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Thursday, May 26, 2016

How Will Emerging Tech Trends Influence the Agency Management System?

By Guy Weismantel, Vice President of Marketing at Vertafore

Technology has slowly began to change a number of different industries. Terms like "the cloud," "big data," and "the internet of things" seem to be everywhere, but it's never really clear what they mean or--more importantly--how they can help someone run a business. The truth is, a lot of them are just buzzwords, but there are some that can help you in huge ways like managing clients, saving time, and saving money. To help you tell the difference, we cherry-picked a few technology trends we think will have the biggest impact on the insurance agency management system; a tool that will continue to shape the insurance industry.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems
CRM systems, like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics, help organize and manage client interactions. You can think of them as a log--every time someone at your company talks to one of your customers (or potential customers), it gets recorded into the CRM. In the same vein, you can also take notes and save data about your customers, like what stage in the sales cycle they're in or how close to being a customer they are, and even automate certain sales processes. For example, when someone on your team moves a customer to another category, the CRM can automatically send a specific email or create a to-do for someone else. Read more.

Persona-based Dashboards
Dashboards have become hugely popular in software the last few years because of our need for real-time information and the ability to understand the big picture quickly. You can think about them like the dashboard in your car--displaying all of the important numbers about how your company is operating. Their customization also means the ability to hone in on certain metrics, locations, or other variables. Read more.

Reporting & Analytics Focus
Similar to the reason for our new-found fascination with dashboards, reporting and analytics are hugely important because of our thirst for information. But all the data in the world won't help if you can't figure out what it means or how it applies to your business. Reporting also deals with how your data is displayed and how accessible filtering is--that is, how easy it is to interpret your data and how easy it is to change what's being shown. Read more.

Open API's
An API ("application program interface") is a way for developers to connect different apps, programs or services. Think about it like a tunnel that connects two different companies you use for your business--Microsoft, Docusign, Birst--that also tells the data that it's transmitting where it belongs and what it can do. Read more.

CRMs, dashboards, APIs, and extensive analytics are all being used for one general purpose: to help business owners make better, more-informed decisions. With the ability to better manage and act on your lists of prospects and to gain more insights into how your business is doing at all times, anyone who takes advantage of these tech trends will be at the forefront of insurance agency management.

Learn more about the role data will play in the future of insurance in Vertafore's new Digital Disruption ebook.

Vertafore delivers cloud-based insurance software and services that transform the business of insurance. With the largest customer-base in the industry, more than 20,000 agencies and carriers leverage Vertafore’s insurance solutions that are built on today’s most advanced cloud, mobile, and information technology platforms. Learn more and contact Vertafore.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

ABA Educates Lawmakers on Data Security

With retailers in Washington, D.C., this week to lobby on Capitol Hill, ABA yesterday distributed a memo on payment and data security to congressional offices. The document emphasizes that the EMV transition is benefiting consumers and that the financial industry continues to deploy new technologies to protect customers’ payments. ABA urged lawmakers to pass the Data Security Act of 2015 to hold all parties to high data protection standards.

ABA also argued against the retailers’ pet plan to require PINs on chip cards, which the association noted guards against a small and rapidly shrinking form of fraud. “As new threats emerge, retailers’ efforts to divert policymakers’ attention to PINs means that we run the risk of not devoting requisite energy and resources to developing the cutting-edge technologies needed to thwart increasingly sophisticated hackers,” ABA said.

Read the memo.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Affinion Benefits Group Hosts Product Spotlight Webinar on Simplified Issue Term Insurance

Over 100 million people don’t have life insurance. That number represents millions of families who could incur financial difficulties if their primary breadwinner passes away. According to recent research published by Life Happens and LIMRA®, while affordability ranks high as a barrier to purchase, 38% of those surveyed aren’t sure of what type of life insurance they need, or how much to buy. For many of those people, a Simplified Issue Term Life product can meet those needs, and provide great benefits at guaranteed rates. Banks have an opportunity to bridge their customer’s life insurance gap by including a Simplified Issue Term Life product in their product marketing portfolio.

Affinion Benefits Group is combining their industry-leading marketing expertise with the confidence and security of an A rated carrier to bring their bank partners a new Simplified Issue Term product. This Simplified Issue Term Life product brings tremendous value to banks and their customers, as it offers up to $250,000 of life insurance without forcing them to undergo a physical medical examination.

Affinion’s simple, succinct direct mail application allows customers to apply for up to $250,000 of coverage in minutes, with coverage beginning as soon as payment is received. Simplified issue term life is a level term policy, which means your customers lock in a great rate and keep that same great value for ten years.

Join Affinion’s Director of Insurance Product Christy Boyd and in 30 minutes learn:
  • Why Simplified Issue Term is needed in today’s marketplace
  • How Affinion’s new product will help your customers and your financial institution
  • How easy it is for your bank to get started marketing Simplified Issue Term Life.
Download the presentation.

Listen to the recording.

CFPB Updates Rulemaking Agenda for Remainder of Year

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Friday updated its rulemaking agenda for the remainder of 2016. According to the agenda, the bureau expects to issue final rules on consumer protections for prepaid cards and on mortgage servicing early this summer.

The bureau is also expected to release a proposed rule on small-dollar loans on June 2. In addition to the proposed rule on arbitration agreements issued earlier this spring, the CFPB also said it is working on proposed rules related to appraisals and, at the urging of ABA, providing clarity on the TILA-RESPA integrated disclosures. It is also continuing with its early-stage rulemaking activities on overdrafts, debt collection and lending to small businesses.

View the agenda.

Friday, May 20, 2016

NAIC Votes to Continue to Exclude Credit LIfe Insurance from NAIC Unclaimed Life Insurance & Annuities Model Act

An NAIC sub-group just voted to continue to exclude credit life insurance from coverage by the NAIC’s Unclaimed Life Insurance and Annuities Model Act. The model act provides standards for identifying deceased individuals who deaths may require insurers to pay benefits to beneficiaries under life insurance policies, annuity contracts or retained asset accounts. (Otherwise, the benefits might go unclaimed.) View the Unclaimed Life Insurance and Annuities Model Act

ABIA had urged the working group to retain the exemption for credit life insurance. 

ABIA worked with the Consumer Credit Insurance Association (CCIA) in this successful effort.

If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Ferman at