New technologies are upending life insurance sales professionals’ practices as never before, partly because of the efficiencies they bring, but also because of changing consumer expectations about how, and the speed with which, business should be conducted.
This is especially true for veteran producers long accustomed to working with pen and paper. The technology shift can be overwhelming. One reason: New solutions coming to market entail a learning curve — requiring time from advisors who may not have much to spare. A second factor is the intimidatingly large number and variety of technologies.
What became evident while researching my technology feature for this issue (pg. 26) is that certain IT solutions used by life insurance manufacturers and others engaged in product distribution are mission-critical.
These include: (1) software that lets producers access, package and expedite information of interest to client and prospects through a range of media, both print and electronic; (2) applications that allow advisors to easily create custom presentations about products and planning concepts based on the client’s financial situation, goals and objectives; (3) customer relationship management (CRM) software used for handling a company’s interactions with current and future customers; and for organizing, automating, and synchronizing sales, marketing, customer service and technical support needs; and (4) analytics software that, when used for marketing optimization, looks for patterns in data to predict the outcome of consumer outreach campaigns and to guide decisions for investment and consumer targeting.
Fortunately for advisors with limited funds, many of these capabilities are already available (or soon will be) from product manufacturers and marketing organizations that are spearheading major technology initiatives. Among the companies: AXA, Prudential Financial, National Financial Partners and Pacific Life.
Another insurer on the cutting edge is ING U.S. Formerly a unit of the Netherlands-based ING Group, the company is rebranding itself this year as Voya Financial to reflect its new status as an independent, U.S.-based insurer. While distancing itself from its European heritage, the company is retaining — and building on — technologies that have proved a competitive advantage. One example is a marketing solution that lets producers promote their practices, planning concepts and products offered through ING. Co-branded information can be expedited both as printed literature or electronically, the latter boasting extra features, such as an auto acknowledgement when the recipient has opened the producer’s e-mail.