LBTC Announces New Co-Chairs

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We are excited to Announce that The Life Brokerage Technology Committee (LBTC) has elected 3 New Co-Chairs (See complete bios at end of post). The new leadership team brings a vast amount of industry experience to drive LBTC forward in working with its members in solving industry technology pain points and creating process improvement for Life Insurance services. The LBTC new co-chairs will also bring awareness of new innovations to the industry.

 

12345* Pat Wedeking, Vice President of Tellus Brokerage Connections

12345* Marjorie Ma, VP & Head of Product Management of AIG USA Life Insurance

12345* Brian Kirland, Senior Director Sales & Marketing of SuranceBay

 

 

The new co-chairs each represent respectively Distributors, Carriers and Vendors. They will serve a 2-year term. The new co-chairs are supported by the LBTC Steering Committee: Joann Mattson of Highland Capital Brokerage, Jeff Lingenfelter of John Hancock Insurance Company, and Ken Leibow of InsurTech Express. LBTC has 120+ industry members. Please see below on how to join LBTC.

 

The Life Brokerage Technology Committee (LBTC) is an independent working group whose purpose is to exchange information about technology related systems and services related to the marketing, sale, and servicing of insurance in independent distribution channels. Some of LBTC’s past initiatives focused on process improvement and solving technology pain points: Automated-Underwriting, eApp, eDelivery, eSignature, Commission Accounting, and Pending Case Status to name a few. LBTC conducts industry surveys, whitepapers, webinars, media and has a face-to-face meeting at the Annual NAILBA Conference in November. LBTC partners with other industry associations such as NAILBA, ACORD and LIDMA.

 

JOIN LBTC

There is no cost to becoming an LBTC Member. Each person who wants to participate in LBTC in your organization can join. Each person will need to fill out a membership form.  You can join LBTC by downloading the membership form and emailing it to Joann Mattson at jmattson@highland.com. Download LBTC Membership Form: https://lnkd.in/eHhHjfZ

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Pat Wedeking

Pat Wedeking is an industry veteran whose focus has been on process improvement, direct marketing and brokerage business development. Coming from the hospitality business as a PGA apprentice, Pat entered the life insurance business through Northwestern Mutual’s training program.  After 10 years in personal production Pat entered the general agency business with a technology driven brokerage focusing on lead generation a lead relationship management (LRM) system.  This platform served as the foundation of Quick Life which was sold to Crump in 2016.

 

During the growth of the brokerage Pat was the founding President of the Life Insurance Direct Marketing Association known throughout the industry as LIDMA.  This organization focuses on industry technology that improves the process of obtaining insurance and helped usher in the ubiquitous use of electronic payments, signatures and delivery of policies.  Further process improvement initiatives focus on voice signature, data based underwriting and bringing data closer to the point of sale.  After service to LIDMA Pat was elected to the Life Happens board of directors and served as Chairman of that organization in 2017. Since joining Crump Pat has been in business development positions focusing on the use of their transaction center platform and, most recently, with Crump’s IMO division, Tellus Brokerage Connections.  Pat brings energy and a big picture mentality to his endeavors.  He has a wealth of knowledge and industry relationships that will help any organization he serves.

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Marjorie Ma

Marjorie Ma is the Vice President and Head of Product Management and Market Intelligence, AIG USA Life Insurance. She has over 8 years life insurance experience and is now responsible for Life Insurance Product Development and Management at AIG, including product strategy development and implementation, as well as day-to-day product management across AIG’s broad life product portfolio. She is also leading Market Intelligence Team to collect industry and competitor updates and to provide actionable intelligence to product, pricing, sales, marketing and operation teams.  Marjorie joined AIG in 2012 after obtaining her MBA degree from Rice University and has since worked in the Life Insurance Industry.

 

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Brian Kirland

Brian J. Kirland received his Economics degree from Saint Mary’s College of California in 1997. He began his career in the financial industry as a Portfolio Manager’s Assistant at NWQ Investment Management. From 1998 until 2014, Brian was a part of a growing technology firm, Xtiva Financial Systems, whose products focused on the Broker-Dealer and Securities industry for Sales compensation. Brian then joined LaserApp Software in 2014, deepening his insurance technology expertise. During his two years with LaserApp, Brian spent his time meeting agency principals and carrier partners helping establish a new business platform for the firm.

