To remain competitive, insurers must get new business in, process it promptly and accurately and get it back out to their advisors and ultimately their clients. A lack of integrated technology combined with redundant business processes present significant obstacles to getting this done efficiently, often leading to unplaced business.
The Life Insurance industry was one of the first to adopt new technologies when computers became available in the 1950s. While the insurance industry has found that technology is a powerful tool, most software applications today are stand-alone desktop applications that are not integrated with one another or other systems and data. This lack of integration is a major stumbling block, particularly at the point of sale. Numerous stand-alone systems – each with its own user interface – make the process challenging, frustrating and time consuming for advisors and customers alike.
PROBLEM #1: REDUNDANT MANUAL INPUT
Accuracy and efficiency is impeded due to the repeated entry of client data across many systems and often manual paper forms. The current industry practice often involves multiple points of entry by multiple individuals for the same client data during the sales cycle for a life insurance policy. For example, an advisor, an advisor’s assistant, head office administrator, head office new business administrator and underwriting administrator might enter the same client data in the following locations:
1. Advisor’s personal CRM
2. Needs Analysis worksheet or software
3. Concepts worksheet or software
4. Illustration software
5. Agency administration system
6. Policy application (scanned electronically, most often preceded by a paper application)
7. Carrier new business system
8. Carrier underwriting system
9. Policy issue system
Any errors are prone to the ‘multiplier effect’ whereby any single error is multiplied many times. Where an agency does business with multiple carriers, the complexity grows, magnifying the risk of repeating data entry errors and/or making new ones. Valuable time is wasted in checking and double-checking for accuracy, adding unnecessary steps to the process while increasing costs and decreasing customer satisfaction.
PROBLEM #2: NEW SOFTWARE VERSIONS AND UPDATES
Updating the various carriers’ software every time a new version or a patch is released is a tedious and time-consuming process that also affects efficiency. Many carriers put their software updates on a disc and send them out by mail, and are able to provide only limited instructions and support for those updates. Many illustration software programs do not easily coexist, and updates to these programs sometimes interfere with the functionality of existing software.
PROBLEM #3: REMOTE ACCESS
The inability of advisors to access important information remotely is another major hindrance to making the sale. Advisors often meet their clients off-site (in their homes or in a coffee shop, for example). In these situations, the advisor has limited access (if any) to the databases or systems needed. A break in the sales cycle happens in order to remit collected or updated information to the agency and to the carrier. Or manual processes are used instead of technology, significantly increasing processing time, and likelihood of not-in-good-order applications.
INNOVATIVE SOLUTION: AN INTEGRATED, MODULAR POINT-OF-SALE SYSTEM
There is a clear business need for a shorter sales cycle; increased data accuracy supported by improved processes and reduced administration. An innovation in point-of-sale systems would meet these needs by integrating tools for each step in the insurance sales cycle including: client data capture; financial worksheets (assets/liabilities, income/ expenses); financial needs analysis; concept storyboards and calculations; illustration software; and electronic applications, ultimately enhancing the ability to achieve straight-through processing of applications. These tools would also seamlessly integrate with agency administration software as well as underwriting and policy issue systems. Multiple functionalities via the same user interface would simplify the sales process for the carrier, the advisor and the client, improving the customer and advisor experience throughout the process. Business concerns at the carrier and agency levels would be met in a secure environment with an intuitive and accessible interface.
The features of this solution would include:
A central repository of data
An integrated modular sales system
Secure information exchange between advisor and carrier
The capability to connect to agency systems through the web
Functions as a standalone desktop module
A simple, easy-to-use interface
ONE POINT UNIFIED SYSTEM
The single most important feature of this solution would be the central repository of information, which would eliminate the need for repetitive data entry and increase accuracy and efficiency in procedure. Data entered by the advisor in any module in the system would be entered only once, making it accessible to all the other modules that require it, including to an electronic application featuring electronic signatures. As a result, data entry errors would be minimized.
For carriers, the use of a unified, modular sales system would allow much greater control over software, advisors’ activities, and client’s policies. Head office could turn agency access to products on or off, and any rate changes or product updates could be implemented online. Changes would filter digitally to each copy of the system at the agency and advisor offices, eliminating the need to manually mail out updates on disc. The need for support and the costs of licensing multiple software programs would be greatly reduced.
The system would be accessible from anywhere, whether on an advisor’s local computer or via the web from a remote location, thereby shortening the life sales cycle. The days of having to get back to the office to run illustrations and prepare the electronic forms for transmittal to the carrier would be over; all this could be done remotely and in the presence of the client. A module would handle policies already inforce, providing an opportunity to significantly enhance customer service. The advisor could service existing policies for the client, or use the data to identify any gaps in the client’s needs and act to close the gap by running illustrations on the spot.
OPUS: MAKE THE SALE
OPUS is an integrated, modular point-of-sale system that consolidates the stages of the insurance and financial sales cycle from end to end. One-time-one-place, single point of data capture and data access eliminates redundancy, ensures accuracy and creates efficiencies in procedure by dispensing with repetitive, manual manipulation of data and enables straight through processing of applications.
Open and standardized technology allows for a shared, collaborative workflow and development in partnership to build solutions that are tailored for different needs. OPUS is a configurable system that lets you create custom point-of-sale solutions for advisors, providing them the means to build fruitful relationships with their clients.
OPUS includes these 5 built-in modules:
The System is comprised of 4 add-on modules:
FOR MORE INFORMATION
If you are interested in knowing more about how OPUS will shorten your sales cycle, improve accuracy and reduce administration time, contact us at 1.877.575.5510 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.