Creating an Integrated Experience for Buying Life Insurance

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The life insurance industry is at a tipping point! Forced to deal with constant challenges in optimizing operational costs, improving overall accuracy, and enhancing customer experience, all the while ensuring the highest return on allocated capital, insurers worldwide are treading treacherous waters. As insurance companies are overwhelmed with vast amounts of structured and unstructured data, they find it extremely hard to collect and analyze data from multiple sources. Most insurance carriers still rely on outdated technologies and legacy IT infrastructure to facilitate data capture, and this typically leads to poor data quality, scalability issues, and cost and operational inefficiencies. Alongside, the intense market competition, stringent regulatory norms, and growing compliance pressures are making it much harder for life insurance companies to keep revenue flowing and stay in the game.

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The need of the hour for carriers is to embrace faster and more efficient business practices and advanced technologies that not only accelerate the insurance application processes but also eliminate redundancy and reduce operational costs. This is where automation plays its part; it streamlines the repetitive mundane tasks, clears up bottlenecks, enhances risk management, and drives companies toward the next level of growth. Tapping into the immense potential of automation, ApplicInt, a leading information technology company, has developed several innovative, interoperable solutions that can be customized to meet the unique requirements of each client. ApplicInt was founded in 2003 to provide efficient and cost-effective technology solutions for the collection and distribution of information for life insurance applications. Automating the broker’s world not only means digitalizing their offices but, more importantly, streamlining and simplifying the process of obtaining insurance.

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“Whether you are an agent, call center representative, consumer, or examiner, our intelligent solutions can be utilized to quickly complete life insurance applications digitally”

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To that end, ApplicInt provides alternate ways for agencies to become more efficient. “Whether you are an agent, call center representative, consumer, or paramedical examiner, our intelligent solutions can be utilized to quickly complete life insurance applications digitally,” says Michael Feroah Sr, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, of ApplicInt. All of ApplicInt’s solutions are designed around automating the entire process of collecting and moving data from the pointof-sale to a carrier, making it easy and fast to issue policies. Since its inception, the firm has worked with a growing list of carriers, brokers, third-party administrators (TPAs), paramedical companies, and banks to increase revenue and dramatically reduce the cost of acquiring new customers for life, health, and disability insurance; annuity; and mutual fund products.

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Faster Policy Decisions at No Additional Costs

While segments of the insurance application process are automated today, most of them are yet to be fully digitalized. ApplicInt is the first company to provide a fully digital, end-to-end process for all types of insurance. ApplicInt’s end-to-end digital technology can connect all software solutions—regardless of the software provider—into a unified solution that can process all types of life insurance products. ApplicInt’s solutions can be used by insurance examiners, call centers, and even consumers to address information collection and consolidation problems. In other words, ApplicInt’s software includes a consumer-direct solution; consumers can fill out the insurance application on their own instead of relying on a third-party. “The key to dealing with challenges in today’s business landscape is flexibility. ApplicInt’s solutions are designed to work the way you do; their flexible workflow and easy configuration allow carriers to quickly adapt to changing market conditions and seamlessly integrate into any software solution or process,” informs Feroah.

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ApplicInt has a complete suite of insurance application fulfillment solutions. ExpressComplete serves as an easyto-use multi-carrier quoting and drop ticket platform that guides and directs a user or agent in filling the insurance application order and cuts down on the processing time. ExpressComplete has integrated ticketing capabilities such as health analyzer (which confirms the underwriting rate class), call scheduling (passes an order to the carrier call center), and real-time exam scheduling. The software comes with single sign-on, and helps connect producers (individual agents) to fulfillment centers. Agents can keep track of their applications and pending status via ExpressComplete. It also helps guide reps through the process of accurately filling the carrierspecific short application form and electronically submitting it to the designated fulfillment center.