 

Brian joined SuranceBay as a National Account Executive in July of 2016 and currently serves as Senior Director of Sales & Marketing and a member of the executive management team. Brian works to increase sales within the distribution channels, carrier partners and vendor integrations for SuranceBay’s flagship product, SureLC™. Since 2009, SuranceBay has been an industry leader in providing innovative licensing and contracting software to independent brokers, agents, and carriers. The recent introduction of complementary tools such as DataLink, SureLC One, Background Screening, and AML training, makes SuranceBay’s SaaS platform a one-stop-shop for over 85% of the independent life insurance agents in the United States. SuranceBay incorporates the assets of more than 600 life insurance carriers with subscriptions from over 800 BGAs, optimizing the workflows of 425,000+ active producers nationwide, and processing over 50,000 monthly contract submissions.

 

5 Reasons Distributors Hate Your eDelivery System

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By Roy Goodart

Chief Products and Innovation Officer

Paperless Solutions Group, Inc.

 

Hey there fellow InsurTech Express readers, I wanted to share an article I wrote back in 2015.  Yep, just about five years ago give or take a couple of months.   It also marks my tenth year of building eDelivery solutions for this market – crazy to think I have designed and built three multi-carrier solutions over this time. No wonder my head hurts so much.

 

You know what’s both funny and sad?  Reading through this article it struck me that very little has changed; yet the voices of distribution keep getting louder, and multi-carrier solutions keep getting stronger with more functionality/benefits than any one carrier can provide.

 

So, carriers – why keep building these solutions on your own?  I speak with many of you every week where the story of not having enough resources and too many projects stand in the way letting you update or even simply keep your own ePolicy delivery offering current.  Isn’t time – yes, after a decade of stumbling through ePolicy delivery to think differently?

 

Carriers and Distributors, I’m curious to your thoughts…

 

Original article below posted March 26, 2015 ————————————

 

We are coming up on almost eight years of delivering life insurance policies electronically, yet there still seems to be a misalignment between what distributors want and what carriers are delivering (no pun intended). This was never more apparent than at one of the industry’s largest events a couple of weeks back.

 

Over the years, several carriers have created electronic policy delivery systems in hopes of dramatically reducing costs, shortening cycle times and increasing placement ratios. Although cost savings are being realized, cycle times are down by about 19 days and placement lift is averaging 5-6%, overall adoption is still low for the independent channel. Most carriers have been left scratching their heads asking the question, why?

 

So, to help try and solve this mystery I did a little homework and met with a number of brokerage agencies. What I found were the five biggest factors as to why distributors and their agents aren’t using your eDelivery system.

 

Here’s what they said.

 

You’re One of Many and They are Lost in The Crowd. The single biggest contributing reason, by far, is the fact that carriers who sell most of their policies through independents and Broker Dealers are “not supporting” a multi-carrier solution. Don’t believe me? The most recent survey conducted by the Life Brokerage Technology Committee (LBTC) surfaces this issue (See quotes at the end of this article.) Your distributors don’t have the resources to train their own staff on fifteen different systems and fifteen different ways of processing, let alone train two thousand plus agents. Your distributors are desperate for multi-carrier solutions. It’s the only way carriers will ever start to break ground in gaining eDelivery adoption within this channel.

 

Your Workflow Stinks. Most single carrier eDelivery solutions rarely meet the workflow needs of the independent channel. All your distributors hear is “it’s my way or the highway” when it comes to varying workflow scenarios. This group tends to have many special deals and arrangements such as sub-GA’s, centralized processing centers and selling agreements with broker dealers. A rigid workflow makes it almost impossible for this group to support their unique relationships. What does that mean for you as a carrier? If you can’t meet all of their needs they won’t play in your sandbox for half of their business.

 

Lack of Integration. Both agencies and agents want platforms that integrate with the other systems they use day in and day out. Lack of integration with Agency Management Systems, CRM and other third party platforms means that these users have to remember multiple user ids for access, double key information and rely on other sources for updates. Integration with third party platforms isn’t only important for overall adoption, it’s absolutely critical.

