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New Media on Ulitzer There has been a big rise by the business process management (BPM) software vendors to get in on the 'social' game. As people become more comfortable with using Twitter and Facebook than they do Word and Excel, a new tag has appeared: Social BPM. My argument is that, once upon a time this was called 'collaboration' and the big software vendors (Documentum/EMC, Vignette, etc) did it. Collaboration software was about helping teams of people, typically on projects or with a need to share information to get a job done, to set up 'collaboration spaces' or 'team rooms'. There was not a lot of process enforcement, because the workflow capabilities of the products were limited and the aim was to focus on ad-hoc collaboration of people, rather than strict process flows. This lack of process management was probably a shortcoming, since companies grew a... (more)

'I Hate Working with Documents On-Screen,' and Other Issues We Reinforce

You've heard the phrase "Knowledge is Power". There seems to be a human character trait that says by keeping documents close at hand, preferably within steps of my office chair, I am more powerful. Filing cabinets for individuals, and "working copies" of client files are everywhere in offices. Take that easy access to information away and people fight back. You are removing some of their ability to hoard information, all of which is a duplicate of something available elsewhere, but it exposes a frailty that leaves them uncomfortable. "What if somebody else has the file the one time in a million I actually need it?", or, "What if I'm caught off-guard, a client calls and I don't have their information to hand?". This is just one of the ways employees resist the introduction of enterprise content management (ECM), case management and business process management (BPM) ... (more)

AIG Selling $50B Units – Integration Struggles Ahead?

As AIG plans to sell off two large units from its core, it makes me believe that there are interesting people-, process- and technology-times ahead for the companies acquiring them. As I talked about yesterday, insurance companies are used to the fact that they have different lines of business running different systems. According to Matt Buttell at Financial Services Technology, AIG's Asian life business goes to Prudential PLC, and hopefully next week American Life Insurance Co (ALICO) goes to MetLife. The interesting thing about these transactions is that both Prudential and MetLife have their own units running similar lines of business. Both Asia (AIA) and ALICO are probably preparing themselves to struggle to become a core line of business inside the new mother-nest, rather than a book of customers used purely for revenue purposes. The size of the sales ($35.5B f... (more)

Simplifying Back Office Processes for Insurance Agents

Novice insurance agents mistakenly believe that once they “sell” an insurance policy to a client, their work is complete.  Most insurance sales people equate “selling” an insurance policy with obtaining a completed application.  In the novice’s mind, all they have to do is send in the application and the insurance company will send them their commission check. However, more experienced insurance agents, or any salesperson for that matter, realize a sale is consummated only when commission checks are deposited into the salesperson’s bank account.  With insurance sales, particularly life, health, and annuities, completing a signed application means that the insurance agent is still less than 50% of the way towards earning a commission check.  It is at this point in time the real problems begin. Let’s take a look at life insurance for a minute.  When a client applies ... (more)

Waveney Group Schemes Launch £25 Driving Instructor Insurance Voucher

At a time when driving tuition insurance premiums are increasing, you'll be pleased to hear that Waveney (together with its panel of financially strong UK based insurance companies) is working extremely hard to provide competitive tuition insurance quotations for its customers For instructors that are not currently insured through Waveney, they will be providing great quotations throughout December and January which will include a £25 discount if you download and produce their voucher You can get a quotation and access to the discount voucher by logging on to: - This offer applies to all ‘new to Waveney' tuition insurance quotations issued by Waveney during December 2011 and January 2012 which must be accepted by 31st January 2012 Excellent Cover  -  Competitive Quotations  -  Excellent Service Promotional Code WG... (more)

