Companies always are looking for ways to differentiate their sales and illustration software in the marketplace, and as a result, products are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
“We want to give you a tool where you can tell your story about why your product is valuable to the marketplace,” says Steven Leigh, vice president of sales marketing for Insurance Technologies, Colorado Springs, Colo. He says the companys sales and illustration software, Foresight, is similar to a calculator.
For example, when an insurance carrier rolls out a new variable life product or annuity, it likes to be able to show the client a “historical”or how much money the client would have accrued had he or she invested a certain amount in the product a certain number of years ago, Leigh says.
The software also shows “hypotheticals”calculations that illustrate what a particular investment would be worth in the future, he adds.
The illustration software can be deployed either on the Web or through a disk, Leigh says. Each is popular with different types of rep, he notes.
“Some reps are saying I dont want anything but network, others say I dont want the Internet,” Leigh says.
Insurance Technologies currently is preparing to roll out its latest version of the software, Mobility, which encompasses all platforms, he says.
Foresight allows all insurance products a carrier sells to be put on one platform, says Leigh. Insurance Technologies charges a one-time license fee for its life products of about $150,000-$500,000, with an annual maintenance charge of some percentage of that original number, usually about 20%.
There also are implementation costs that can run between $50,000 and $200,000 per product, he adds.
There are hosting costs as well, Leigh says. They could range between $5,000 and $7,000 a month.
eWizard, by Group Insurance Services Inc., Chattanooga, Tenn., is a “complete client management system,” according to Mary Thompson, a spokeswoman for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, which uses the software.
Originally it was designed for health plans.
eWizard “compiles and organizes all of the information you need to assess whats in the sales pipeline, analyze your sales efforts and refine your sales strategy,” Thompson says.
The product features an online quoting system called BlueWizard. A user enters a clients information once and can generate as many quote configurations as he or she wants without having to rekey client data, she explains.
“Keep track of the options you present and, when a choice is made, simply e-mail the appropriate electronic application back to your sales office,” Thompson says. “Its that easy. Plus, BlueWizard is completely integrated with your companys most current product and pricing information for the most accurate quotes available.”
On the road, eWizard provides a real-time link to a users sales database from most computers with Internet access, she says.
“And, after working offline, eWizard synchronizes with information you enter in with your existing database master,” Thompson notes. “eWizards comprehensive account tracking capabilities help you strengthen support relationships and provide outstanding customer service.”
Among the key benefits of the product are that it manages daily activities based on overall sales strategy; uses online rate calculators; generates quotes and proposals using the most current pricing and product specifications with BlueWizard; accesses the companys white papers, FAQs, marketing materials and other resources; integrates with Microsoft Outlook; customizes the system automatically to trigger literature fulfillment, follow-up calls and daily task reminders; summons detailed account histories; retrieves enrollment applications and more, Thompson says.
Brokers and agents from small to large firms selling life, health or property coverage, can benefit from eWizard, she adds. Currently, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Chattanooga, has 600 brokers using the software.
Pricing information was not provided.
Coss Development Corp., Milwaukee, sells a number of products for the life insurance and financial services industries, says Chief Marketing Officer Dennis Raniewicz.
Insurers using the Coss illustration productsIRIS (for life insurance) and Wealth Illustrator (for annuities)–include life brokerages, multiline insurance companies, those specializing in either annuities (both variable and fixed) or life insurance (both variable and fixed), he says.
Coss currently provides life and/or annuity illustration point-of-sale systems to more than 50 carriers throughout the U.S., he notes.
The illustration products user interface is tailored to each insurers marketing channels to accommodate a range of user needs, Raniewicz says. Some Coss partners offer different interfacesincluding a highly detailed interface for career life agents and a simpler, quick-to-use interface for brokers, bankers and others who prefer a more quote-based, transactional experience, he notes.
Custom illustration software is Coss flagship product. End users of Coss illustrations are diverse: traditional one-company and independent insurance agents, brokers, bankers and financial planners, the company says.
IRIS is a customized illustration system for the hypothetical and historical presentation of life insurance. Coss has developed systems for virtually every type of life product including variable universal life, fixed UL, survivorship, whole life, par and nonpar and term, Raniewicz says.