 

Inability to Promote and Market eDelivery. Each one-off carrier solution has some great functionality but none look the same or even come close to working the same. This makes it hard for a distributor to accurately promote the benefits of eDelivery because agents are finicky and get upset if “things are not as advertised.” Add this to the fact that agencies are busy trying to help sell and close your insurance transactions and they don’t have the time to come up with promotional content and marketing for eDelivery from scratch.

 

Lack of New Functionality and Innovation. There are some really good homegrown carrier eDelivery systems on the market. You may be one of these carriers. If you are, can you remember the last really great new piece of functionality that was added since it had first been implemented. I would wager to guess you could count them on one hand. Resources are tight all over, and in some instances projects for carriers can be two or three years out. This typically means that once a project like building an eDelivery platform is completed and up and running, little to no new functionality is introduced. This drives users away fast, especially if it missed the mark the first time around.

 

Beyond the five reasons why distribution hates carrier eDelivery systems, one other important consideration for the carrier is the cost for creating an eDelivery platform. The development costs and ongoing maintenance of a home-grown e-delivery system can be as much as 20 times more than the cost of just licensing a multi-carrier SaaS based offering.

 

These are just a few reasons why one-off carrier solutions are seeing low adoption for eDelivery by independent distributors and their agents. It’s not because the agency doesn’t want to support it, or their agents are too old or don’t like technology, it’s because the industry has made it hard for them to do their part of embracing the concept and moving away from paper. The benefits to be had for carriers who fully support eDelivery is real. Just think about what shaving 19 plus days off your cycle time and increasing your placement lift by 5-6% for this channel would mean to your business. It’s not small, is it?

 

 

What your distributors are saying – not your vendors – It’s time to listen up!

 

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The LTBC survey was conducted in the last quarter of 2014 and its findings published in November 2014 to its members. The following are sample quotes provided by independent distributors about ePolicy Delivery, their experiences and their desires.

 

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Are you Listening? Here are some actual responses from distributors…

 

“we would like all carriers on the same platform so it’s a consistent user experience for our agents and their clients. Right now, only Lincoln and The Standard are on a multi-carrier platform.”

 

“…The lack of universal e-delivery process for each carrier can be confusing for our staff and agents.”

 

“Not enough carriers offer e-policy delivery… we want a multi-carrier solution”

 

“The various platforms drive away the agents, it would be good to have consistency and offer one platform for all the carriers.“

 

“…Agents are not happy learning all the carrier ways”

 

“…See more and more carriers offering (eDelivery) on their websites which is also confusing to the agent.”

 

“Again we have many different processes on e-delivery….agents and GA’s do not want to learn 30 different ways to process the policy”

 

“Too many processes and not enough carriers on multi-carrier platforms that meet requirements of BGAs.”

 

“Need a uniform delivery process for each carrier.”

 

“One platform that many carriers would approve…. eDelivery would be great if there were more carriers onboard supporting a single system.”

 

“Multi-carrier platform that is customizable to our workflow”

Why I would never build my own ePolicy Delivery solution again

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By Eric Lester

Most of you know me as the former technology change and innovation leader for one of the world’s largest life insurance carriers.  Over the past twenty plus years I’ve had the great opportunity and privilege of helping bring some awesome new technology to our industry, one being ePolicy Delivery.

In early 2010 we made the choice to build an ePolicy delivery platform with the underlying chaise being that of a popular eSignature vendor.  We, as the carrier, decided to build our own offering because at the time solution providers were in their infancy with their own products and their costs for implementations, annual licenses, and transactions were, let’s just say high at the least.

Over the years our offering became one other carriers would point to as a successful model and used to self-justify building a similar solutions of their own. Because of this I still regularly get asked “should I build and/or keep maintaining my own ePolicy delivery solution or license one from a service provider?” 

Well, this may come as a shocker for those of you who know me well, but I’m here to say on the record that I would be hard pressed and need a very compelling reason to build another one given the current landscape.  I’ll share with you a few quick points of why.

·       SOLUTION PROVIDERS NOW HAVE GREAT SOLTUIONS: In the early days when we were pioneering ePolicy Delivery, solution providers had products that weren’t really much better than what we could build.  Fast forward nine years and these providers have invested millions into their products offering better functionality, scalability, and means of garnering adoption.  There’s little carriers can do to improve on what’s already being offered.

