Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Consider Going Simple, Consider Going Electronic

By Meghan Eiler, New Business Coordinator

Doesn’t it seem like life just gets more complicated over time? It always makes sense to identify areas where you can simplify your life, to be able to get the same amount done in less time.

Fortunately, an increasing number of insurance carriers are rolling out tools that can help you save a lot of time – and money – in your business. With electronic application systems, carriers have reported increases in volume, more efficient application reviews, and faster transaction times.

Clients are applauding the ease of completing applications without paper shuffling, trusting more in the security of their information and appreciating the agent interaction achieved by the electronic application fact-finding process. So what are the individual producers who are both representing the carrier and nurturing the client relationship saying?

Producers are raving! A process that cuts down on time and money and gets commissions paid faster is indisputably a great thing for the producer who wants to focus as much as possible on their client.

How does the electronic application process save you time and money?

  • No more submitting paper applications just to learn that your contracting or product training is incomplete, resulting in having to take more time to rewrite and submit a new application. Not only does this take up your time, but it also means you must make arrangements with your client to take time out of their schedule for initialing corrections and redating. Some electronic application processes incorporate producer eligibility checks that prevent you from proceeding if your producer eligibility is not in good order – license status, training, AML, etc. 
  • Many electronic applications have the ability to duplicate information across multiple pages of the application so you don’t have to reenter the same data (owner info, addresses, plan types, etc.), as you do on a paper application. 
  • Some processes allow the use of delegates to assist in the online data entry process from the agent’s office. This means that administrative assistants can input information and help with the “paperwork” while the agent concentrates on the fact-finding and sale with their client.            Tip: The “delegate” process works very well with repeat clients or when multiple appointments are scheduled. You can have your administrative delegate prefill much of the information ahead of your meeting with the client. 
  • Application review processes, policy number assignment, suitability review, and transfer processes are all occurring faster, without the delays often caused by mail delivery, manual data entry, review, and missing transfer company information. 
  • If you are with a broker/dealer (B/D) that needs to touch some part of your fixed or fixed index annuity business before submission to the carrier, some e-app systems may be able to save you time in the process. More and more, insurance carriers are incorporating the B/D approval/submission process into their e-app systems. This is a great productivity booster for registered representatives selling these products. Check with your B/D or Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange to see if this option is available to you.


Consider this when thinking about overhead savings:

  • Most annuity applications are at minimum 20 sheets of paper, and can range up to 50 pages in total. With increased regulation around the corner, paperwork could likely get considerably longer. A ream of paper has 500 sheets. Online/electronic applications mean no paper! 
  • Printing ink costs vary dramatically from $13 to $75 per cartridge, but regardless of use, there’s an expense of hundreds of dollars annually. Online/electronic applications mean no ink! 
  • Scanning, copying, and faxing can all cost money, especially if you are relying on your local copy shop. Online /electronic applications mean electronic copies!

Think about your normal sales approach, application completion processes, available administrative assistance, and your standard client interaction. Adapting to the electronic application process does not mean that any of your normal business approaches need to change. Use resources like your administrative assistants as delegates. Use the same sales approach and benefit from the extra time gained to do more one-on-one fact-finding with your client. Use the computer or tablet that you already have and stop buying paper and ink! Consider going simple, consider going electronic!

Meghan Eiler| New Business Coordinator
Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange
Ph: 800.321.3924 x156 | Dir: 734.786.6156

Designed for Financial Professionals.


Originally published in the Nov/Dec 2016 issue of Annuity News & Lifelines