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Life Agents May Face New Login Processes: IRI Conference

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What You Need to Know

  • About 70% of big life and annuity issuers use multi-factor authentication for customers.
  • Only 40% use multi-factor authentication for distributors.
  • Criminals have used data obtained from P&C agent portals to commit unemployment insurance claim fraud.

Many life and annuity issuers need to improve the defenses for distribution-related online systems, according to Matthew Josefowicz.

Josefowicz, CEO of Novarica, said Wednesday that the current defenses are much weaker for life and annuity distributors than for the customers.

About 70% of large life and annuity issuers now require customers to log in through a “multi-factor authentication” process, Josefowicz estimated, at a webinar that was part of the Insured Retirement Institute’s 20 in 21 online conference.

A multi-factor authentication system requires customers who are trying to log in to confirm their identities using mobile telephones, email accounts or other means.

Only about 40% of large life and annuity issuers require distributors to log in using multi-factor authentication, Josefowicz reported.

“Distributors are very much a weak point,” Josefowicz said.

Fraudsters have already made news by scraping property and casualty insurance agent portals for personal information they used in efforts to commit unemployment insurance claim fraud, he said.

Demographic Shift

Josefowicz also talked about how he expects the rise of the millennials to affect the annuity market.

Millennials are people born from 1981 through 1996, according to the Pew Research Center.

“Millennials are not kids,” Josefowicz said. “Millennials are in their 30s and 40s.”

In fact, they are the largest generation in the workforce, according to the Pew Research Center.

To appeal to millennials, “digital streamlining is critically important,” Josefowicz said. “Ask a millennial to fax something and they don’t know what you’re talking about. Ask them to call on a phone and they basically resent the intrusion on their time.”

The push for simplicity will favor sales of term life and multi-year guaranteed annuities, Josefowicz said.

Josefowicz suggested that the insurers that updated their systems to appeal to millennial customers and millennial agents have outperformed lower-tech insurers since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co. created a digital self-service system to appeal to younger agents, but, when the pandemic hit, that system helped all of the company’s agents keep selling in spite of the impact of social distancing and shelter-at-home rules, Josefowicz said.

(Image: kerly chonglor/Shutterstock)