·       MAINTENANCE IS A NIGHTMARE: Any carrier who has built their own software solutions knows that the build part is only half the battle.  The war is won by keeping it current with new functionality and continually innovating while you have limited IT resources and 10 other large projects that need to get done each hear.  For me, there were multiple year spans with 50+ enhancement sitting on the roadmap and we couldn’t even address one of them.  Solution providers on the other hand have to keep up the innovation in order to stay competitive.

·       EXPENSE IS OVERBEARING: Don’t fool yourself, building and maintaining software is expensive.  Don’t forget, that unless you build everything, you’ll have to account for expenses like eSignature which adds up quickly.  It’s important to also think about your internal resource abilities; to keep your new offering up-to-date and do it well you should expect to spend around 1,000 hours for BA and Development work annually. Let’s be honest, most carrier home grown software is not built with configurability and rules that can be defined and updated by the business areas.  Whereas leading edge technology companies are in production now with platforms that can be configured for workflow, forms and ability for customers to dynamically change the policy on the fly – Think Up Sell!!  Now that there are multiple providers offering ePolicy delivery today, prices have dramatically dropped making very little sense not to implement one of them regardless the size of your company.

·       MORE DISTRIBUTION REQUIREMENTS: This one folks is the big deal and you shouldn’t take it lightly.  Unless you’re solely a career carrier you need to think about your distribution and how they sell – direct to the consumer, via the independent channel, through banks or broker dealers, etc.  These dynamics weren’t much of a concern in 2010 as they are today.  Distributors are now demanding different workflows, communications, and ways to support their partner’s compliance when it comes to technology.  In addition, if you’re listening to the market, and I hope you are, they want a couple of multi-carrier solutions to pick from.  If you’re not on that multi-carrier eDelivery bandwagon now I guarantee that in the very near future you’ll be pushed in that direction.

I’m sure a few of you are sitting on the floor right now saying to yourself “this isn’t the Eric I know” because he had a tendency to build everything in-house.  

We’ll times are a changing folks, and our industry is finally kicking itself into high speed on the InsureTech express.  If you can’t keep up and stay innovative you’ll be pushed out of the way by the carriers you compete with.  Eventually you’ll end up like so many other carriers over the past decade that either get shut down or bought out. 

That’s the harsh reality of today, and frankly you’ve got a lot of other fish to fry than worrying about building or maintaining an ePolicy delivery solution yourself. Especially when you can easily license one that can be implemented in half the time and provide 10 times the functionality than you could ever build. 

 

About Eric Lester.
Eric has recently formed his own technology consulting company, Nexus Insurance Services, located in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He is actively engaged in working with technology companies, carriers and brokerage agencies to identify best-in-class solutions and create partnerships with the companies that are best aligned. Eric may be reached by phone at 204.328.9617 or via email 
eric.lester@outlook.com

eDelivery So Sweet!

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A while back I attended the annual event of a large independent broker dealer. It was a spectacle that rivaled any industry event I’ve been to in years. There were easily thousands of people in attendance and venue was filled with the outstanding entertainment, speakers and training.

 

While I was there I had the rare opportunity to have dinner with some senior level executives at the broker dealer and their carrier partners along with a half dozen or so of their top advisors. Amidst some jovial conversation and the occasional joke, one of the advisors blurted out, “I’ve got a real problem with you guys”. The table went silent, for what seemed to be an eternity, until a polite young lady from one of the carriers replied, “well let’s see if we can fix that”. He went on to say that he felt like the carrier and broker dealer have shifted the costs of delivering annuity contracts and life polices to his office. Almost immediately another advisor chimed in with more comments, then asked if the advisor still wanted to be kept in the loop to ensure his client received the documents and completed the process?

 

The debate surrounding this topic continued for about half an hour where issues like cost, time, compliance and lack of follow-up were all discussed. The waiter must have thought the table needed a little “time out” as he made the rounds twice filling up wine glasses. The young lady with the carrier sat quietly through the discussion, just listening. As the dessert arrived, she asked the group “what if you could have your cake and eat it, too”? She went on to talk about sending annuity contracts and life polices electronically to all the parties in the distribution channel and ultimately the client. “Other industries have adopted eSignature and eDelivery and some have equally as many, if not more, regulatory issues as ours”, she said. “The cost savings can be immense and the time savings dramatic, all while keeping everyone in the loop…in real time”. This thought seemed to resonate with everyone at the table as the group pondered how this type of process would help their unique situations.

