Life Insurance Technology In 2020 Was Driven By Simplicity And Data

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By Ken Leibow

Published in Broker World Magazine January 1, 2021

 

We all had to adapt to change beginning nine months ago with the pandemic. A distributor’s Agency Management System (AMS) must improve its quality of service for agents/advisors, field underwriting (exams) needs to be safe, and turning Inforce data to action is critical for advisors to manage their client’s policies. Here is an inside look on how life insurance solution providers adapted and innovated to these new challenges in 2020.

 

 

Agency Management Systems Essential for Distributors during COVID

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Life insurance distributors in the USA and Canada faced the same challenges during COVID in 2020. I reached out to Equisoft whose Agency Management System (AMS) is the most widely used in Canada for life insurance distributors, and it is also available in the USA. I also met with OneHQ whose modern, easy-to-use CRM/AMS gained momentum in 2020.

 

David Nicolai, vice president, Insurance Solutions at Equisoft explains how back office automation is essential for servicing their advisors, “How do distributors stay relevant in times of accelerated change? That’s a critical question we’ve heard distributors ask so often over the past nine months. The answer, for some, is that it has been difficult—to pivot quickly and execute on a new value proposition that will enhance their ability to attract and retain the best advisors—if they are still running their business with manual, largely paper-based processes. There’s too much drag in the system. Innovation, no matter how creative their thinking is, will be hard to implement. On the other hand, we have clients who went from 100 percent paper-based to almost entirely automated and digital when they implemented the Equisoft/centralize agency management system. That made all the difference. When COVID hit and distributor staff, advisors and clients could no longer meet in person, their transition to the new reality was almost seamless. App processing, advisor communication, inforce services—all continued at pace because they didn’t rely on paper and mail. Clients received the support they needed in difficult times. Advisors appreciated the service and value their distributors were able to provide in helping them continue to meet their clients’ needs.”

 

Meeting with Brett Barker, Senior Account Executive at OneHQ, he provided not only information about their AMS, but client experiences during 2020. Tailored specifically for insurance distribution, OneHQ is an extremely powerful yet easy-to-use system. It’s highly configurable, replacing disjointed systems by bringing the CRM, AMS, and Compensation together plus integrating all other systems into one place. Brett explained, “Our user-friendly interface and personalized modules help give each department a dialed-in system to maximize results. As an example, a OneHQ customer recently made the move from their legacy system to OneHQ because their back office and sales teams had very little communication between systems. Wanting more data visibility for sales and back office efficiencies, the team moved to OneHQ and for the first time in years they had access to all of the information they needed within seconds. In the end, sales activity increased 20 percent and OneHQ’s innovative platform is providing better service to agents by freeing up the back office teams from running reports and answering questions.”

 

With the changes brought about by COVID-19 and more focus on how technology can impact sales internally and for their agents, OneHQ has witnessed a tidal wave of new clients. Their modern technology that focuses on increasing sales without sacrificing service is giving their clients an edge during these rapidly changing times. Brett continued, stating that OneHQ is increasingly seeing more of their clients beginning to offer their agents a full technology strategy starting with the CRM that integrates with their back-office system. In addition, this also makes the IMO much “stickier” with their agents. To sum it all up, Kyle J. Ginavan, CEO, OneHQ, said, “There have always been many good technology options available to insurance agents, but never a full technology strategy. While the securities industry has well-thought-out technology strategies for financial advisors, insurance distribution has typically lagged in this area. However, with COVID, we’re certainly starting to see that change.”

 

 

Exam Safety: Simplifying through Innovation

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Underwriting is key to the life insurance new business process. For term insurance, a drop ticket with an exam still dominates the higher percentage of cases in 2020. Paramed exam companies are the front lines for underwriting. I reached out to Ryan Janeway, founder and CEO of MediPro Direct. Ryan explained that at this stage of the pandemic, protecting field medical teams and applicants requires access, innovation, and adaptation. Said Janeway, “Very few companies are positioned as effectively as MediPro Direct to actually improve customer experience during this crisis. MediPro Direct founded Vanguard Genetics LLC in 2015 to gain access to clinical and genetic testing services that can aid underwriters in policy-making decisions now and into the future. Under the current circumstances, our clinical lab association has provided immediate access to necessary PPE, as well as rapid COVID antigen testing to ensure the safety of our customers and team.”

