This post is sponsored by Vertafore Sircon® Solutions.
The agent or adviser’s first encounter with a carrier is extremely important and if that experience is negative, that carrier may have just lost a customer. Implementing automation and producer lifecycle best practices aren’t easy, but will improve your agent/adviser satisfaction. Tim Owen, VP of Product Management at Vertafore’s Sircon solutions answers five questions on how to do just that.
Question: What are the existing issues with getting agents or advisers authorized to sell?
Tim Owen: Becoming authorized to sell insurance and securities products is a very complex process. It requires multiple tasks that span several different stakeholders. First, you need an insurance license and a securities registration, which involves provider and regulator interactions, and in the case of securities registrations, a sponsoring firm relationship.
The agent or his/her firm must then establish selling relationships with one or more carriers and sometimes affiliated or intermediary firms. Before the agent or broker can begin selling an insurance product, carriers must complete the onboarding process. The rules for getting or verifying what you need to be authorized to sell vary by state, product type and carrier relationship. All of these interactions create a complex web of communication, introducing opportunities for delays and errors. And that’s just to get authorized to sell. Maintaining that authorization has its own challenges.
Q: Why is experience so important?
TO: The best advisers and agents have little patience with complex, repetitive, and manual processes. Providing a simple and efficient experience is critical, especially when trying to establish a selling relationship. If the first interaction with a carrier or intermediary firm is poor, then the agent or firm will anticipate similar issues in all interactions with the carrier. That might result in the advisors deciding not to sell for that firm or reducing the amount of business they send to the carrier.
Q: Why is implementing license, registration, education, training, and appointment automation so difficult?
TO: There are various stakeholders, multiple sets of rules and requirements, and numerous opportunities for delays and errors throughout the sales authorization lifecycle. Effectively automating this process requires deep understanding of the rules and requirements for all stakeholders in the process, which makes solutions for automation a difficult and expensive undertaking. Most automation efforts, whether internal or vendor provided, have inherent limitations due to the narrow perspective and understanding of the processes from the stakeholders’ points of view. Automating these processes by leveraging trusted sources of data and connections between the stakeholders in an end-to-end manner is the best way to ensure a simple, efficient and compliant authorization process.
Q: What are some best practices that securities firms and insurance agencies can implement to improve their management of the sales authorization lifecycle?
TO: First, understand the importance of the agent experience. Second, leverage industry standards and trusted data sources to eliminate manual efforts wherever possible. And third, consider technology solutions from organizations that can automate most aspects of the process, and that offer supporting services to handle steps that are not easily automated yet. Not only will these steps help you boost business and adviser satisfaction, but also they can save substantial time and money, and help improve compliance.
Q: How will implementing a Sircon solution from Vertafore benefit agencies, securities firms and annuity carriers?
TO: Vertafore’s Sircon solutions help make compliance simple by automating the interactions between agents, agencies or securities firms, carriers and intermediary firms, education providers and regulators. Our solutions help our customers manage their entire sales authorization lifecycle from onboarding, contracting, licensing, appointing, registrations to continuing education, renewals and terminations quickly, accurately and efficiently. With Sircon solutions, our customers cut processing times from days or months to minutes or hours to keep business moving forward. By reducing paperwork and time to revenue, we help make it easier for agents and advisers to sell insurance and securities products.