worth clients. AgencyOne delivers full-service, back office support to our advisors so that they can focus on the client experience. By working with a select group of advisors, we help clients protect their financial security and transition their wealth in an orderly manner. We employ our talents and resources in medical underwriting, insurance-based solutions, and advanced planning techniques to deliver a highly personalized service platform. Our objective is to be recognized as the leading Brokerage General Agency in the country by the most successful insurance and wealth advisors serving the affluent marketplace. Visit us at www.agencyone.net.

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About Lion Street
Lion Street is a leading financial services company based in Austin, Texas. Lion Street provides elite life insurance advisors access to the financial products, intellectual capital, and specialized resources they need to meet the sophisticated needs of high-net-worth and corporate clients. Together, Lion Street’s Advisor-Owners are strongly committed to building a highly collaborative network of professionals. Visit us at www.lionstreet.com.

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About Gen3 Advisor Group
Gen3 is a family owned and operated IMO located in Youngstown, Ohio. Our goal is to help top insurance professionals and financial advisors simplify their businesses and better serve their clients through every step of the planning process. With a broad portfolio of life and annuity products, sales platforms, back-office, and marketing support, Gen3 is here to help producers grow. We’d love for you to join the family. To learn more, visit us at gen3advisor.com.

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For iPipeline:
Lisa Shea
Marketing
lshea@ipipeline.com
484-870-6234

Covid-19 And Life Insurance

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COVID-19 And Life Insurance

The pandemic is a game-changer. There’s no way around the evidence: closed schools, stock market volatility, shuttered small businesses, and a swamped healthcare system. With civil discourse at an all-time low, we might need to wait for history to decide what happened.

With every sea change comes opportunity; some industries have found a boom amidst the chaos. Courier and logistics services have experienced massive growth with online shopping and doorstep deliveries. Online education is in the midst of an unprecedented heyday. Video streaming services exploded during the initial Spring lockdowns; production teams are now scrambling to keep up with demand in a forever changed television landscape. Another pandemic-time growth industry: life insurance.

The significant rise in policies sold during 2020 is especially notable because it reverses a decade-long downturn. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of Americans holding a life-insurance policy dropped from 63% to 54%. That’s 16 million less people over ten years, even though the country’s population grew by 21 million.

Declines in the number of Americans holding a life insurance policy have been something of a mystery. Life expectancy has steadily increased, but fewer Americans were choosing to buy policies. One would reasonably assume ownership to rise among middle and lower-level earners, but that’s not what happened. Experts point to factors like declines in group policy sales, higher premiums, and more restrictions for an older population, though they don’t really explain the failure to reach younger generations.

Whatever caused the slump, it might be over. The second and third quarters of 2020 have shown sharp increases in policies sold, some months with double-digit percentile increases over 2019. Americans see that good health and a long life is no longer something we can take for granted as COVID-19 has increased our awareness of our own mortality. Daily reminders of tragic losses and spiraling infection rates have set off a round of panic-buying the country has not seen since 9/11.

A new landscape comes along with some new restrictions. Insurers cannot deny claims due to COVID-19, but many firms are restricting underwriting for certain at-risk groups. Individuals over 60 with heart or lung issues, diabetes, or obesity might encounter raised premiums or denials. For individuals over 70 options are even more restrictive.

Finding out your options has never been easier. Online marketplace applications use reflexive questioning to customize each application in a manner that satisfies underwriters. Behind the scenes, medical records are retrieved electronically allowing policy decisions in just moments. Naturally, prospective buyers like the ability to compare rates and options with such immediacy. Growth during the pandemic would have encountered bottlenecks and obstacles with the industry’s old model, which required meeting with an agent and scheduling a doctor’s appointment.