Don't Force Cultural Check-out When Building Shared Services

Shared services is a delivery model for business processes and information systems that has proven itself to be a great fit for insurance companies and many other organizations that have multiple lines of business and distributed offices. A shared services model can allow a company to better reuse information systems and expertise than when every group tries to fend for itself. And it provides a better feeling of control than completely outsourcing the operations to a third-party (I talked about outsourcing of claims operations in a Claims Magazine article in 2008, when gainfully employed elsewhere, but the arguments still stand independent of any company bias I might have accidentally shown). If shared services has been employed by some of the most competitive insurers out there, what is stopping everyone else from following the model? There are a few reasons: Inc... (more)

The Streamlined Insurance Workflow:

Typically, the life, health, and annuity sales cycle involves at least four separate entities. First, the prospect client, then the insurance producer, followed by the General Agency (GA) that the producer works through, and finally, the insurance company. More often then not, experienced producers work with several different GA’s and multiple insurance companies. Why is it necessary for insurance producers to work with multiple GA’s and multiple insurance companies? The answer is simple … insurance producers who chose to work with multiple GA’s and multiple insurance companies (aka carriers) have the best interests of their clients at the forefront of their decisions to recommend particular products. For example, a typical GA contracts with say, 15-20 different carriers with which the producer can sell insurance products with. But what happens when a prospective cl... (more)

Old Approaches to Business Process Management Are Failing Companies

We all know that companies of all sizes are facing tough economic challenges at the moment. These challenges are coming from one of the toughest directions possible: customers are not spending money, making it more important than ever to convert the few available prospects into profitable customers. Improving business processes is a powerful way for companies to work better, but the old business process management (BPM) approaches companies often rely on just don't fit the current challenges. Companies invest in business process management from two direction: methodology - the way a company can fix its problems technology - applications helping people work in a more structured way The reasons for doing this were all reasonable in an economy with plenty customers with cash in their pockets: reduce headcount do more work with the same resources improve the quality of a... (more)

Bypass Brokers to Perform Life Insurance Settlement In-House

Financial advisors and life insurance agents are becoming more familiar with life insurance settlements, and settlement brokers are working relentlessly in soliciting these advisors through various forms of marketing. They often pitch the concept of a hand’s free and cost free appraisal for your settlement business. Although this sounds convenient, nothing is for free, so what does it really cost? Commissions in the life settlement market have been absurdly high. Brokers can get away with charging 8% of the face amount of the policy. So, if the purchase price of the contract was for 25% of the face amount of the policy, the broker's commission could very well be 32% of the purchase price! With so many life settlement brokers fighting for your business, what determines who you are working with? Some common statements we hear from professionals using a life insurance... (more)

SureLC: Licensing and Contracting Demo

I recently recorded a screencast showing SureLC, our software application that automates the Licensing & Contracting process for BGAs, producers, and carriers.  In less than 8 minutes, I show how a BGA can get a newly recruited producer set-up and ready to submit contracting applications to multiple carriers. The whole process is normally completed manually by the producer and BGA, and is error prone.  SureLC automates this process by using a user-friendly interface as well as auto-populating most of the required fields via its NIPR PDB® integration.  In order to get required signature pages and other documents uploaded into the producer’s profile, we use a simple ‘drag and drop’ feature that allows our video recognition engine to read the pages, separate them, and save them in the database in proper place. After you see this video, I am sure you will agree that ther... (more)

Premium Discounts for Driving Instructors

Waveney Group Schemes Ltd, the country's largest driving tuition insurance broker works with a panel of four UK based insurers, and have recently announced an initiative whereby for the month of February 2012, they are offering ADIs a discounts of ‘up to' 10% plus a £40 premium discount if the premium a driving instructor is being quoted by their existing insurance company is over £400 including insurance premium tax. For PDIs, Waveney will offer a £40 premium discount, subject to the premium they are competing with being over £400 including insurance premium tax. The discounts are provided by Waveney and some of its insurers. The ‘up to' 10% discount is provided by the likes of Aviva Insurance UK Ltd who allow 5% discount for an ADI grade 4 (or ungraded), 7.5% discount for an ADI grade 5 and 10% discount for an ADI grade 6. The £40 premium discount is provided by W... (more)