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.

 

eNoah: An Interview with Coleen Moser

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Hank George Interviews Coleen Moser 

Originally published in Hot Notes September, 2020

 

Several of my friends lost their livelihoods when EMSI suddenly shut down. We offered to assist them in their hunt for new opportunities. That is when we found about eNoah.

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We want Hot Notes readers to get a proverbial “bird’s eye view” at what eNoah does, and we asked my friend Coleen if she would do this interview and answer the questions we have.

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She said “yes,” and here is what she’s shared.

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What is eNoah?

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eNoah is a global provider of services for life insurers. These include contract underwriting, medical record retrieval and medical record summarization.

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The recent expansion of U.S. onshore operations enables eNoah to provide an accelerated end-to-end process speeding up decision-making by insurers.

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What do you consider to be the biggest challenge life insurance carriers and underwriters face today?

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The capacity to adapt to evolving market needs.

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Producers (agents, brokers) and insurance applicants have become accustomed to the “Amazon experience,” where they can select the product they want at the price they are comfortable with and have it in as little as one day. This expectation complicates the life insurance application-to-issue process. Attending physicians’ statements can take weeks to acquire and review.

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Because of this, there is increasing pressure to make faster decisions with less information while cutting costs and continuing to be competitive.

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Unfortunately, insurance has been one of the slowest sectors to adopt new technologies. This can be a herculean task, in part because the amount of data in the medical histories, that underwriters must review, keeps increasing.

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Accessing records through patient portals and e-health records has exposed gaps in data and inconsistent formatting. Many essential portions of the standard medical record may not be included, increasing the odds of underwriting errors.

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Complete medical records can exceed 1,000 pages. They typically include lab slips, medications, ECG tracings, clinic notes, follow up notes, surgical procedure summaries and countless other documents. It is a tedious process for an underwriter to review every page of the APS to find those key bits of information that can make or break a case.

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eNoah’s mission is to greatly reduce decision-making intervals by relieving underwriters of most of this burden. This is accomplished via customizable solutions ranging from a traditional medical record summary to utilizing eXtract Plus, which utilizes innovative technology for a system-driven overview of the APS. When insurers deploy this novel resource, there are always going to be those occasions when the underwriter needs a full summary of the APS. When requested, this can be done within 48 hours.

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How do eNoah’s eXtract Plus and APS Summarizations speed up the risk assessment process and take pressure off underwriters?

Underwriting requires exquisite attention to detail honed by years of experience and a broad knowledge base. eNoah’s focus is creating powerful tools to help underwriters make accurate decisions more rapidly and less tediously.

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These tools were built for underwriters by underwriters that created resources and software leveraging the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence. ML and AI can —with great accuracy — read through and filter a client’s entire medical history spanning several hundred pages in just minutes, and provide deep insights to the underwriter to quickly make informed decisions.

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eXtract Plus gives underwriters quick, easy access to the critical decision-making data on the most complex cases. It is a versatile platform that can be used in many scenarios, depending on what the underwriter is trying to achieve.

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For example, an underwriter needing to check for certain conditions before making a decision can now run a search and very quickly see what’s happening in terms of medications, labs, procedures, how many years someone has been on a treatment, frequency of drugs taken, and dosages. And this is done with great accuracy that is realized by mitigating or eliminating human errors.

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eXtract Plus was designed to be intuitive and easy to use. Access can be provided via a secure login, and training for most underwriters can take place in less than an hour via a video tutorial, with the eNoah team readily available to ease that transition.

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eNoah data are stored in the U.S. on a secure server with HIPAA-compliant and ISO-Certified protocols that protect data.

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How much underwriting time can be saved using eNoah’s products and services?

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A traditional APS review can range anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the length of the APS. Internal studies suggest 20-50% of underwriter time is saved by eXtract Plus.

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eXtract Plus is more than a simple search engine. The software also provides underwriters with content directly from the medical records itself.

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For example, let’s say I want to know what medications a client has taken over their lifetime, or how a medication relates to lab values for certain treatments. You can see all pertinent data needed in these contexts to make a decision in a matter of minutes. And it can be customized easily to best suit the needs of each company.

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– – – – –

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Thank you, Coleen.

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All of this technology is fascinating even for an old technophobe.

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I confess that I’m coming to appreciate how its capacity to rid us of tedium empowers underwriting professionals to make the best possible decisions on every case they see.

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To read more about Hot Notes September 2020 click here.

Management Research Services announces “New” Self-Configure Model!

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MRS Self-Configure Platform Press Release

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Management Research Services (MRS) is extremely excited to announce our newest form of an e-App platform, our Self-Configure model! Over the course of the last few months, MRS has been consistently working to make a process that allows insurers to optimize their internal resources to support field operations. Now, this process has become a reality due to MRS’ no-code, easily configurable, and cloud-based platform. The insurance companies’ internal teams can oversee the configuration requirements and implementation daily and guide their own field operations and sales teams. This new service model not only saves time but also saves almost 35% of the total unit cost resulting in increased profitability margins for the insurer. MRS is also assisting this transformation with training, guidance, and ongoing supervision. We pride ourselves on our quality service standards that allow our customers to become experts in their field. We believe that we are successful when our clients are successful.  You could be next when it comes to digital transformation and development!

GG Oncel, our Head of Customer Strategy and Growth stated “We are very excited about this new chapter as part of our no-code and easily configurable genius platform. This new service option will help insurance companies that prefer to utilize their internal resources as part of the processes and make it their own solution. We are still providing continued supervision via our 100% US-based Customer Success teams giving ‘peace of mind’ to our clients at the same time.”

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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!

 

Germania Life Insurance Company selects illustrate inc to lead the digital transformation of their life insurance business

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Overland Park KS; Toronto ON; Brenham TX; July 28, 2020 – Germania Life Insurance Company (GLIC), a subsidiary of Germania Insurance, the largest farm mutual insurance company in Texas, has selected illustrate inc as their partner to lead the digital transformation of their life insurance business.

 

The partnership will see GLIC implement illustrate inc’s OPUS suite of web-based digital solutions, including Needs Analysis, Quoting tools, Illustrations, eApps, and more, while enabling integration with other 3rd party systems and information providers. With a robust and powerful web-based solution, GLIC will equip their agents with state-of-the art tools to facilitate a highly productive, informed, and efficient sales process. GLIC’s focus on streamlining and modernizing the life insurance sales and application process will work to exponentially reduce cycle times through an automated workflow, drastically transforming the overall agent and customer experience.

 

illustrate inc’s collaborative approach and custom product offerings are just what we need to digitally transform our life insurance division,” says Min Choi, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Germania Insurance. “We are excited to join forces with the illustrate inc team and begin making positive impacts and improved efficiencies in our business.”

 

“This is a major initiative for Germania Insurance and demonstrates their commitment to strengthening and growing their Life business. We’re honored to have been selected,” says Lyndon Edwards, President illustrate inc. “Our OPUS solution set is built to not only deliver immediate benefit, but to also readily accommodate future features and enhancements as the Germania Life business continues to evolve.”

 

About Germania Life Insurance Company
Organized in 1983, Germania Life Insurance Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Germania Insurance that provides life insurance products to members and policyholders. Regulated by the Texas Department of Insurance, GLIC offers affordable whole and term life policies to fit a variety of insurance needs.

 

About Germania Insurance
Founded in 1896, Germania Insurance provides auto, property, and life insurance for thousands of Texans. It is the largest farm mutual insurance company in Texas and one of the top companies for independent agents. Germania is a proud Texas company, exclusively providing protection and insurance services for Texans for over 120 years.

 

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