The industry’s new model relies on next-generation application and underwriting processes from firms like Management Research Services (MRS). MRS offers customized insurance underwriting solutions to support a range of insurance services. We can assist with your new business applications and underwriting processes through our proprietary technology and no-code platforms. Together, the MRS no-code technology and services represent a one-stop solution that reduces customer acquisition costs and saves time and overall resources for insurance carriers.

No one can say if or when the pandemic will end. Virus experts contend COVID-19 might never go away, but vaccines and treatments will turn it into something much easier for all of us to live with. As things change, MRS’s flexible system can and will change with it. Our technology is built to allow for progressively more complex underwriting and scripting scenarios. For more information on how MRS is helping insurance companies look toward a better tomorrow, visit their website at www.managementresearchservices.com .

To read more articles related to MRS and Life Insurance click here: https://managementresearchservices.com/mrs-blogs

 

What Is The Latest Technical Jargon For Life Insurtech Point-Of-Sale And Underwriting Solutions?

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Published in BrokerWorld Magazine November 2020

By Ken Leibow

 

Have you started reading a book and then come across a word that you do not know the meaning of like, for example, “patulous?” It can be frustrating to look it up and, in some cases, you still may not grasp the full meaning. Software vendors today are marketing their solutions using words like “API,” “No Code,” “Low Code,” and “AI.” You are not exactly sure what they mean especially for life insurance technology. My objective is to help you not only understand the definition of these terms, but also understand how they are being applied to the life insurance point-of-sale tools and underwriting solutions used today by carriers, agencies and agents.

 

API
An acronym you often hear these days in the technology world is “API.” This stands for Application Programming Interface, which is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. Have you ever used PayPal to pay for something you are purchasing online directly within an eCommerce store like BestBuy.com? After you add your item to the virtual shopping cart and go to check-out, you see a payment option button for PayPal. When the user clicks the “Pay with PayPal” button, the application sends an “order” request to the PayPal API, specifying the amount owed and other important details. Then, a pop-up authenticates the user and confirms their purchase. Finally, if the PayPal process is successful, the API sends confirmation of payment back to the application thereby finalizing the payment of the purchased item. In the life insurance world, there are many examples of an API being utilized. If you are a BGA using an agency management system (AMS) to process new business life cases, you may see functionality that allows you to schedule an exam or order other requirements from a paramed vendor like ExamOne. The agency management system is using an API from the paramed vendor to facilitate the requirement order. It is seamless to the user, while the API is doing the work behind the scenes to execute the requirement order.

 

“Low Code” and “No Code”
Two other popular terms you see today are “Low Code” and “No Code.” I am going to give you the most common business definition as it is being marketed for insurtech applications. Let’s start with “No Code”: A good example in life insurance technology is a “No Code” life insurance eApp platform. When a carrier adds its products to an eApp platform, there are three critical items that need to be setup:

  •  Life insurance product rules;
  • Questions asked to complete the life insurance application; and,
  • Mapping the data to all the State-specific forms.

 

When eApp was first developed decades ago, setting up the three items above required a software developer to program code, then extensive quality assurance testing had to be done, and finally you had to wait for a major release before the carrier’s products were in production ready for agents to submit life business on the eApp platform. This typically was a long process to set up. As the years went by, less programming (hard-coded) was required because of the configuration tools that were developed to help make changes to the software application. Now fast forward to 2020. A No-Code eApp platform means that setting up the life insurance product rules, the questions, and the forms, is completely self-service and does not even need to be administered by a technical person. So, when you see software advertised as “No Code” it usually means you can set it up and configure it on your own.

 

Low Code is a visual approach to software development. Low Code abstracts and automates every step of the application lifecycle to enable rapid delivery of a variety of software solutions. It breaks the traditional silos of business and IT to promote continuous collaboration. When a software vendor is enhancing their system with new functionality instead of programming raw code, they use a graphic interface drawing workflow and moving objects around. If you are buying software from a vendor who is advertising Low Code, then it simply means speed and ease in releasing enhancements, fixes, and new functionality. In life Insurtech today you will see Low Code for eApp, eDelivery, and Underwriting Workbenches for carriers just to name a few types of Low-Code platforms that are available.

