The 10 biggest announcements from life and health insurers this week

Paradigm shift news roundup: AgentMethods Social, The Hartford, Life Happens, Pioneer Business, Kaleido, Renaissance Dental, SMA, Ash Brokerage, GMC, VIAA

The health and life insurance industry news roundup for this week. The health and life insurance industry news roundup for this week.

Effectively using social media is critical to any company’s marketing plan. This is especially true for independent insurance agents, brokers and small agencies. The newly implemented AgentMethods Social makes it easy for insurance agents to tap into the power of social media to strengthen customer relationships, generate leads, and grow sales, according to a press release. Watch this short video describing AgentMethods Social to see how easy it is to tap into the social media network. As a platform, AgentMethods is ideal for the independent agent because it provides the means to build a site quickly without any technical knowledge. For an agency or broker, it becomes a value-add to offer agents. AgentMethods is available immediately for a 14-day free trial

The Hartford has launched a mobile app that allows consumers covered by The Hartford’s group disability plans to manage their claims anytime, anywhere. Using the benefits app, consumers can start a short-term disability claim, update personal data, and check on the status of a claim, including payment information. The app also features definitions and benefits details to help customers navigate through the claims process. The “My Benefits” app is available for free download from the Apple® App StoreSM or Google PlayTM Store. In addition, consumers can file and track a disability claim over the phone or online at The Hartford at Work website.

Life Happens, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating Americans about the importance of life insurance, announced the launch of an updated mobile app for the Life Happens Life Insurance Needs Calculator, available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. The calculator is an easy and user-friendly way for insurance professionals to conduct a needs analysis at the point-of-sale, regardless of web connectivity. The calculator is just one of the many tools offered by Life Happens to prepare agents to have smart conversations about the true costs of life insurance with their clients. Life Happens also develops marketing materials designed to build awareness among the industry and general public. The organization’s 20th Anniversary direct mail and video campaign recently received one silver and two bronze Telly Awards, which honor groundbreaking web commercials, videos and films, and outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs. More information on all of the organization’s marketing materials and programs can be found at lifehappens.org.

Pioneer Business Systems are proud to introduce the Captain Call Dare challenge: a game designed to inject some fun into internal office calls and conference calls which aren’t traditionally the most exciting part of the work day. The Captain’s mission is to make phone calls more interesting and exciting through a series of dares based around some of the most common office clichés and buzzwords, with a few tricky surprises thrown in. Each dare can be completed or skipped with points awarded for each one successfully achieved. At the end of the call, players can challenge their friends and colleagues to beat their score. The game is designed to increase engagement and productivity on calls and as a bit of fun. Pioneer Business Systems provide business phone systems to smarter SMEs.

Wealth Management Marketing and Angie Herbers Inc., two firms serving the independent financial advisory industry, have unified under one name, Kaleido Inc. Kaleido’s mission is to help advisory firms break through growth barriers to build brilliant businesses. The name change completes the process of integrating each firm’s services into one seamless offering. The firm’s debut service offering, Synergy, is the first and only integrated practice management offering available to advisory firms, according to a press release. Firms that desire to grow can now get ongoing practice management help in six areas (management, client service, human capital, sales and marketing, operations, and corporate finance) under one roof. To help firms predict how well they are positioned for growth and identify the roadblocks preventing them from achieving their objectives, Kaleido has developed a proprietary business assessment called the Kaleido Scope™. The Kaleido Scope™ is complimentary to advisory firms on the Kaleido website.

The Renaissance Family Foundation, an affiliate of Renaissance Dental, will award $10,000 to the Kanawha County Dental Health Council in Charleston, West Virginia. The grant will provide funding for a new fully functional hygiene unit and dentist chair in the Council’s main four-chair dental clinic at West Side Elementary. The new chair was unveiled and a check was presented to executive director Amelia J. Potesta, DDS, on April 15 at 10 a.m. at West Side Elementary, 100 Florida St. Charleston, West Virginia. The Kanawha County Dental Health Council supports seven free school-based dental clinics located in Kanawha County Schools that annually serve more than 2,000 students from families whose income is at or below 200 percent of federal poverty levels. Services are provided in school clinics by professional staff and, in special cases, the private offices of volunteer orthodontists, oral surgeons, or pediatric dentists who provide the needed services at no cost when possible. Renaissance Dental, a dental services provider, is well-known for its flexible and customizable dental plans that offer extensive coverage of services, maximum choice and value, and hassle-free benefits for individuals and groups of any size.

Strategy Meets Action (SMA), an insurance strategic advisory firm, is now accepting submissions for the annual SMA Innovation in Action Awards Program to recognize innovative and transformative initiatives in insurance. Winners will be announced during the SMA Summit at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston on September 21st, 2015. Submissions are due by June 30th. The prestigious SMA Innovation in Action Awards will be presented to insurers and solution providers that have successfully implemented a key business initiative or project/solution that demonstrates creative, game-changing results through transformational approaches and innovative solutions. Insurers are achieving major advances in service quality, product innovation, enhanced customer experience, new levels of underwriting excellence, and actionable business insights through analytics.

Industry veteran Bob Klein will join Ash Brokerage to lead its protection products distribution, the insurance firm announced via a press release. As executive vice president of life sales distribution, Klein will be responsible for all of the agency’s life, long-term care and disability income insurance sales through its existing partnerships, as well as the development of new sales channels. With nearly 30 years’ experience in the insurance industry, Klein most recently was senior vice president of specialty benefits at Sun Life Financial, where he served in leadership roles for more than five years. Prior to that, he spent more than 23 years at Lincoln Financial, where for a time he was responsible for the carrier’s relationship with Ash Brokerage.

GMC Software Technology (GMC), a customer communications management (CCM) and output management company, announced that Inspire Dynamic Statement was named a finalist for the 2015 SIIA Software CODiE Awards in two categories: Best Enterprise Mobile Application and Best Mobile Development Solution. The SIIA CODiE Awards is the premier award for the software and information industries, recognizing product excellence for 30 years. The GMC Inspire Dynamic Statement is an interactive, digital customer communication that delivers intuitive charts, graphs and other graphical representations of customer financial, insurance or health information. Financial institutions, insurers and health care organizations can use Inspire Dynamic Statement to meet the needs of an ever-increasing mobile population by providing deep interactive capabilities, a higher level of personalization, accessibility online or offline and multichannel delivery options. Winners of the SIIA CODiE Awards will be announced during a special virtual SIIA Software CODiE Awards Ceremony on May 7.

Valley Insurance Agency Alliance (VIAA), a cohesive family of 85 independent insurance agencies in Missouri and Southern Illinois, has hired Janice Dunphy as regional vice president for Southern Illinois. Dunphy’s responsibilities include identification, recruitment and management of a growing group of alliance members. She is accountable for implementing a regional plan to pursue and enlist new partnerships with independent insurance agencies. Prior to this position, Dunphy served as a marketing representative at a state insurance organization for more than 15 years. She initiated and facilitated relationships among insurance agents to achieve a cohesive group.

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