The 6 biggest announcements from life and health insurers this week

Paradigm shift news roundup: FAHU, Legal & General, Maxwell Health, Novarica, SKYGEN USA, Penn Mutual

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

Florida’s largest gathering of healthcare brokers, agents, consultants and carrier representatives begins Thursday, July 23rd during the Florida Association of Health Underwriters: Symposium 2015 at the Renaissance Orlando. The symposium agenda includes:

  • Protecting Assets for the Future
  • Defined Contribution
  • Voluntary Benefits Panel
  • Obtaining the Best Long Term Care
  • 10 things you should know about COBRA
  • Medicare Secrets
  • Healthcare Law & Ethics
  • Employee Retirement Income Security Act 

Janet Trautwein, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) in Washington, D.C., will deliver the symposium’s opening address. FAHU is a non-profit organization of insurance professionals dedicated to serving the public by strengthening the insurance marketplace, advocating for effective legislation, ethical leadership and professional standards, and by educating our members and the consumers they serve.

As part of their commitment to closing the life insurance coverage gap in the United States, Legal & General America has launched a digital experiment, HowToBuyLifeInsurance.com. It's a website designed to be an educational tool for people to learn more about life insurance and get a ballpark price range on what term life costs. The website addresses the three main questions on a consumer's mind: Why do you need life insurance, how much do you need and how much does it cost? By experimenting with ways that they can approach consumers and bring them along a digital path that is engaging, informative and non-threatening, Legal & General America hopes to create interest among the disinterested and action among those who are aware of their need, but are paralyzed by confusion and disenchantment. Legal & General America has partnered with SelectQuote Life to fulfill the needs of those customers who come through HowToBuyLifeInsurance.com. Senior vice president of sales and marketing Frank Gencarelli explained that, "The real return from this experiment isn't the life insurance we sell while conducting it, but what we learn about what works (and what doesn't) in the mission to create demand among the uninsured."

Maxwell Health announced a partnership with Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company (Reliance Standard) to include a top-line suite of life, long-term disability, short-term disability, dental, vision, critical Illness and accident insurance products in Maxwell's benefits marketplace. In business for more than a century, Reliance Standard is an ancillary employee benefits carrier, nationally ranked in group life and disability insurance. They market a full line of voluntary (employee-paid) coverage options including critical illness and accident insurance, and integrated absence management products for employers of all sizes. Maxwell Health is an end-to-end operating system for benefits that includes a product and carrier-agnostic marketplace, a user interface, and an intuitive, lifestyle-based system that bundles benefits for simplified, personalized benefits enrollment. Groups using the platform have access to a comprehensive benefits administration system for HR administrators that supports complex benefits strategies for groups of any size, saving time, money, and paper. Maxwell engages employees after enrollment with an iOS and Android app that includes virtual insurance ID cards, providing benefits and wellness information 24/7.

IT initiatives ranging from portal projects and data import capabilities to the adoption of testing centers of excellence and total core systems replacements were among the 14 case studies nominated for their demonstrable business impact by a group of insurer CIO members of the Novarica Insurance Technology Research Council. The nominated case studies appear with more than 20 others in the fifth annual Novarica Best Practices Case Study Compendium, which is published here. The nominees for the 2015 Novarica Research Council Impact Awards are:

Practice category

  • Ameritas Implements Project Execution Framework

  • Trustmark Implements Testing Center of Excellence

Quick Hit category

  • Fidelity & Guarantee Life Launches e-App

  • Pekin Insurance Shifts Sales Team to Tablets

  • Philadelphia Insurance Implements Legal Bill Review Solution

Expansion category

  • Citizens Property Deploys Online Marketplace to Redirect Ineligible Risk

  • CNA Deploys Enhanced Portal for BOP Endorsements

  • Tokio Marine North America Deploys Analytics to Improve Agent Performance Management

  • Unum Automates Data Import for Enrollment

Transformation category

  • AFBA/5Star Life Develops List Bill Solution

  • HCC Launches New Product Line and Portal

  • Industrial Alliance Home and Auto Replaces Core Systems with Integrated Suite

  • MetLife Converts to Unified Global Trading Platform

  • Pekin Insurance Transforms IT Organization, Processes, and Infrastructure

The winners in each category will be selected by the insurer CIO members of the full Novarica Insurance Technology Research Council, which numbers nearly 400 members. For information about last year’s nominees and winners, go here.  

Creating opportunities for payers as they face challenges adjusting to the constantly shifting landscape of health insurance in the 21st Century, a collection of benefit management companies united to establish a family of companies through the evolution of a new umbrella brand, reinvigorated company brands, and a comprehensive marketing strategy. The companies Wonderbox Technologies, Scion Dental, Vestica Healthcare, American Therapy Administrators, and Ocular Benefits have joined forces to create the SKYGEN USA Family of Companies. The new brand offers shared resources, synergies, and integration to deliver heightened value to health care organizations including payers, providers, managed care organizations and innovative new delivery systems such as Accountable Care Organizations. The Family of Companies has also recently established an analytics company focused on bringing a new wave of technology-driven intelligence to plan sponsors named Hylis Pharmacy Solutions. The launch of SKYGEN USA enables healthcare payers and organizations to drive process improvements and dramatically reduce the cost of delivering benefits while ensuring compliance with government regulations. Payers can now more efficiently bundle and scale benefit offerings to take advantage of rapidly developing market opportunities, although they still retain the option to select each technology and benefit management solution individually, as well.

Michael O. Williams, CFP, has joined The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company as vice president of the Independence Financial Network (IFN). In his new position, Williams will be responsible for the continued growth and development of the IFN channel, supporting Penn Mutual regions across the country as they continue to attract financial advisors to the 168-year-old company. Williams has over 25 years of experience in the life and investment industry and proven success in leadership positions. Prior to joining Penn Mutual, Williams served as divisional vice president (independence channel) at Pacific Life where he helped the company achieve significant growth over a four year period. He’s also held senior positions with Manulife/John Hancock and Sagemark Consulting/Lincoln Financial Advisors. 

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