The Battle For The Dashboard

Dashboard

 

November 2019

By: Steve Morelli 

InsuranceNewsNet Magazine

 

Ask Doug Massey why it has been so difficult to create seamless and effective insurance technology and he will take you on an Uber ride from hell — metaphorically speaking, of course

 

Massey knows all about the ride because his career has followed the route of insurance tech itself in the early 1990s, when he started a property and casualty quote engine company as a college student. Later, he worked with leading insurance tech companies such as Ebix.

 

Massey is now the executive vice president for sales and relationship management with Insurance Technologies, which, as the name implies, is a key player in insurance tech. And he said the company is finally closing in on a eureka moment when it all comes together into a seamless insurance tech nirvana.

 

But we are in an age when we can get dinner delivered by drone with a click of the thumb, so why is the life insurance and annuity industry’s tech seemingly stuck?

 

Ah, step inside Massey’s exasperating Uber for an explanation.

 

“Let’s assume I’m using my Uber app and I want to do a ride, but it’s the way insurance works,” Massey began. “I’ve got to open up my Google Maps or my Apple Maps. So, I’ve got to find my location. I have to set a pin for my location. Then I say, ‘OK, well I’ve set my pin for my location. Now I want to share that over to this Uber app.’”

The Big 3 (ACORD, DTCC, & IRI) Meet to Collaborate on Addressing the Challenges of the Industry

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On the last week of July, 2019, insurance industry technology leaders and experts from the Depository Trust Corporation (DTCC), Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) and ACORD had a meeting in New York. For many years the three organizations (ACORD, DTCC and IRI) have worked on countless initiatives that either compliment or overlap their products and services. Representatives from all three organizations do participate in each other’s working groups and committees to sync up and contribute where possible, however this is the first time in recent years that that the three organizations exclusively have met to update each other on key activities and see where they can work together moving forward.

 

Some of the attendees included Jim Quinn- Chief Technology Officer of IRI;  and from DTCC’s Insurance & Retirement Services Division: Barbara Smith – Executive Director and Jeanann Smith, Senior Product Management. ACORD who hosted the meeting had several key people participate such as Malou August – Senior Vice President of Standards & Membership, Karen Mottley – Business Architect of the Life & Annuity Program, and Yolanda Austin who is ACORD’s leading Life & Annuity Consultant.

 

ACORD provided InsurTech Express a quote signed off from leaders of all three organizations, “ACORD, DTCC and IRI met to discuss key initiatives, and identify opportunities to collaborate. Some of the initiatives we discussed were Digital Standards, Distributed Ledger Technology, New Business, Replacement Automation, and Regulation 187 efforts. The initial focus is on annuities, and we also plan to engage industry leaders throughout the broader Life community. We are excited to come together to help guide industry priorities, promote increased standards adoption, and contribute to greater successes within our industry.”  The meeting didn’t only include updating on each organization’s vision and key initiatives, but they also wanted to address the challenges the industry is experiencing today. ACORD, DTCC and IRI realize there are several opportunities where they can better collaborate.

 

The good news is that the meeting was a success! There was progress on getting alignment on issues in today’s initiatives and addressing those for the future. ACORD, DTCC and IRI do have common goals like increasing adoption and promoting standard usage. Not only did they decide to collaborate on the key initiatives mentioned above (Digital Standards, Distributed Ledger Technology, New Business, Replacement Automation and Regulation 187), but it  was agreed upon to continue the conversation and meet again, which includes taking some substantive action like proposing to write a White Paper together for providing guidance in the industry.

 

On the sales and business side of insurance and retirement services, many people don’t realize that the engine behind the seamless automation for submitting new business, paying commissions, money settlement, Inforce services, producer licensing, advocacy and education are all driven or a result of the initiatives by ACORD, DTCC, and IRI. The Big 3 working together will help with speed to market, reducing costs, growing adoption, and driving more implementations making the industry a better place.

 

About ACORD:

ACORD (Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development) is the global standards-setting body for the insurance and related financial services industries. ACORD’s Mission: For nearly 50 years, ACORD has been a non-profit, industry-owned organization that enables the success of the global insurance industry by leveraging the flow of data and information across all insurance stakeholders through relevant and timely data standards.

 

About DTCC Insurance & Retirement Services:

DTCC’s Insurance & Retirement Services (I&RS) offers a suite of streamlined processing and compliance-driven solutions for carriers and their distribution partners — broker/dealers, banks, brokerage general agencies, independent broker/dealers and other firms — through a secure, centralized and automated infrastructure. This infrastructure enables insurance carriers and distributors to exchange information at various points throughout the annuity and life insurance processing cycle.

 

About the Insured Retirement Institute:

The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) is the leading financial services trade association for the retirement income industry. Members represent the entire supply chain of insured retirement strategies, including Insurers, Banks, Asset Managers, Broker-Dealers, Distributors, Financial Advisors and Solution Providers. IRI provides a wealth of educational, research, advocacy, and ops & tech benefits to its members


 

Distribution Technology

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Distribution technology is a big part of InsurTech for Life Insurance, Annuities and Long Term Care Insurance. There are multiple distribution channels in the space (Independent, Financial Institutions, Direct Marketer, Direct to Consumer, and Captive/Career). The various channels sell similar products in their respective lines of business. The solutions that they use are similar and sometimes quite different. What sets them apart even further is the process from sales to new business and from policy delivery to commissions. For example: An independent agent will more likely fill out a paper annuity application on a fixed annuity and submit it to their Brokerage General Agency (BGA). A financial advisor on the other hand who works for a bank will submit the annuity application using the bank’s independent broker dealer’s clearing firm’s  annuity order entry platform (AOE) like Ebix’s AnnuityNet. The process on the back end is using DTCC for settling money for premium and netting commissions. Another example is when an independent agent writes a term life insurance application using a multi-carrier electronic application platform (eApp) like iPipeline’s iGO accessed on a BGAs website. Depending on the carrier and product selected the process may be very different such as a term ticket with tele-interview fulfillment; an eApp with accelerated underwriting; or a simplified issue with predictive underwriting and eSignature.

 

InsurTech Express is the place to get educated on distribution technology.  If you are looking to invest in distribution technology, you will find information on solutions and solution providers at InsurTech Express. There are key industry documents on the home page and resource links on the footer of the site. You will continue to see more information on distribution technology as InsurTech Express evolves. Many other resources of InsurTech for Life and Annuities is also available on InsurTech Express.

 

By Ken Leibow, ken@insurtechexpress.com