 

As innovators, the teams at MediPro Direct and Vanguard Genetics helped bring rapid antigen testing to market and are now validating saliva test collection methods to simplify the collection process for these tests. Additionally, their teams have reduced manufacturing costs by up to 70 percent in order to dramatically improve public access to testing—which, combined with the distribution of vaccines, are key to getting customer business and lives back on track. Under proper credentialing, these tests can be used in the office and in the field to help ensure safety during insurance exams, clinical trials, and other medical interactions. MediPro Direct has adapted to the current environment by creating unique tools and processes such as its Tier1 Network™, to increase examiner coverage for carriers, its Quality First™ system to dramatically improve access to real-time quality data for carriers, and its RemoteID™ system for scaling and improving tele-interview processes without the need for fixed call centers.

 

 

Inforce Policy Data Turns to Action

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As the digitization of the life insurance industry persists, the concept of shared visibility of data is becoming more relevant. Shared visibility of information across distribution partners helps to keep carriers, BGAs, and advisors all aligned on what’s working as it should and what areas have room for improvement. When it comes to inforce policy management specifically, that shared visibility is especially important. But timely exchange of information is not enough to satisfy a proactive, compliant, and efficient inforce management strategy.

 

Visibility of inforce data alone is table-stakes. As you continue to seek ways to not only differentiate but also provide more value to your distribution partners, you need a way to make that data and information you share with each other actionable. That’s where a platform like Proformex comes in as the right partner for you and your community. Proformex connects visibility to efficiency, simplicity, and opportunity. By aggregating data and giving everyone access to it—their platform takes that data and provides you with powerful analytics and insights that you and your distribution partners can use to make data-driven decisions that produce real-world outcomes. And there’s no manual burden involved; by automatically surfacing both risks and opportunities to you and your distribution partners, you’ll now have the ability to proactively manage potential problems and seize revenue-generating opportunities. It’s a win for everyone, from carrier to client.

 

Simplifying the life insurance new business experience impacts agents, distributors, carriers and consumers. Mining and analyzing life inforce data and turning it into action creates new sales opportunities for advisors to engage with their clients. COVID obviously accelerated innovation in life insurance technology in 2020. For those solution providers that have adapted and taken on the challenges head on with new innovations, they will have staying power in our industry moving forward in 2021.

 

Proformex and NAIFA Partner to Protect Consumers of Life Insurance

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – August 18, 2020 – Proformex, creator of a proactive life insurance policy monitoring platform designed to give insurance agents, advisors and fiduciaries better oversight and visibility into the performance of inforce life insurance and annuities, today announced its newly-established partnership with industry giant, NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors).

 

NAIFA is the leading association for life insurance and financial producers in the financial services sector. They provide ongoing educational materials, advocate for a positive legislative and regulatory environment, and promote ethical conduct and best practices among advisors. Through their partnership, Proformex and NAIFA will support these initiatives with a variety of activities enabling NAIFA members to automate difficult and time-consuming tasks, while meeting RegBi compliance standards which ultimately protect consumers.

 

“Protecting NAIFA members and their clients is paramount,” said David Morris, CMO of Proformex. “By leveraging our technology that automates the painful, tedious tasks associated with ongoing inforce policy management and providing the most accurate reporting and analytics, advisors can uncover opportunities which better serve their clients ever-evolving goals and needs, while potentially increasing their own growth. Proformex combines as-sold data with illustrations, statements, and other key information to create a single location for all inforce policy data and analytics.”

 

Brian Steiner, NAIFA’s VP of Business Development and Partnerships, echoed Morris’s sentiments: “We are excited about this opportunity to partner with Proformex and help bring their transformative product to the forefront of our industry. Any time we can leverage a leading tech solution like Proformex that helps our membership work more efficiently and effectively, comply with our industry’s most stringent standards, and grow their business, it’s a win for everyone. It’s especially relevant right now during COVID-19 and our current economic downturn; having a system like Proformex allows our members to mine their book of business for new opportunities.”

 

NAIFA members can join in on the first educational webinar in the monthly series on August 19, 2020. For more information, visit either organization’s website.

 

About NAIFA

Founded in 1890, NAIFA is the oldest, largest and most prestigious association representing the interests of financial services professionals from every Congressional district in the United States. Our mission – to advocate for a positive legislative and regulatory environment, enhance business and professional skills, and promote the ethical conduct of its members – is the reason NAIFA has consistently and resoundingly stood up for financial services professionals and called upon members to grow their knowledge while following the highest ethical standards in the industry.

 

About Proformex

Proformex is the leading inforce management platform offering data aggregation, analytics, and portfolio monitoring for life insurance and annuities. The platform is purpose-built to help advisors, GAs/BGAs, IMOs, financial institutions, settlement companies, and broker-dealers protect their clients’ best interest and ensure regulatory compliance by monitoring individual policy performance, identifying at-risk policies, and uncovering new sales opportunities. Our automated solutions make inforce management more efficient, more profitable, and results in better experiences for policy owners.

