Insurance News Roundup: Week of Aug. 22, 2016

9 new developments from around the insurance industry

“Shifting demographics, evolving technology and changing regulation are altering the world we live in," says LIMRA's Robert Kerzner. That organization's Rising Stars of Innovation are helping insurance companies remain relevant. (Photo: iStock) “Shifting demographics, evolving technology and changing regulation are altering the world we live in," says LIMRA's Robert Kerzner. That organization's Rising Stars of Innovation are helping insurance companies remain relevant. (Photo: iStock)

Insurance executive profiled in new book

Susan L. Combs is featured in new book.

“Above and Beyond the Glass Ceiling” (Creative Classic Publications) is a new book by author Michael Caldwell (“The Wizards: Millionaire Magicians of the Vancouver Stock Market”) that details the rise of 25 female business entrepreneurs. Its subjects include Susan L. Combs, founder and president of Combs & Company, a full service New York City insurance brokerage firm. “More than anything, these stories should prove to any woman who wants to start her own venture that it can be done,” Combs says. “What all these stories have in common is perseverance. Even the women who are known to everyone now had to start at the beginning and work their way to the top.” The book is available through amazon.com.

LIMRA honors its top 25 Rising Stars of Innovation Under 40

LIMRA recently announced the winners of its contest to recognize the top 25 Rising Stars of Innovation under 40 in the financial services industry. Click here to view a complete list of the winners and read excerpts from their nominations. In a prepared statement about these Rising Stars, Robert Kerzner, president and CEO, LIMRA LOMA and LL Global said: “Shifting demographics, evolving technology and changing regulation are altering the world we live in. To remain relevant into today’s market, companies must adapt their current business practices and adopt new ones… We are pleased to recognize 25 rising stars of innovation who have demonstrated a capacity to look at business challenges through a new lens and implement new and creative strategies to tackle them. These young professionals represent LIMRA member companies of all sizes across the globe. We are delighted to celebrate their accomplishments and celebrate their successes.”

The Woodlands Financial Group marks 15 years

The Woodlands Financial Group in Texas is celebrating its 15th Anniversary with top industry rankings and the launch of a new national insurance company, Gordy Bunch, founder, president, and CEO, announced Monday. Bunch founded his business just days before 9/11. “It was the worst possible market condition to start any business,” he said in a statement about his business milestone, “but I believed I had developed a unique product and business model that had the potential to turn the insurance industry on its head.” By 2015, TWFG recorded more than $400,000,000 in written premiums, and had grown to 334 branches in 17 states. For more information, visit twfg.com.

Hearsay Social releases powerful client management platform

Hearsay Social, Inc. has launched Hearsay 360, a multi-functional client engagement platform that enables financial advisors and insurance agents to communicate with clients across all digital channels including social media, websites, email and text messaging. According to platform creators, by removing the compliance and usability barriers that prevent many advisors from communicating with clients on digital channels, Hearsay 360 provides insurance and finance professionals with more time to prospecting and relationship-building. Click here to read more about Hearsay 360.

 

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Seasoned professional to oversee two Missouri operations

Brian PidgeonPOWERS Insurance and Benefits and sister company Valley Insurance Agency Alliance (VIAA) recently named Brien Pidgeon as their new Chief Operating Officer.  POWERS Insurance and Benefits is one of the largest family owned and operated independent insurance agencies in the bi-state region.  VIAA is a cohesive family of nearly 100 independent insurance agencies in Missouri and Southern Illinois. In this position, Pidgeon will be responsible for the agency’s internal operations while maintaining an atmosphere of integrity, profitability, professionalism and exceptional customer service.  He also will help position the companies for future growth. Pidgeon’s accomplishments including being a Fulbright Scholar, earning a master’s degree in business from Lindenwood University, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. “Brien’s talent is a custom fit to our companies” POWERS’ CEO Pierce Powers said in a press release. “His presence will assure our ongoing success in serving our clients and family of agents for many years to come.” 

Forethought Life named to Ward’s 50 top list (again)

Global Atlantic Financial Group’s issuer of annuities and preneed life insurance, Forethought Life Insurance Company, has earned a spot on the 2016 Ward’s 50® list of top life and health insurance companies. This is the seventh consecutive year that the insurer has been included on this list. Ward’s 50 is published annually by Ward Group, an Aon Hewitt company and the leading provider of benchmarking and best practice services for insurance companies. “Having one of Global Atlantic’s insurance companies continuously named to the 2016 Ward’s 50 for the last seven years is a testament to our strength and strategic direction,” said Robert Arena, President of Global Atlantic’s retirement and life businesses.

CBLife plans iGO to support the expectations of millennial clients

iPipeline®, a provider of cloud-based software solutions for the life insurance industry, has announced Colorado Bankers Life Insurance Company® (CBLife) has selected iGO® to process its Timber Ridge Series® term life product with a critical illness rider. CBLife is the first North American insurance carrier to participate in iPipeline’s new iGO “JumpStart” program. iGO is an intelligent fillable form used for the processing of life insurance applications, to streamline new business activities and provide flexibility and options to support growing millennial expectations for digital technology in buying and selling activities. Under its JumpStart program, a single term life or final expense product is selected for accelerated deployment within 60 days at a highly competitive price. Standard features include wizard screens, basic rules, doctor and Rx lookup, address verification, e-signature, print and wet sign, email validation, PDF submit, SSO, Admin tools, standard reports, and responsive design. The deployed solution can be enhanced at any time to add additional functionality.

Efficient Advisors selects Gladstone Analytics

­Efficient Advisors (EA), a third-party asset manager and strategist, announced a strategic partnership with Gladstone Associates, a premier corporate advisory firm for the financial services industry, to provide EA’s advisors with access to the Gladstone Analytics software suite of assessments and tools. Gladstone Analytics software enables advisors to gauge the health of their practice and grade themselves on their firm's business stability, client stability and overall market risk, then take appropriate steps to improve their firm’s value. "Like Efficient Advisors, Gladstone Associates is committed to helping financial advisory firms perpetuate and grow into the future," said EA President Nicole Newlin. "By offering our advisors access to Gladstone Analytics, we can help them make the most informed decisions on critical business issues."

Brightway Insurance named to Inc. 5000 nine years in a row

With Inc. magazine’s release earlier this month of the 2016 Inc. 5000, Brightway Insurance, the Jacksonville-based national property/casualty insurance retailer selling through a network of franchised independent agencies throughout the country, has again been named one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. The company has received this distinction every year since they began franchising operations in 2008. The ranking is developed using each privately held company’s three-year growth rate, along with 2015 revenue. In the three-year period Inc. evaluated, Brightway grew 53 percent and finished 2015 with revenue of $395.1 million. “We are delighted to be on the list again and, most importantly to us, we are thrilled to be the only property/casualty insurance agency franchisor on the list,” said David Miller, Brightway chairman and founder.

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