AnnuityNet Inc. and Info-Onerivals in the annuity platform arenaare starting to turn Web-based distribution of annuities into a real business.
AnnuityNet and Info-One, the owner of the VARDS Trading annuity order-entry system, both spent years setting up distribution systems and attracting clients.
But now both companies have gone live.
Tim Lyons, vice president of sales channel technology services at Nationwide Financial Services Inc., Columbus, Ohio, praises both companies efforts.
“Its in everybodys interest to move to electronic applications,” Mr. Lyons said. Well-designed electronic systems “can deliver business to us in good order.”
Moving to systems that can do something as simple as ensuring that clients have come up with asset allocations that add up to 100 percent could make the annuity sales process more efficient and more profitable, he noted.
Executives at each company have questions about the other companys statistics, but AnnuityNet says it is handling about 30,000 transactions through its system each month.
The companys system is distributing more than 100 products for 11 insurers and has live connections to broker-dealers that have the ability to reach about one-third of the reps at banks, wirehouses and other financial institutions, according to Kristina Vaughn, the Herndon, Va., companys senior vice president of product development.
The company has developed an automated, XML-based system that will help it load about 60 more products in the next six weeks, Ms. Vaughn added.
A year ago, she said, insurers wanted to know whether the system would really work and whether sales reps would actually use it. Now, insurers have more confidence in the system because they see other big insurers and distributors using it, she said.
Today, “its a matter of getting the products up,” she said.