 

Media Contacts

David Morris

(855) 341-1331

dmorris@proformex.com

 

Suzanne Carawan

703-770-8402

scarawan@Naifa.org

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Proformex and Ensight Team Up To Transform Life Insurance Inforce Policy Monitoring

Proformex

Ensight’s API platform advances transparency and oversight for insurance agents and financial advisors

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio – August 12, 2020 – Ensight, the leading life and annuity digital sales acceleration platform for insurance carriers, distributors and financial professionals, today announced it has partnered with Proformex, the market-leading inforce management platform.. The company will integrate Ensight’s quoting API platform to enhance Proformex’s intelligent inforce policy monitoring, which provides insurance agents and financial advisors better oversight and visibility into inforce policy contract performance.

 

The partnership is part of Proformex’s strategy to simplify the complexity and challenges of managing inforce business at scale, while providing actionable insights for its customers. Integrating the Ensight Quoting API enables Proformex customers to evaluate potential protection options for their clients during the policy review process without ever leaving the Proformex platform. The result is a solution that saves time and enhances overall policyholder service.

 

“We’re excited about our partnership with Ensight,” said Mike Pepe, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Proformex.“The ability for our customers to access automated product quoting from Ensight directly in the Proformex platform is gamechanging to make policy reviews fast and easy for our customers. This relationship strengthens our mission of being a partner across the life insurance ecosystem while we reimagine how all policies are serviced after they’ve been sold.”

 

As Best Interest (BI) regulation continues to extend into the Life and Annuity market, ongoing policy servicing becomes increasingly important to complying with fiduciary standards. Over time, a policy’s death benefit, cash value performance and net surrender value can be negatively impacted by a range of factors. It is increasingly critical that financial professionals monitor a client’s overall policy health and, when necessary, compare the inforce policy against new potential protection options in the marketplace.

 

Ensight’s life insurance API provides access to the broadest number of life insurance carriers, products and product classes in the US life insurance industry today. The Ensight API supports over 22 leading life carriers, 200 products, and has the ability to quote across product classes (Term, GUL, Whole, IUL, VUL) for a common case design. It is also the only API able to support platform partners seeking to meet the emerging BI requirements.

 

“Like Ensight, Proformex is a leading insurtech enabler helping transform a critical area of the life insurance policy lifecycle. While we focus on transforming the sales experience, from illustration design to advisor-client discussion at the point of sale, Proformex is enabling customers to securely store, manage and analyze their entire inforce book,” stated Bill Unrue, CEO, Ensight. “We are thrilled to partner with Proformex as they transition the industry from reactive to proactive inforce policy monitoring.”

 

About Ensight™

Ensight™ is the leading cloud-based insurance sales acceleration platform for more than 500 Life and Annuity distributors, thousands of financial professionals, as well as many of the largest North American insurance carriers. Headquartered in San Diego, California, Ensight helps drive sales growth and productivity, while addressing the entire sales lifecycle experience – from prospect to policyholder, new business to inforce.

 

To learn more about Ensight at https://www.ensightcloud.com/. 

 

About Proformex™

Proformex is the leading inforce management platform offering data aggregation, analytics, and portfolio monitoring for life insurance and annuities. The platform is purpose-built to help advisors, GAs/BGAs, IMOs, financial institutions, settlement companies, and broker-dealers protect their clients’ best interest and ensure regulatory compliance by monitoring individual policy performance, identifying at-risk policies, and uncovering new sales opportunities. Our automated solutions make inforce management more efficient, more profitable, and results in better experiences for policy owners.To learn more about Proformex at https://www.proformex.com/.

 

Media Contacts

Ensight

Trish DaCosta

KCD PR

Ensight@kcdpr.com

 

Proformex

David Morris

Chief Marketing Officer

(855) 341-1331

dmorris@proformex.com

Stephen Lance Joins Proformex

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Stephen Lance Joins Proformex

 

Experienced SaaS startup sales strategist brings his expertise to the nation’s fastest growing life insurance technology software company

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio – June 16, 2020 – Proformex, creator of a proactive life insurance policy monitoring platform designed to give insurance agents, advisors and fiduciaries better oversight and visibility into the performance of inforce life insurance and annuities, today announced that Stephen Lance will be joining the team as its Vice President of Sales.

