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Bankers Unveils Web Portal for Sales Force Support

Bankers Life and Casualty provides its 4,000-plus field employees with a proprietary Web-based portal to support the sales life cycle.

To guarantee its 2004 distribution growth strategy, Chicago-based Bankers Life and Casualty, a subsidiary of Conseco (Carmel, Ind., $57.9 million net income, third quarter, 2004) is providing its 4,000-plus field employees with the Bankers Sales Productivity Network (BSPN), an online portal to provide commissions, application status, policy, claims, and product information throughout the sales life cycle.

"We decided to build our own system to centralize all our agent touch points, allowing us to work directly with our field force every step of the way," says Paula Smith, vice president of business solutions and sales technology, Bankers. In December 2003, Smith put together a team focused on learning ATG (Art Technology Group, Cambridge, Mass.) portal technology, which was used to build the portal and now supports streamlined sales business and research tasks such as cross referencing clients by product and accessing complete client files remotely.

"We needed to make this as easy to use as any site an agent would use on their own," relates Smith. "We made it as intuitive as possible and have seen a 95 percent adoption rate since January 1, when we officially went live." Field input through field visits and steering committees as well as a high level of coordination across over 13 departments at both Conseco and Bankers has added to the high adoption rate. The level of data and systems integration provided by the portal comes from over 10 areas of business.

Looking ahead, Bankers hopes to makes things even easier for their sales force by crossing off the number of passwords their agents must use one by one -- its vision being one log-on and password, via the portal, for all of the tools to which their agents have access. "We are just knocking off systems," says Smith. "Our agents are using Microsoft (Redmond, Wash.) Exchange Server, and we are leveraging Outlook to enable us to streamline passwords and log-in security," Smith says.

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