 

AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is sprayed everywhere in vendor solutions and processes. There are an enormous amount of ways that AI is being used in our everyday lives. The obvious example is Alexa from Amazon or Siri from Apple. You can ask Siri to play a specific song, or turn on the lights in your house, or schedule a calendar appointment. But it can do more sophisticated tasks like knowing where you are with your GPS and telling you that you will be late for your appointment because your location is too far away for example. Artificial intelligence is based on the principle that human intelligence can be defined in a way that a machine can easily mimic and execute tasks, from the simplest to those that are even more complex. The goals of artificial intelligence include learning, reasoning, and perception. AI programs require training—meaning the more data you feed it, the more intelligent it becomes. When we see AI being mentioned in the life insurance new business process or in insurtech applications, what do they really mean? A great example is eNoah’s eXtract Plus solution. It uses AI to take a 200 page Attending Physician Statement (APS) and make it a searchable document (extracting vitals, medications and key information) for a life underwriter. eXtract Plus can also render medical records and lab documents with hyperlinks and cover pages. This information can be utilized to create APS summaries or validate that APS summaries are complete and accurate.

 

Point-of-Sale and Underwriting Solutions
iPipeline offers a transformational Resonant® Point-of-Sale (POS) decision solution that makes the customer experience quick and easy—like buying auto insurance. This enables a carrier and distributor to sell profitable life insurance protection to middle market consumers. Unlike today’s traditional process of quoting teaser rates only to find out the final premium after underwriting, Resonant POS decisioning changes the dynamic so that underwriting is completed at the point of sale. Answers to medical questions are combined with data received from industry leading evidence and predictive model vendors to provide instant decisions with the final premium needed to complete the sale in one sitting. Resonant integrates with iPipeline’s Quote, iGO® e-Application, and DocFast® e-Delivery automated solutions to manage and control the entire underwriting and new business process from simplified issue to fully underwritten complex cases and other lines of business.

 

Management Research Services, Inc. (MRS) has developed new tools on its no-code sales and new business platform that focus on increasing the speed of issuing insurance policies. MRS has enhanced APS retrieval by integrating with electronic health record (EHR) data partners. Working with the insurance carrier, MRS will integrate an EHR to make an automated decision and issue the insurance policy at the point of sale (similar to how a Rx or MIB integration is used). Additionally, MRS is reimaging the case management and underwriter workbench by providing better tools for the insurance carrier to order requirements. This means that instead of reactively ordering requirements that may add days/weeks to the issuance timeline, the insurance carrier can use MRS’s highly configurable rules engine to write rules that will anticipate ordering requirements needed during the point-of-sale process. This will provide busy underwriters with all the information needed to review and issue the policy, resulting in a much faster and more efficient issuance.

 

The two solution providers mentioned above are leveraging these technologies (APIs, No Code, Low Code, and/or AI) in their platforms that carriers, agencies and agents use every day. You can see this is much more than connecting systems, it is an integrated process. The value of the entire new business flow, from applying for life insurance to passing into the carrier fulfillment process, is seamless, intelligent, and fast because of these underlying technologies. Each new innovative deployment helps agents provide a better experience for their customers and, as a result, place more business.

 

 

Agent Tools For Prospecting, eRetail Sales And Applying For Insurance

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InsuranceNewsNet

Published in InsuranceNewsNet Magazine written by Ken Leibow

 

Life Insurance professionals need to leverage technology to engage with existing and prospective clients directly or indirectly.  Growing sales and placing more business today requires consumer-facing insurance tools, and the integration of agent sales tools with quoting and electronic applications (eApp). There are new technology sales solutions for agents to use and new models like eRetail selling and social media marketing. However, an agent’s sales and marketing technology foundation must begin with subscribing online to a customer relationship management system.

