By: Sam Kaufman
Partner, Agent Support Group

2018 will be the start of an era of rapid technological change for the life insurance industry, an industry that has been lagging behind others in the financial service arena.   Technological change will affect the way every advisor does business going forward and our relationships with the companies.   Those who choose not to navigate the new technology super highways will be left behind in a cloud of dust. 

Early in the year many companies will be introducing advanced accelerated underwriting programs that will require the advisor to utilize an electronic application for submission.   In other words, no electronic application then no access to the accelerated program.    One company has already announced that they will be offering their portfolio of products up to age 65 for amounts up to 2,500,000 for all underwriting classes, standard or better, via the electronic process.   Electronic submission and accelerated underwriting are the result of companies and agencies alike needing to reduce their upfront costs for acquiring business.  

Michelle DellaPia joined ASG in November to lead our electronic application advisor training and submission processes.   ASG is devoted to making certain that its advisors are able to take advantage of all the latest technological processes and not miss the train as it pulls out of the station.  

This is just the beginning of a five year period where vast changes will be effecting the way advisors do business.   Artificial Intelligence (AI) will become the norm and although there are many privacy issues surrounding its implementation, you can expect that may applications will be underwritten in “Robot” like fashion.   The primary goal is to achieve enhanced customer satisfaction and make the application process easier and more efficient. 

Enhancing customer satisfaction on the front end will be easier than the post issue service which continues to be an area that creates a multitude of problems.    Many of these problems could be reconciled if the companies would come together on the way post issue transactions are processed.   When you realize that every company has its own change of owner/beneficiary form, you begin to realize the seriousness of the problem as this, in itself, only serves to create questions and in the end dissatisfaction.  

The next big area to require change is the 1035 Exchange process.   Today when I get to a checkout counter, the person asks were you able to find everything you wanted and hope you come back.   When you leave a life insurance company via a 1035 Exchange, they kick you in the backside and ask you never to come back.    I don’t quite understand this philosophy as it appears contrary to enhancing a customer experience.    Banks clear checks in a matter of hours and life insurance companies take a minimum of 20 days to process a 1035 exchange.   

Like usual I am probably preaching to the choir, but as a good preacher I wish my congregation of loyal advisors the best for 2018. ASG will always be here to help.