 

Lance has more than 25 years of Silicon Valley startup experience in various leadership positions with companies such as ParcPlace, ValiCert, and Intralinks. Additionally, he served in a sales leadership role working for Steve Jobs when NeXT was sold to Apple. At each company, he focused on creating highly profitable software IPOs while maintaining a customer-centric mentality.

 

“I am delighted to be joining the highly-motivated team here at Proformex and join their efforts in fundamentally improving the way agents and advisory customers service their clients and run their business,” Lance said. “The company’s growth so far has been remarkable, and I am eager and prepared to help take it to the next level.”

 

In his new role with Proformex, Lance will focus on further developing a customer-first, forecast-reliable, and growth-oriented sales organization. Like he did in previous positions, he will promote a positive culture of attainment and develop top performers to achieve our ambition to fundamentally improve inforce management for the industry.

 

Proformex CEO Kris Beck said: “We are incredibly proud to have Steve join team Proformex. With his demonstrated history in scaling software sales teams from startup to multimillion-dollar exits and IPOs, we think he is a perfect fit. I welcome his leadership and look forward to seeing the impact he will make on our company.”

 

About Proformex

Proformex is the industry leading life insurance inforce policy management solution for producers, financial advisors, trustees, and distributors. Our carrier and distribution agnostic platform enables customers to securely store, manage and analyze their entire inforce book of business in one place. Designed to proactively alert users of potential problems with their client’s inforce policies, Proformex protects policies against lapsing, degradation and asset erosion.

 

Media Contact

David Morris

(855) 341-1331

dmorris@proformex.com

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Life Inforce Policy Management Automation

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November 2019

By: Ken Leibow 

Broker World Magazine

 

It’s finally here—online tools for life insurance agents and clients to do basic tasks like change beneficiaries, look up paid-to-date information, see account values, and address changes without having to fill out a form or call a customer service phone number. It’s no longer a one-off but being implemented by most life insurance carriers today. You are also now seeing Artificial Intelligence (AI) chat tools for clients to get the information on their policies or to answer basic insurance questions on demand. Readily available for agents is new technology leveraging Big Data Analytics to analyze a policy resulting in new sales opportunities with products that better fit your client’s needs.

 

Policy Review
As an agent, you should do a review with your client on their life insurance policies at least once a year. Policy review should also occur when there is a life changing event or a family’s situation has changed, which could result in the need to increase or decrease coverage. Interest crediting rates on certain policies are much lower today than when the policy was first purchased. This can affect the future performance of your client’s policy, which could result in having to pay additional premium dollars to meet your client’s needs. Because people are living longer or if your client’s health has improved, then they may need to make an adjustment on their policy. On permanent insurance like universal life policies, loans and withdrawals and other changes to the policy, like premiums not paid as planned, may have impacted the current performance. Of course, if premiums have increased then you should do a policy review with your client. If the client is an owner or co-owner of a business and that business has grown or changed, then that is a compelling reason to do a policy review. Occasionally a life insurance company’s ratings or financials have changed, which may no longer meet your client’s risk tolerance.

 

The objective of the policy review is to do a thorough analysis of current insurance holdings vs. current needs. There are also industry and product changes to consider as well. I would recommend to carefully look at older life policies because of the way life insurance is designed today—the current changes in pricing, and how it’s medically underwritten, may have a significant difference in 2019 compared to five, 10 or more years ago. Also, you need to be up to date on the current tax, business and estate law changes. Higher life expectancies (mortality tables), lower interest rates and dividend crediting rates affect performance. There are new products on the market today to consider like indexed universal life products. Look at your client’s goals: If their goals are the same, is there a better insurance product for them today? If their goals have changed, then what’s available today to best meet those financial needs? For living benefit needs there are linked benefit products to consider. Should your client consider a way to financially maximize a policy he no longer needs by looking at a life settlement option?

Proformex Publishes Analysis of Life Insurance Best Interest Standards

 

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Kris Beck Headshot

WRITTEN BY

Kris Beck, CEO

Proformex

 

An In-Depth Look: Best Interest Standards for Life Insurance

Where did they start, where are they now, and where are they going?  “Best interest standards” are regulations that require carriers and producers that sell life insurance to establish criteria and processes overseeing product recommendations given to retail consumers. Under best interest standard regulations, all investment recommendations given to consumers must be made with the consumer’s needs top of mind. The ultimate goal is to protect the consumer and define the ethical duties of agents and advisors selling life insurance. This paper takes a deeper look of how best interest standards have been introduced to the life insurance industry, the various moves made on the state level to legislate these standards, and the future direction of the industry.

 

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