 

CRM For Agents

The power of a customer relationship management (CRM) tool serves as the backbone to your practice. Your success depends on making your clients better off so that they place a high value on your services. And to do that, you need to understand their finances and needs better than they do. You can gain that understanding with an intelligent technology CRM solution that helps you analyze, serve and communicate with your clients in the most efficient way possible. There are many benefits to a CRM for an insurance agent or advisor, starting with contact management. You can store comprehensive contact information, demographic data and notes about your clients. You can keep track of their financial goals and personal and professional milestones.

 

The work involved in prospecting and the cost of customer acquisition requires you to maximize every contact. A CRM also helps you manage your calendar and drive your day with extensive task and appointment management features. You can record outcomes to activities, create follow-ups, and receive text or e-mail reminders. Most CRMs offer reports out of the box and custom reporting capabilities. You can mine your client data for marketing and upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Generate clear, attractive reports for your clients to help them understand their finances. CRMs are known for their sales leads and opportunity-tracking capabilities for prospecting. You can create multistage opportunity processes to help you systematically identify, contact and follow up with prospects. Link opportunities with marketing campaigns to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Sales tracking is also an important feature. Most CRMs today have a dashboard as soon as you log in that shows your sales metrics, appointments and follow-ups, with graphics and easy navigation for your day-to-day interactions with your clients. There are mobile app versions of CRMs or browser optimized for your smartphone or tablet for when you are mobile.

 

The difference between a business agnostic CRM like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 compared with a CRM already set up for life insurance agents and financial advisors such as Ebix SmartOffice and AgencyBloc is policy and investment tracking. You also want to exchange data easily and automatically with your CRM and other trading partners in the life insurance sales process. There are models where a CRM may be available by your upline general agency, in which they can feed your CRM pending case status on your submitted business. Some CRMs are set up to receive data from carriers and broker-dealers, in which you can get data imported into your CRM on in-force information on placed policies and investments. Another benefit of data exchange with your CRM is to integrate it with life insurance quoting and illustration systems as well as pre-populating your client information with an eApp platform for applying and submitting business. This reduces the amount of data entry and provides tracking information on proposals and submitted business. Vendors such as iPipeline offer these types of integrations like with iPipeline’s LifePipe term insurance comparison quoting tool and its iGO eApp platform.

 

eRetail Tools For Agents

There is a new trend in the industry where quoting and eApp are offered by agents for consumers to use. These consumer-facing tools are not for a carrier direct-to-consumer sales model, but a way to market insurance products online and in social media while still maintaining the agent ecosystem. It frees up agents to focus on sales and marketing. Prospective customers can buy insurance anytime 24/7, and you get paid your commission. Millennials, for example, who are or are soon to be the biggest insurance-buying target market, prefer self-service purchasing but still want the agent available for expertise as needed.

 

For example, BackNine insurance agency offers agents consumer-facing tools for an agent’s website called “Quote & Apply,” where the consumer can run a multi-carrier term insurance quote from top carriers such as Protective Life, American General and Banner Life on simplified term insurance. The client then chooses a carrier, completes a simple questionnaire, schedules an exam and e-signs. This works on a laptop or mobile device. The agent’s contact information, or even in some cases a chat feature, is available for assisting the client as needed. Another example is Nimbus Insurance “Click-To-Buy.” Nimbus is an agency that offers some alternative insurance products like term insurance (up to $1 million without an exam), final expense guarantee issue, AD&D and HMA insurance from top carriers. The agent gets a unique URL that they can market in social media such as Facebook and Google. In both agencies, once the agent gets contracted and appointed, the software is free for them to use. As clients submit and pay for business in the self-service quoting and eApp insurance tools, the agent gets paid their commission. You, as an agent, are acting as an eRetailer of insurance.

