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LIMRA Aims to Surf the Tech Wave

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LIMRA’s 2018 annual meeting in New York often looked like an insurtech event — and that was on purpose.

LIMRA is a nonprofit, member-owned group that helps life insurers and other financial services companies conduct market research and other types of research, and to use that research to create educational materials and other tools,

Robert Kerzner, who has been LIMRA’s chief executive officer since 2004, is retiring from the CEO post. He helped organize an annual conference with many general sessions and breakout sessions focused on technology, and he also discussed insurtech during his own presentations.

(Related: Levenson to Succeed Kerzner at LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global)

LIMRA gave the meeting the title, “Reclaiming Relevance.”

The group’s leaders talked often here about the need for life insurers to understand, and respond to, all kinds of change, including technological change.

On Monday, Kerzner cited companies like, the web-based life insurer, and, a company that sells instant accidental death and dismemberment and term life policies through the web, as examples of the kinds of companies that are reshaping the life insurance industry.

“None of these companies existed even 10 years ago,” Kerzner said.

On Tuesday, Kerzner said the pace of change has forced him to rethink how someone should run an organization like LIMRA.

Originally, he said, “I wanted to develop a sustainable business model… I realized that’s not a realistic objective.”

The LIMRA board has picked David Levenson, a principal at Edward Jones and former Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. executive, to be LIMRA’s next CEO.

Levenson also emphasized the importance of recognizing and embracing change.

“If you don’t like change,” Levenson said, “you’ll like irrelevance even less.”

LIMRA is a nonprofit, member-owned organization, and Levenson he’ll take a membercentric approach to managing LIMRA.

“You have to immerse yourself in the reality of your customers,” Levenson said.

For LIMRA, he said, that means managers need to immerse themselves in the reality of their 1,200 member companies.

Here are some other LIMRA conference tech and change news happenings:

1. Fraud

LIMRA and its sister organization, LOMA, have teamed up to create FraudShare. FraudShare is a “neighborhood watch program” for financial services companies.

Organizers are hoping member insurers will use the program to share information about fraud attempts, and actual cases of fraud.

They also hope to use the program to assign member companies a Fraud Defense Score, and to create insurance industry fraud defense reports and fraud defense performance benchmarking programs.

2. Administration

Many executives and companies came to the LIMRA annual conference to talk about systems and ideas for improving life and annuity administration systems.

One example is Gary Hoberman, the founder and CEO of Unqork. a company that has tried to help insurers digitize every aspect of running an insurance company, without knowing how to code software.

He said one key for insurtech companies and others is to recognize the gap between what marketers say systems do, and what the systems do.

Many companies, for example, say they have digitized the entire process of selling insurance products, Hoberman said.

But, in some cases, Hoberman said, that means that 100% of what happens between the customer and insurer is digitized, but that 100% of what the insurer does with the broker to support the customer is based on paper.

“That’s 100% not in good order.”

3. Administration Fashions

Nancy Bush, a client delivery executive at SE2, was another of the executives at the LIMRA conference to offer insurance administration services.

SE2 is a business spun out from thelife and annuity administration tech arm of Security Benefit Corp.

The company helps insurers other than Security Benefit administer both closed and open blocks of business, and it’s also starting to help other insurers add new products.

Here are some of the tech ideas and features that Bush sees as being hot now:

  • Anything that can help a company sell directly to consumers.
  • Artificial intelligence.
  • Systems for slicing and dicing data, such as prospect data, in new and interesting ways.
  • Anything that make it easier and faster for consumers to do business with an insurer.
  • Wellness programs and other programs that can get consumers to interact with an insurer many times per year.
  • Voice-activated control systems.

— Read How Life Insurers (Just Barely) Escaped a Tax Bill Catastrophe…on ThinkAdvisor.

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