WINK’S VALUED CLIENTS RECEIVE MUCH MORE FOR DRAMATICALLY LESS- WITH VARIABLE ANNUITY SOLUTION

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Wink, Inc.’s AnnuitySpecs Analysis Tool Unveils Variable Annuity Enhancement

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Des Moines, Iowa. December 9, 2019Staying true to their vital mission statement, “To provide the best darned competitive intelligence to the life insurance and annuity industries,” Wink, Inc., is excited to reveal enhancements to their industry-leading analysis tool for annuities, “annuity intel in your pocket,” AnnuitySpecs.  Wink is the competitive intelligence firm behind the #1 source for annuity and life insurance product information, specializing in providing annuity product data to the industry for 15 years, at www. WinkIntel.com.

 

Today, Wink’s AnnuitySpecs tool houses nearly 300% more products than some of their competitors, and 200% more companies are represented in their system. The highly-anticipated rollout of Wink’s Variable Annuity (VA) solution within AnnuitySpecs gives their clients access to accurate, timely, and compliant product information at a fraction of the cost of the competition.

 

Sheryl J. Moore, chief executive of Wink, Inc. remarked, “Annuity stakeholders are being bombarded with offers from vendors charging as much as 3,000% more than AnnuitySpecs. And, no- that isn’t a typo. This is public information- we don’t believe in charging through-the-nose for it, just because we can.”

 

Wink’s AnnuitySpecs tool provides clients all of the benefits they’ve always had with fixed, multi-year guaranteed, and indexed annuities, but offers the following with the new VA solution:

 

  • Distributors can customize their product shelf for downline advisors/agents;
  • Annuity manufacturers have a customizable view- providing the ability to restrict products, based on distribution;
  • Product specification reports are compliance-approved by the product manufacturer, for accuracy;
  • Specs, features, and rates on nearly 3,000 variable, structured, indexed, fixed, and multi-year guaranteed annuities;
  • Specs on thousands of GLWB, GMWB, GMAB, GMIB, and GMDB riders;
  • Advanced product and living/death benefit rider search tool with 150+ search options;
  • Side-by-side comparisons for products and/or riders for due diligence and record-keeping;
  • Dynamic rate finding tool (with advanced notification of upcoming changes);
  • Readily available help for on-demand product research, with WinkAssistTM;
  • The most accurate and timely resource for annuity product information; and
  • Relationships with experienced annuity product experts.

 

The product specifications are assembled by the Wink team’s product experts, and written in laymen’s terms so that users are able to fully interpret each product and its features. AnnuitySpecs’ product specifications are reviewed by the respective underwriting insurance carrier for compliance, FINRA-reviewed, and the product rates/features are updated daily.

 

“Our clients wanted the ability to contrast every type of deferred annuity on a single side-by-side comparison, but they didn’t want to blow their budget getting that capability. Now, Wink is the only research firm that can give them that capability- for fixed, multi-year guaranteed, indexed, structured and variable annuity product lines” said Moore. “I am especially proud of the dynamic rider options on our tool. And nobody has all of the historic rider information on the non-variable products with exception to Wink!”

 

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For more information, go to www.WinkIntel.com.

 

Wink, Inc. is the company behind the most comprehensive life insurance and annuity due-diligence tools, AnnuitySpecs and LifeSpecs at www.WinkIntel.com. Wink, Inc. is the distributor of the quarterly Wink’s Sales & Market Report. Serving as the insurance industry’s #1 resource of insurance product sales since 1997, this report provides sales by product, company, crediting method, index, distribution, surrender charge period, and more. Wink’s Sales & Market Report covers sales of all deferred annuity products in addition to all non-variable cash value life insurance products; additional product lines are forthcoming. The research firm is also responsible for the insight behind Wink’s Index Intelligence Report, providing sales on indexed insurance products at an individual index level.

 

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

 

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

 

December 9, 2019

Des Moines, IA

(855) ASK-WINK

Issues and Solutions to Commission Accounting

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By Ken Leibow

Published in NAILBA Now Newsletter

November  2019

 

Commission Accounting Systems have been around since the mid-1980s. They are usually found as a standalone system, and having three main purposes:

  1. Commission Reconciliation (Did you get paid as expected?)
  2. Tracking Payables (Track out-of-house deals with top producers on modal premium)
  3. Know your score card (Report on your income by line of business, carrier, and top producers)

Current Issues
There are two challenges with commission accounting systems. The first challenge is setting up carrier commission schedules, assigning those contracts to agents and then building hierarchies. In the Life Brokerage General Agency (BGA) channel for example, the average BGA is writing business with 20 + carriers and each carrier has several Life and Annuity products. Each product has rules like commission banding by year (first year & renewals), banding by age, target and excess premium commission rates on UL products etc. Carriers offer BGAs several commission levels that a BGA can use for their hierarchy downlines. Setting up these commission schedules is a lot of manual work. Even if a system offers tools and resources to build and maintain these commission schedules, there is no process that validates they were even setup correctly.

 

The second challenge with commission accounting systems is to process commissions received on each case on modal premium. If a BGA, for example, writes a large block of business, then to manually process each commission statement is cost prohibitive. Therefore; a carrier’s commission data feed into a commission accounting system is critical. The problem is that even if the carrier uses a data standard, the commission data feeds are not consistent or complete from every carrier, making it difficult to accurately reconcile commissions.  Many distributors will still go to visit 20 + carrier websites or even lookup paper commission statements to verify they have been paid correctly.

 

Solutions
There are several solutions to the challenges of commission accounting systems. A carrier, for example, could electronically send their commission schedules in a data standard that could automatically update the distributor’s commission accounting system. This would eliminate all the manual setup of commission schedules for a distributor. Commission data aggregators could build a verification process that rejects bad or incomplete commission data files, thus only delivering clean data to a distributor.

 

A new innovative solution is that a carrier and distributor together could use Blockchain technology. The carrier commission schedules could be programmed into “Smart Contracts” that are used by both the carrier to calculate to pay commissions and used by the distributors commission accounting system to reconcile commissions. The commission schedules only need to be created once. The beauty of the Blockchain is that each party of a commission contract must approve the contract prior to it being available on a Blockchain for use. These parties connected to the contract essentially build an agent hierarchy and each participant in the hierarchy has a private key with access to the contract and the commission detail in the commission statement. This type of solution can offer privacy and security, thus enabling trust, accuracy and simplicity across the business.

 

 

The Battle For The Dashboard

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November 2019

By: Steve Morelli 

InsuranceNewsNet Magazine

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

About ACORD:

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

 

About DTCC Insurance & Retirement Services:

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

 

About the Insured Retirement Institute:

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


 

Distribution Technology

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

 

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

 

By Ken Leibow, ken@insurtechexpress.com