 

Hybrid Agent To Customer Self-Service

There is another new model that is being offered by life carriers to independent agents. For example, ApplicInt is a vendor that has a quoting and eApp platform called U*Complete. The agent will run a multi-carrier quote, and then select the carrier and complete a drop ticket. The agent then emails a link to the client. The customer is securely authenticated when they click on the link. The customer then completes the rest of Part A of the life insurance application, and Part B with medical questions is optional. The next step is e-signing the forms. Live chat with a call center is available for assistance. There is a warm transfer to the call center. An exam will be scheduled if needed. The forms and the data are then automatically sent to the carrier. The U*Complete software is offered by the carrier and free for the agent to use.

 

With COVID-19, remote-selling life insurance is critical. There is an acceleration of consumer-facing sales technology solutions for remotely prospecting and engaging with customers from a sales and marketing perspective to applying for insurance. Using a CRM to track and manage your prospects and clients is where you must begin as an agent. You should then partner with general agencies and carriers that offer tools to help you engage directly or indirectly with consumers for marketing, quoting and applying for insurance.

 

Management Research Services Continues To Advance And Excel!

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Management Research Services (MRS) has been able to stay on a positive path of growth and prosperity in 2020.  We offer an unmatched customer service experience that keeps us at the forefront with our clients and the insurance industry.  With quick response times and dedicated staff members, we always put our clients and partners first.  As a core value of the company, customer service is embedded in the culture at MRS.  Elco Mutual Life and Annuity had this to say about the customer service experience MRS provided to them. “In short, MRS has been great. We see tasks quickly going from start to finish with plenty of communication in-between. I would say they do an excellent job of identifying potential issues, offering suggestions, and keeping us updated as we progress. Communication in meetings is clear and concise, and emails are bountiful with information, but not overwhelming. Testing has gone smoothly too. When we identify an issue or decide to adjust, they have made the necessary changes promptly to keep the project on schedule. Overall, the project has been a very positive experience, and we are pleased with their performance.”  This type of service cannot be done without the dedication of our employees.  When an employee gets hired by MRS, it is not just an apply and start type of hiring experience.  MRS puts an emphasis and trust in their employees to be the experts in the field and the interview process guides the applicants to be confident, secure, and ready to go the moment they join the team.  Since the pandemic of 2020 started, many businesses and industries have had to adjust.  Plans for growth and expansion have had to be halted as the world reacts to life during this unprecedented time. MRS has not had to stop operations or plans for growth and expansion, in fact, MRS has been able to significantly grow from 80 to 120 employees since March.

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How has MRS been able thrive in 2020 during the pandemic?  

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The first and biggest reason was MRS’s ability to allow employees to work from home.  Prior to the pandemic 50% of the staff was already working from home and processes were already in place to allow for the organization to transfer to a virtual/home office environment quickly.  The next reason was the innovative vision and foresight of the tech team.  They were a key player in transforming from an in person to virtual working environment. They were able to get the rest of the MRS employees transferred over to virtual offices in under a week and without interruption to the daily workflow.  The tech team acted instantly and MRS adapted quickly.  Another key reason that has allowed MRS to thrive is the software technology currently in place within the company. This technology that MRS created allowed to hire rapidly and train new employees quickly.  The last reason MRS has thrived during the pandemic is that the company has been able to be flexible and adapt.  From client transactions to customer service inquiries, MRS developed solutions that were quick, easy, and efficient.   These transformations allowed MRS to keep growing and advancing, and they are now currently over 120 total employees.  With expansion comes growth and MRS has been able to do both in 2020.

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At MRS, we help clients transform change into a competitive advantage.

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MRS provides a high-end technology product to life, health, and annuity insurance industries.  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.  MRS has invested heavily in our technology platform to create a foundation for the next revolution in life insurance.  MRS’s 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.  Our platform’s ability to support powerful reflexive logic makes the MRS rules engine extremely efficient in collecting all information needed to make a point-of-sale decision.  The capabilities and flexibility of our platform allow customers to use the MRS technology platform as their single solution or as a tool to support and enhance current technology solutions they already have in place.  Please visit us at www.managementresearchservices.com or contact us by email at sales@mrsreps.com to learn more!

