The "Company" examined in this White Paper is a major financial services firm offering Variable and Fixed Annuity products through six insurance manufacturers, including its own. The Company recognized the need to improve the services they provide to their advisors to spur continued growth, increase annuity product offerings, and simplify the sales process.The distributor and their insurance partners made a commitment to move toward an automated environment. Together, they improved operations without increasing cost and implemented a configurable solution that handled complex business rules to simplify the sale and reduce Not in Good Order applications.
The Company was motivated to improve their end customer's experience during the annuity purchase process by reducing the back-and-forth conversations required to resolve the Not in Good Order applic ation status and by shortening the cycle time from sale to contract issue. The Company wanted a way to simplify the sale in order to eliminate objections to selling annuity products. They also wanted to ensure the back office was scalable to handle a large increase to annuity sales.
The Company created a strategy that overhauled their annuity sales process and aligned with Ebix for their order entry system to facilitate the sale of their insurance products. They positioned their existing Oracle Insurance Policy Administration System as the configurable back office platform to process the annuity sale at their insurance site. The two platforms integrated the Company's front and back office systems to ensure a consistent advisor experie nce across their insurance operation. The process they adopted readily supported annuity insurance standards defined by IRI, ACORD and DTCC Insurance Processing Services, which leant itself to efficiency gains across the organization .
The project was not a small undertaking and required over 18 months of innovative thought and coordination across multiple insurers, software vendors, and outside consultants. Software and process enhancements and the creation of new processes and system i nterfaces were also required. The Company selected VERTEX to help create the transformation strategy and implement the process and system requirements on the Ebix and O racle platforms as well as provide guidance and support to all of their externa l insurance partners. The Company and VERTEX worked together as close partners throughout the entire project.
Business and technology considerations to support the a dvisor's experience on the sales platform included:
In order to automate the paper process and create a seamless experience for the advisor, the Company had very specific requirements and asked their insurance partners to support their requirements and provide specific deliverables during the project timeli ne.
Some of the insurance partners' specific requirements included:
The Company analyzed their existing annuity offerings and selected produc ts that fit their strategic direction. The offering s included a mix of deferred, income, variable, and fixed products . Product reviews were conducted with representatives from the Company, their insurance partners , and VERTEX to determine consistent advisor experience across products. The Company ’ s i nsurance p artners, and VERTEX , acting on behalf of Company ’ s insurer, implemented changes to the product rules via the ACORD Product Profile for Annuities ( 1201) and demonstrations were provided to the distributor to ensure consist advisor experience across carrier s
In order to vet the product rules across insurers, VERTEX created use cases based on insurers ’ product prospectus and business rules documentati on. The use cases included applicable business scenarios for each product and were validated by the complex.
While the external insurance partners were completing their tasks to support the requirements, VERTEX performed the same set of tasks for the Comp any ’ s internal insurer. VERTEX analyzed the Company ’ s internal annuity product offerings to determine STP gaps, provided recommendations, and completed the stop - gap tasks to ensure the products functioned correctly during the automated sales process.
VERT EX documented the Company ’ s internal form requirements, identified gaps in form generation and data population, created solutions to close the gaps, and performed the work. VERTEX also managed form questions and provided support to the Company ’ s external insurance partners during the course of the project.
The Company ’ s internal insurer needed to configure O racle Insurance Policy Administration to accept and process DTCC ’ s “ APP/SUB ” file, which is the data file sent from the order entry system to the Company that represents each of the applications completed, validated, and submitted on the platform. VERTEX provided the business acumen and performed the data mapping activities so that the Company could configure the platform. VERTEX worked clos ely with the Co mpany to successfully manage the processing of the file into the system. The system was thoroughly tested by VERTEX so that it was fully functional in time for STP launch.
Suitability requirements are supported on the sales platform. VERTEX created the suitability questions and questionnaires for each line of business (fixed, deferred, variable and income) and tested the requirements on the platform .
The Company implemented a number of customizations to the order entry system in order to han dle their unique processing requirements. VERTEX and the Company reviewed and confirmed each of the customization specifications and worked closely with the vendor to ensure the customizations were functioning properly prior to STP launch.
Integrated te sti ng across their insurance complex was lead by VERTEX.
The Company is growing its business through its commitment to solving customer needs through a diverse set of financial solutions , so the ir top priority is responding to their customers ’ an d advisor s ’ needs. Implementing STP allowed them to s implify the annuity sales process in order to provide a better customer and advisor experience . Mandating STP ensured them that their customers, advisors , and back office would realize the benefits.
Prior to the Company ’ s STP initiative, the ir sales and annuity staff relied almost entirely on manual, paper - based processes. When annuity applications arrived in the mail, new business personnel verified the information and attendant forms before typing the information into the Company ’ s policy administration system. The paper process was labor intensive and expensive. With STP, the Company sets up the new contract on the Oracle platform the same day the application is entered by the advisor – electronic ally, with little to no human intervention . There is no need to reach out to the advisor to provide clarifications on illegible applications and o perating c osts were significantly reduced and operations are more scalable .
As a result of straight - through processing , the Company has gained the ability to quickly adopt new insurance products and process large volumes of new business applications while meeting service levels for response, reliability, and system availability. They also have taken advantage of each platform's ability to ensure that the annuity sales meet compliance and suitability requirements as well as each of the insurer's In Good Order application requirements.
With STP, in just 18 months, the Company transformed its processes and was able to handle 17 percent growth in new annuity business without incurring additional processing expense.
One of the largest financial services companies in the wor l d. Offering insurance products through its internal insurance company and network of external carriers.
Transform and automate the new business application process in order to gain efficiencies, reduce operating costs, and improve advisor services.
Introduce automated business processes and technically advanced solutions to adopt Straight Through Processing functions.
Reduced Not in Good Order applications by 50% and enabled processing of 17% sales increase with no additional operations cost.
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