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Nationwide Automates Producer Appointments

Nationwide Financial Insurance ($111 billion in assets under management, Columbus, OH) has launched what it says isthe first e-solution for appointing producers. The new process is paperless, eliminating the need for producers to complete forms and provide paper copies of state licenses and National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) registrations. "The process of appointing producers is usually a very tedious task that is required by state statutes," says John Humphries, director of licensing and commissions, Nationwide Financial. "It is usually very costly and complicated. We want to make it easier, not only for our firms, but for the producers who sell our products and business with us."

According to Humphries, Nationwide secures a producer's NASD registration information from the NASD Web site. The data is then reviewed and the information is placed in the producer's open image appointment file. Licensing information is gathered from various Web sites, depending on the state. Most of the licensing information is taken from the National Insurance Producer Registry's producer database. "We have a direct access account established with the registry," explains Humphries. "Nationwide Financial was an industry sponsor and pilot developer for this network."

Nationwide utilizes Innovative IT Solutions, Inc.'s (Okemos, MI) SIRCON to transfer producers' data when requesting an appointment. According to Humphries, SIRCON feeds connect Nationwide Financial to the National Insurance Producers Registry's producer information network (PIN) system. The PIN system is another service provider that provides connectivity to and from state insurance departments for Nationwide and many other insurers. Nationwide keeps firms that do business with it updated on licensing status through daily faxes and e-mails detailing transactions that were processed on the previous day. Paper is also saved through this process-the firm sent out 100,000 form letters last year.

Nationwide has received a lot of positive feedback resulting from this new system. "The industry has an operation managers roundtable, which is an organization of broker/dealer firms and insurance companies, and every year we get a grade based on input and surveys from the firms," says Humphries. "This year our licensing operation came in second in the country. We feel it's based on the automation that we are doing."

The completely paperless process, initially only available with firm partner Waddell & Reed (Shawnee Mission, KS), is currently being rolled out for the use of other Nationwide partners.

"We are working on a pilot for the National Securities Clearing Corp. (NSCC), which will be rolled out this summer," says Humphries of an electronic function that will eventually enable NSCC member firms and insurance companies to exchange licensing information, appointment requests, and confirmation and demographic changes.

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