National Underwriter Life & Health is pleased to name Butch Britton as the winner of the 2011 Industry Elite Award for Market Innovation.

Butch, insurance CEO at ING since 2005, was nominated by Ellen Carney, Senior Analyst eBusiness and Channel Strategy with Forrester Research.

ING, while under Butch’s aegis, has been at the forefront of the insurance world with regards to their recognition of a need to sell term life insurance to the middle market in an engaging and contemporary manner.

Armed with research by both Forrester and LIMRA, Butch was able to recognize and capitalize on coverage gaps for life insurance in the U.S. middle market. ING’s North American insurance unit was able to construct a collection of interactive insurance tools to engage this demographic, namely the ING For Life tool that seeks to make life insurance more comprehensible and friendly for prospective buyers through a web platform that is engaging and easy to navigate.

“When we first looked at the ING For Life concept, the people that were helping us develop it were working in other fields, and I thought that this has got to have an application in the life insurance business,” Britton says. “The biggest challenge you’ve got to people buying life insurance is that people do not know much about the product and they don’t know how much they need. So, we decided to build a tool that makes this easy for them.”

There are other insurance companies with interactive education tools, but most are not as contemporary or comprehensive as ING For Life. According to Butch, the streaming video is a huge component of this. He feels that this tool is the answer for ING to serve the long-underserved middle market.

The tool has also taken note of the shifting demographics in North America by recently introducing the ING For Life platform in Spanish.

Upon receiving the Industry Elite award, Britton stressed that ING For Life is very much a team effort. “Sometimes you feel kind of bashful to win an award when you have a whole team that helped you create it,” he says.