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CallComplete, on the other hand, is a web-based flexible application fulfillment platform that snaps easily into any carrier’s call center and can be used by distributors and third-party call centers to gather medical as well as nonmedical information. The CallComplete solution has scripted reflexive interview questions (Part A/B) that ensure cases are 100 percent in good order. CallComplete can also be used remotely as a fulfillment process for ExpressComplete term ticket and any other platform. Forms, including unique special authorizations—required for over 25 percent of attending physician statement (APS) records—are signed with voice or eSignature. A distinctive aspect of CallComplete is the fact that it can also be combined with ApplicInt’s digital paramed platform, ExamComplete, to provide a seamless end-to-end application process. “We developed all of our solutions as a response to the increased complexity of the insurance sales and underwriting process. We achieved our ultimate goal to automate the information collection process for insurance agencies, carriers, brokers, and other stakeholders involved,” mentions Feroah.

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Eliminating the “Not In Good Order” Problem

ApplicInt’s ExamComplete can be deployed in multiple paramedical service providers’ systems and call centers. Through the software, ApplicInt enables insurance carriers to accurately collect information during the paramedical exam via a reflexive interview. “We have also automated the process of ordering copies of attending physician statements (APS), which are medical records from doctors and hospitals. ExamComplete is the only platform that facilitates the examiner to obtain the digital special authorizations that has proven to reduce cycle time attributed to APS health record acquisition,” adds Feroah. In fact, ExamComplete is the leading digital paramed platform used by the top lab facilities and paramedical vendors in the industry, like APPS Paramedical Services, ExamOne, and Clinical Reference Laboratory (CRL). ApplicInt also developed end-to-end digital application solutions where the software could qualify the proposed insured in real-time.

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ApplicInt Flow 7-23-2020

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Providing the customer with the tools to complete some or all of the application on their schedule has been a goal of the life industry for years. With the recent launch of UComplete that flexibility is now a reality

More recently, ApplicInt incorporated electronic lab slips into ExamComplete and introduced a consumer facing solution (UComplete) that allows consumers with the resilience to complete the application package online on their own schedule. Alongside, the firm also integrated pharmaceutical prescription historical data into the data collection processes and introduced Exam-2-CallComplete, a new module that enables an insurance examiner that failed to complete the exam in the field to revert the application process to a call center for fulfillment . “Earlier, it was just a matter of automating and digitalizing the parts of the insurance industry that were paper-based. We have expanded our core information collection processes to provide more flexible data collection solutions, better information with integrated Rx history, and eliminate the black holes of information collection by integrating automatic APS ordering (attending physician statements) and reducing the time taken for special authorizations,” stated Feroah.

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“ApplicInt’s solutions are designed to work the way you do; their flexible workflow and easy configuration allow carriers to quickly adapt to changing marketing conditions and seamlessly integrate into any software solution or process”

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Dedicated to Continuous Innovation

It is not just ApplicInt’s ability to deliver innovative, customer-focused technologies and solutions that have helped the company attain exponential success; it is their approach toward solving consumer and business needs that set them apart in the marketplace. ApplicInt is an accessible, service-driven, software provider that keeps its development costs in order to create an environment that makes innovation easier and less expensive while maintaining high quality. The firm works in partnership with each of its clients and focuses on building successful, long-lasting relationships. “We find different ways to automate the insurance application process and make it much more efficient and less expensive. The cost to deploy an ApplicInt solution has a nominal fee compared to our competitors and we generate revenue by charging a modest transaction fee,” says Feroah. ApplicInt’s result-oriented staff interacts with each customer from beginning to end of a project and continues to own the relationship. “Our team’s engagement and commitment to constantly inquiring and learning the ongoing needs of our customers is key to our growth and success. We listen, we work together, we create solutions,” cites Feroah.

