Sales Illustration Migrates To The Web
Sales illustration software is becoming more than just a tool to help life insurance agents meet National Association of Insurance Commissioners truth-in-selling rules.
Illustration software available from insurance carriers, for example, often integrates with other software to assist the producer in needs analysis, asset allocation, product training and even in developing entire sales presentations.
From the point of view of insurance carriers and agency principals, the systems also help them control the sales process. Illustration software often has built-in capability to assure that agents not only include accurate illustrations in their presentations, but also that they meet state suitability standards.
The most basic sales illustration systems are Windows-based. They are distributed by carriers to their agents and brokers on CD-ROM discs.
Web-enabled systems are accessed online, along with customer information, rather than installed on the sales reps hard drive.
The advantages of a Web-based illustration system are seen in a new program introduced at the end of January by John Hancock Life Insurance Company in Boston.
Hancock introduced its agents to what it says is the industrys first online sales and in-force illustration system, known as e-Hansel.
It is a real-time version of its older Hansel illustration software, which is still available to sales reps as a resident Windows-based system.
Like Hansel, e-Hansel helps Hancocks producers make new business proposals and keep detailed information on their policyholders. Unlike the older desktop system, however, e-Hansel runs directly off Hancocks server. No downloading is required.
All client data housed on John Hancocks servers is kept updated by the home office, the company says.
With the agents working directly off Hancocks servers, theres no need to worry about their using an outdated version of the software, notes John Analambidakis, executive director of advanced marketing development for Hancock.
“Other illustration applications are on the Web, but are not fully Web-enabled,” maintains Analambidakis. “Theyre just running Windows on the Web.”
Most carriers, however, are using illustration systems developed by outside vendors, rather than in-house systems.
One such system is WebStory. More than an illustration system, it is actually a Web-based sales presentation system used by many carriers to integrate not just illustration systems, but also software from a variety of vendors, into a comprehensive sales presentation tool.
WebStory is available from Pteradac.com, Eagan, Minn., formerly known as LogicPlus.
“The typical sales illustration system puts a whole lot of numbers on paper for you, but it doesnt necessarily tell a story,” explains Robert Macey, senior software engineer for Pteradac.
WebStory takes policy values from the illustration system and presents them in a graphically interesting format, ready within only a few hours, if need be, for a client meeting, says Macey.
Macey declined to quote pricing for WebStory.