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LexisNexis Risk Solutions and ExamOne Combine Leading Prescription and Laboratory Testing Data with Non-medical Data Science to Improve Risk Identification for Life Insurance Underwriting

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ATLANTA — LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, a leading provider of data, analytics and technology for the insurance industry, and ExamOne®, a Quest Diagnostics company and leading laboratory and prescription history data provider for life insurance, announced a strategic relationship to offer insurance carriers a next-generation life mortality model to underwrite new policies. The collaboration allows life insurers to more confidently expand age and policy ranges, utilize data in a more consistent, cost-effective manner, and deliver better experiences to consumers within minutes versus weeks using LexisNexis® Risk Classifier.

 

Combining the current Risk Classifier model from LexisNexis Risk Solutions – which includes public records, credit attributes and driving behavior data – with ExamOne’s accelerated medical solution historical laboratory testing and prescription information creates an underwriting solution that contains data sources to form a single, predictive mortality score that is unique to the market. This combination of the data will help life insurers evaluate relevant data into one streamlined and integrated model, assisting in the carrier’s overall underwriting decision process.

 

“Collaborating with LexisNexis Risk Solutions demonstrates our commitment to help life insurers transform their workflows as well as simplify, streamline and accelerate the completion window of application to policy issuance for a better customer experience,” said Joey Grant, president of ExamOne“We are pleased with the preliminary results illustrating how our extensive data assets, including clinical laboratory history databases and prescription history, can be used in combination with LexisNexis Risk Classifier data to help life insurers offer consumers the protection they need for their families.”

 

“Life insurers can benefit from unprecedented lift when combining these data sets into one streamlined model,” said Debra Gangelhoff, vice president and general manager, Life Insurance, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “The industry is seeing heightened pressure to speed up the traditional application process to meet the needs of consumers who increasingly have less tolerance for long underwriting cycle times, all while maintaining a touchless process to comply with social distancing guidelines. Incorporating historical laboratory, prescription history and medical claims data into Risk Classifier provides insurers an alternative to obtaining medical information from traditional paramedical exams and laboratory testing.  We are proud to help life insurers innovate and are excited about the analysis we’ve been delivering with ExamOne to continue challenging the status quo by creating a better process.”

 

Working together, LexisNexis Risk Solutions and ExamOne can help life insurers gain a unique competitive advantage, reduce risk and expenses, and improve carrier workflows. This collaboration can arm life insurers with relevant data, using one streamlined and integrated mortality model. It is important to note that the combined product will meet the applicable legal and regulatory requirements around consumer authorization for the disclosure and use of consumer information.

 

For more information on LexisNexis Risk Classifier, please click here.

 

About LexisNexis Risk Solutions
LexisNexis Risk Solutions harnesses the power of data and advanced analytics to provide insights that help businesses and governmental entities reduce risk and improve decisions to benefit people around the globe. We provide data and technology solutions for a wide range of industries including insurance, financial services, healthcare and government. Headquartered in metro Atlanta, Georgia, we have offices throughout the world and are part of RELX (LSE: REL/NYSE: RELX), a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. For more information, please visit www.risk.lexisnexis.com and www.relx.com.

 

About ExamOne
ExamOne, A Quest Diagnostics Company, is a leading provider in the risk assessment industry who is committed to empowering decisions with health-based insights. Through in-depth personal history and national specimen collection capabilities, as well as access to instant health-based data, we provide quick and reliable health insights for life insurers. For more information, please visit ExamOne.com.