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The Way Forward: Adapting to Change

ApplicInt is always in pursuit of providing better solutions and being better partners to its clients. For the road ahead, ApplicInt is looking forward to expanding into the emerging market where a paramedical exam is not required. In parallel, the firm is also working on new extensions for its software with additional capabilities. This includes incorporating pharmaceutical data from information sources like the Medical Information Bureau (MIB) on the front-end to allow carriers to speed up the application process even more, and essentially, in the long run, make the agencies and agents a lot more profitable. Currently, the firm works with over 40 carriers and we are growing our customer base. “We are well-positioned for continued growth. Our goal is to expand our core products and technology and continue to make the insurance application process easier and more efficient,” expresses Feroah. As digital technologies continue to disrupt the insurance sector, the industry will have to move from its current ‘reactive’ mode to ‘predict and prevent’ mode. And, this evolution will have to be at a faster pace than before as the stakeholders in the insurance value chain (like brokers, consumers, financial intermediaries, carriers, and suppliers) become more adept at using advanced technologies. With the right tools and approach, such as those offered by ApplicInt, carriers and distribution can thrive in these changing times.

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By Pamela Morgan

In$urance CIO Outlook Magazine

NOVEMBER – 25 -2020 ISSN 2644-2795

https://www.insuranceciooutlook.com/

 

MIB Acquires Paperless Solutions Group

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PR Newswire

 

Expands Portfolio of Digital Solutions Expediting the Life Underwriting Process

 

NEWS PROVIDED BY

MIB Group, Inc.

 

MIB, the life insurance industry’s most trusted and secure partner for data-driven services, announced that it has acquired Paperless Solutions Group (PSG), a digital solutions provider. The acquisition expands MIB’s portfolio of solutions aimed at making the application and underwriting processes quicker and more efficient.

 

MIB’s expanded portfolio will include PSG’s products and tools that automate and facilitate the application process, including requirement gathering, signatures, policy delivery, application submission and underwriting risk assessment. These services integrate flexibly and easily with carrier systems and complement MIB’s existing products, which help insurers assess risk during and after the underwriting process.

 

“PSG has a long history of service to the life & health space with a special eye to process improvement,” said Jeff McCauley, President of PSG.  “The team and I are very excited to join the MIB Group as we believe the alignment of our products, services and personnel will bring even more innovation to the industry.”

 

“The life insurance industry is in the early stages of a digital transformation that has only accelerated since the onset of the pandemic,” said Brian Winikoff, President and CEO of MIB. “PSG’s portfolio of products and services are well positioned to support the industry’s quest to simplify and expedite the insurance application process and fit well with the solutions MIB offers our clients today.  Integrating PSG’s platform with our existing services will enable us to provide next-generation capabilities focused on automating the approach to selling and underwriting life insurance.”

 

PSG’s tools can be used individually, or on a bundled basis, and are easily incorporated into a carrier’s existing systems through robust API plug-in capabilities. “We believe PSG’s platform could provide significant value to the life insurance industry by streamlining the underwriting process and providing an efficient and reliable portal to collect key data closer to the point of sale,” said Winikoff.  That value is of critical importance as the life insurance industry looks to new technologies to help them drive efficiencies.

 

About Paperless Solutions Group
PSG is a leading provider of cloud-based software solutions for the life insurance and financial services industry. Our products and services provide unparalleled automation and integration for the insurance services industry. These innovative offerings conduct millions of transactions annually by enabling the presale, new business and underwriting, point of sale, and post-sale support. To learn more about PSG, please visit www.psginc.co.

 

About MIB
MIB Group, Inc. is the life and health insurance industry’s most trusted and secure partner for data-driven risk management and digital solutions that protect the financial integrity of its members and clients while addressing their evolving needs. Owned by its members who span the life insurance industry, MIB is uniquely positioned to provide data-driven solutions that address common industry challenges and enable clients to gain efficiencies, manage their risks, and grow profitably.  For more information about MIB, visit www.mibgroup.com.

 

Media Inquiries:
Betty-Jean Lane
MIB Group, Inc.
781.751.6135
blane@mib.com

 

SOURCE MIB Group, Inc.

Related Links

https://www.mibgroup.com

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

 

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.