 

I can assure you; many similar conversations are taking place daily around the water coolers, dinner meetings and conference rooms today. Electronic document delivery is a hot topic as more companies are looking to streamline processes, reduce expenses and improve the overall customer experience. So, lets take a minute to review some of the benefits and metrics around the next evolutionary step in the delivery process for the insurance sector.

 

More Than Just Polices and Contracts. When looking at eDelivery it’s important to note that there are a lot of documents besides the life policy and annuity contract that carrier could be sending electronically to save time, money and resources. Examples would be: both the pre and post sale prospectus, supplemental life questionnaires that were missed during the application process, client statements, annual disclosures and more. Although required, these documents in a paper process can be burdensome and costly.

 

Staying in The Loop. Everyone, no matter where you sit within the distribution channel wants to know where the document(s) stands once its issued for delivery. Has it been sent out, has it been received, has the client completed any necessary outstanding paperwork and has it been sent back to the carrier? Why? Because in most cases no one gets paid, in the distribution channel, until it’s complete. While in other instances, there may be big risks with areas like free look periods when possession cannot be proven. Electronic delivery satisfies this need by providing each stakeholder notifications at key points in the cycle while everything is logged for future review.

 

Cost Savings. There have been many studies conducted over the years on how much it costs to deliver insurance policies and annuity contracts. Estimates vary, but let’s take the averages around a life insurance policy for example. The cost is about $35 for the carrier, $30 for the distributor (if it goes to the distributor first or it has internal compliance added) and anywhere from $25 for the advisor if the policy is mailed and up to $200 if it’s hand delivered. That’s a lot of coin adding up to be tens of millions annually for the industry! Electronic delivery dramatically reduces expenses, in most cases by nearly 75%. How much could that save your company?

 

Time. We’re all pressed for it these days; with so many things that need to be done, there never seems to be enough of it to go around. Time is precious and when it comes to the delivery process, it’s critical. Each day that goes by brings additional risk. In the paper world, it takes about 27 days for a life insurance policy to get returned to the carrier. Electronic delivery is showing a completed cycle time of under 5 days on average with just over 10% being completed within 24 hours. This time saving is equating to a 5-6% placement lift for new business!

 

Compliance. In some circles “compliance” can be a dirty word, but lets face it, they play a very important part in ensuring we stay out of trouble. Additional paperwork means there is more likelihood of missing a step which can linked to big fines. Because an electronic delivery system can be rules driven, it can force specific forms and require eEignatures throughout the process. This type of platform guarantees compliance requirements are met and provides a detailed history of what took place.

 

Better Customer Experience. Companies all over the world are searching for ways to make the customer experience a better one. They’re looking at how to streamline processes and make these easier, quicker and more user friendly. Our world of selling financial products to consumers is often laden with many steps, start and stops, delays and paperwork that takes an attorney to understand. With eDelivery we can simplify the process, make it easy to understand and quick to complete thus raising the satisfaction levels and our placement ratios.

 

Green Thumb. Consumers are more than ever are expecting companies to provide options other than paper. In fact, its been shown that more than 80% of consumers opt for eDelivery when asked.

Consumers not only see the benefit of eliminating big binders to hold important documents but see it as a way to reduce the damage associated with printing these documents on our environment. It’s estimated that the insurance and financial sector uses more than 53 billion (that’s right folks, that’s billions) pieces of paper each year for documents like life insurance policies, annuity contracts, prospectus and more. Electronic delivery can dramatically reduce this number helping reduce carbon footprints and maintain a healthy environment for future generations.

 

It’s time for our industry to finally “have its cake and eat it, too”. Electronic delivery can solve a number of issues we currently experience using paper processes. Each party can reap the benefits of time and cost savings while providing a positive customer experience. It’s up to us to get more organized and implement platforms to make it a reality.

For information on how you can be more involved in steering the direction of electronic delivery, join one of the many working committees in the industry such as the ones offered by ACORD, LIDMA or the LBTC.

 

#imabeliever

By Roy Goodart, roy@insurtechexpress.com