 

The Latest In Sales Illustrations, Paramed Exams And Client Engagement

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Published in Broker World Magazine in October 2020

 

There has been a lot reported on the impact of COVID-19 to the life insurance industry. I wanted to research this from a different perspective. Starting with sales illustration vendors from changes to carrier projects to how BGAs and agents are engaging with their clients. Next, I was curious about the truth regarding paramed exams. You will be surprised at what the paramed vendors revealed. Also, there is a growing trend for life insurance carriers using solution platforms to remotely engage with their policy owners.

 

Sales Illustrations
Let’s take a look at two types of illustration vendors to see how their businesses have changed since COVID-19. The first is illustrate inc. who works with carriers. They have modular point of sales solutions that run quotes, illustrations and eApps on both mobile and desktop devices for life insurance agents and consumers. illustrate inc. works on carrier digital point of sales projects customizing their solutions to integrate in the life insurance sales experience. The second type of illustration vendor is Ensight who focuses on the distribution side. Ensight has a modern multi-carrier intelligent quoting platform with a presentation solution used by BGAs for case design and analyzing permanent products like index universal life to visually help the agent explain the benefits of the UL product to their clients.

 

The feedback we received from illustrate inc. is that their business continued uninterrupted due to COVID-19, however they did see an impact on short term projects with some life insurance carriers as they shifted their immediate attention towards their own operations. Carriers recognize the impact COVID-19 has had on their distribution channels, clients, and operations, which has led them to start to reevaluate and review their current digital strategies to ensure that they’re aligned with the new business environment. Lyndon Edwards, president of illustrate inc., stated, “We’ve experienced a significant increase in conversations, largely due to COVID-19, with carriers who are ramping up their digital capabilities. This ranges from those just starting to look for a practical solution to those who see this as an opportunity to expand on their existing capabilities, as the pandemic has reinforced the need for automated and digital services from both a sales and business continuity perspective. Vendors, like us at illustrate inc., must be flexible, nimble, and innovative to deal with the changing requirements, immediate needs, and long-term scalability and sustainability of our solutions in order to support carriers and provide continuous value.”

 

From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ensight has seen a dramatic shift to the remote sales engagement model on virtual meetings such as Zoom and Go To Meeting—whether it is BGA case designers and wholesalers virtually supporting producers and financial professionals on key cases or providing product training, or life and annuity producers engaging with prospects over the Zoom to help fulfill the increased demand driven by the pandemic, or financial advisors, almost 50 percent of whom were already moving to a virtual client engagement model, interactively walking clients through the benefits of life insurance. Bill Unrue, CEO of Ensight, commented, “At Ensight, we have seen a dramatic shift towards the virtual sales experience with growth of 155 percent in just the last three months. We have also been supporting hundreds of wholesalers and financial professionals on a weekly basis via webinars and interactive training sessions to enable interactive client engagements on remote meetings. The pandemic has acted as an accelerant in the march toward digital transformation for the life and annuity sector. The rapid and agile response over the last seven months to COVID-19 bodes well for returning the sector to long-term growth and wider financial protection in society.”

 

Paramed Exams
APPS Paramedical Services has been able to not only “make it through” the initial stages of the COVID-19 crisis, APPS has seen significant paramedical exam order volume increases, and completions that are exceeding year over year projections. Joe Klein, SVP of National Accounts at APPS, was eager to provide some details, “As we entered mid-March, Coronavirus and uncertainty were at an all-time height in the U.S. Markets were shaken, neighborhoods were rocked, and many people hunkered down in isolation. Life insurance sales fell sharply, and paramedical exam orders were only half of what was expected. Fortunately, APPS responded by pulling together non-N95 masks and other PPE. Exam services continued, albeit slower, but fortunately in line with the speed of sales. Only four to six weeks later Americans were back in the saddle. The paramedical exam orders were flowing full force. Sure, some carriers deferred exams in lieu of higher rating offers, but those that saw their applicants’ continued desire to be fully medically underwritten had their exams completed and completed safely. Thus far into the pandemic the number of exams completed by APPS eclipses half a million. Paramedical exams are getting completed safely every day in the privacy of applicants’ homes. APPS is proud to not only help more Americans secure the financial security of their families, we are proud to serve our underwriting customers as they ensure the correct decisions are being made.”

