Whether the focus is on life insurance, health insurance, annuities, long term care coverage or some variation on the above, agents, financial advisors and carriers have their hands full trying to differentiate products and determine the best course for their customers.

Fortunately, software vendors are offering a variety of solutions to meet both general and specific needs in both the sales process and account management. Following are some of the latest entries.

o Sungard announced that it has added unified managed account (UMA) capabilities to WealthStation, a wealth management technology solutions platform that helps financial advisors manage their high-net-worth clients’ assets.

According to SunGard, Salt Lake City, Utah, WealthStation 2.0 helps financial advisors at banks, broker/dealers and independent advisory firms to consolidate assets from multiple accounts into one central planning and decision-making environment. Advisors can then access multiple investment programs on a single platform from one point of entry. In addition, the company says, the platform integrates the separate workflows of asset allocation and investment selection, “helping advisors spend more time on asset gathering and client-facing activities.”

WealthStation is designed to help advisors increase productivity and efficiency in profiling clients, determining appropriate asset allocations, and making investment recommendations in a “point-and-click” environment, says SunGard.

According to Mike Winkel, president of Sungard’s Advisor Technologies business unit, “WealthStation helps advisors effectively advise their clients without the constraints of any one investment program or product, helping the advisor to hone strategies specific to the client’s needs.” He adds that the platform “helps planners to grasp and solve their clients’ complex high-net-worth needs at a holistic level, while ultimately helping provide them with a higher level of account customization and improve tax efficiencies.

WealthStation with enabled financial planning, asset allocation and CRM modules is priced at approximately $1,000 per year per user, with discounts applying for multiple users, a company spokesperson says. Further details are available at .

o Camilion Solutions, a provider of product management, underwriting and online sales products for the insurance industry, has announced the release of ProductAuthority V5.1, an enterprise product management solution.

ProductAuthority V5.1 now incorporates foundational standards that make the product fully Web Services compliant, says Toronto-based Camilion. It also incorporates a key ACORD XML Life and Annuity Specification to improve efficiency and manage risk in the annuity sales process.

The new product enables insurers using an open SOA (service-oriented architecture) to more easily and cost-effectively integrate product data and rules into their operational systems, including policy administration systems, the company notes. Product data and rules are stored in Product Authority’s central repository, where they can be exposed as Web Services to “all back-end systems that need to be product-aware.”

According to Camilion, this eliminates the hard-coding of product data and rules into multiple systems. It also results in increased systems agility, allowing insurers to implement or change products in “days.”

The new version also includes a testing facility to allow insurers to thoroughly test products before they are launched. Insurers can test product rules; define, store and manage test suites; and share or re-use test suites across products, the company explains.

Pricing starts at $500,000 for a typical installation, a company spokesperson notes.

o LTCi Decision Systems, Inc., a long-term care software development and consulting firm, has released an expanded version of its long-term care financial planning software.

The LTC Economic Impact Planning Model is designed to assist advisors and clients in analyzing the lifetime financial impact of various LTC planning scenarios, says LTCi Decisions Systems, based in Orange County, Calif. It can determine the impact on family wealth of long-term care with or without insurance. Economic impact projections are based on client-specific planning assumptions provided by the client or planner.

Planning variables considered include client data, LTC care factors, and insurance benefit design, and the planner may include or exclude advanced planning options, the company says. Such options include tax impact on premium and cost of care, asset liquidation expenses, loss of investment opportunity, and premium rate change productions.

The model is available by subscription at a cost of $299 for the first 18 months, with updates provided at no cost during that period, a company spokesperson notes.

o The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America offers Guardian representatives and their customers The Living Balance Sheet (LBS), which organizes a customer’s complete financial life in “one easily-accessible, real-time view.”

According to New York-based Guardian, the software application can download financial data from more than 4,000 financial institutions and automatically feed it into the “highly-secure, password-protected Living Balance Sheet.” It tracks financial data and monitors the status of a customer’s stocks, bonds, insurance, mortgage, bank and credit card accounts, as well as reward programs and frequent flier miles.

“LBS provides a real-time, comprehensive picture of [a customer's] assets, liabilities, cash flow and overall net worth,” says Guardian. The LBS uses an electronic vault to store vital records, such as birth certificates, wills, tax returns and trusts. Users can also safeguard personal audio files containing mementos and last wishes for families.

The cost of LBS for agents is $300 per month for an unlimited number of clients, a company spokesperson says. “This cost is heavily subsidized by Guardian and is intended to allow Guardian agents to offer the LBS platform to all of their clients at no cost,” the spokesperson adds.

A demonstration is available at .