 

As some actuaries are predicting, the mortality impact of COVID-19 will stretch far past the missed doctors’ appointments for preventative health and skyrocketing binge drinking. Just take a read of the newly published Hank George article titled Dire Diagnosis—COVID-19, the Great Recession, and the coming underwriting apocalypse. You will find it a sobering reminder that right now, more than ever, the value of fluids results cannot be replaced.

 

I spoke with a second paramedical service provider, MediPro Direct. Ryan Janeway, president and CEO, stated, “The impact of the SARS-CoV2 virus (COVID-19) on the insurance industry is significant. As a paramedical service provider, we experienced an immediate decline in exams being performed due to state and community shutdowns, economic uncertainty, and an increase by carriers in the policy amount requirement for these exams. We also experienced the demise of one of our largest competitors due directly to the impact of this virus on their business. As an organization MediPro Direct was well positioned to respond to these market shifts, having already established a virtual office environment for our entire national team and utilizing secure and redundant cloud services for our case management systems. Our multifaceted business meant we were also able to hire some of the top talent made available by the sudden shut-down of our competitor, further increasing our ability to exceed client expectations.” In addition to operational consistency and data security, MediPro Direct was able to provide its field examiners with immediate access to PPE, as well as PCR and antigen testing through MediPro Direct’s genetic and clinical lab. This meant the safety for examiners and the applicants they service was never in question. Ryan continued optimistically, “Looking forward, we see the future of the insurance industry requiring a more data conscious and capable paramedical network, including access to data on the health of the examiners in the field. With one the largest examiner networks in the nation, real-time reporting through our Quality First system, and examiner health tracking, MediPro Direct is ready to lead the way.”

 

I reached out to IMS-Insurance Medical Services to see if there was a change in the number of examiners being recruited. IMS offers a full array of services to assist with the pre-underwriting process such as paramedical examinations, attending physician statements, criminal background checks and motor vehicle reports. IMS is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. They have a national network of over 5,000 paramedical examiners nationwide. Bilal Saeed, VP of Operations at IMS, Paramed Inc. responded, “In spite of COVID-19, we have observed our business has grown due to increased awareness of life insurance and in result we have fully prepared our field staff to wear complete personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times during all examinations in the field. Our recruiting efforts of field examiners has doubled to meet the demands of the life insurance industry.”

 

Life Insurance Consumer Engagement Platforms
Sureify, a leader in digital enablement in the life insurance arena, has spent the past several years preparing carriers for a moment such as this. The pandemic has illuminated blind spots in the industry, especially reliance on disjointed, disconnected legacy systems that are proving wholly ineffective for remote selling, service and engagement. The Lifetime Platform is focused on helping carriers sell, engage and service with one enterprise platform that was developed to empower insurers and their agents to act, interact, and react in real time—via digital means. Sureify’s LifetimeEngage uses a collection of data and analytics to create robust engagement programs (financial education, health and lifestyle) that foster a life-long relationship with policyholders, while LifetimeAcquire drives placement rates via quoting, e-application, automated underwriting and new business transmission, and LifetimeService offers in-force customers a comprehensive self-service portal and native applications. CEO Dustin Yoder says that, “Sureify has seen significant growth as traditional insurers come to realize the positives (cost savings, functional improvement, and the enhanced ability to meet policyholder expectations) that come with the new digital landscape.”

 

As expected, the initial month of COVID-19 stalled businesses across the industry. Soon after, digital point of sales projects with carriers picked right up. Vendors used innovation to adapt sales illustration solutions to help agents virtually sell to their clients. Paramed exams, contrary to what many believe, are busier than ever today, and life carriers are looking to consumer engaging platforms to service their policyholders.