Acting on feedback from its distributors, AXA Distributors -- the wholesale distribution company of AXA Financial, a member of Paris-based AXA Group ($795 billion in assets under management) -- has launched significant enhancements to its producer portal to provide users with greater control and security. In addition to access to enhanced tools, users of AXAdistributors.com now have a more secure authentication protocol to follow, according to the company.
AXA producers now have access to a Message Center that provides notices to registered representatives about their books of business, including an E-mail record of all client-related transactions. Partner firms also can determine the information that individual representatives may view, including client account information, and policy and underwriting details with the site's new Staff Access Level mechanism. Finally, distributors can opt in to an E-Mail Subscriptions service that notifies representatives about product updates, money manager changes and other distributor-relevant information from AXA.
Concerns on the part of AXA and its partner firms about the security of brokers' IDs and passwords led to the development of a reauthentication protocol designed to maximize security with the least impact on ease of use, according to Jeff Coomes, VP of Web content strategy for New York-based AXA Distributors. "There's a mandatory requirement internally on any application that users reset their passwords every 90 days," he says. "However, external users weren't too keen on the idea."
Coomes explains that a broker might work with 10 other firms, none of which are likely to require them to periodically reset their passwords. In order to minimize brokers' inconvenience, AXA implemented a protocol that prompts brokers to select a secret question. "Now every 90 days when [the broker] logs on and successfully enters an ID and password, we ask for a Social Security number and date of birth and then ask her to answer her secret question," Coomes relates. "If she does these three things successfully, she is reauthenticated."
In response to specific requests from distribution partners, AXA developed an additional authentication protocol that lets brokers authorize staff members to view certain information. "In the past the only way [a broker] could give her No. 1 assistant access to the Web site was for her to share her ID and password," Coomes says. The new protocol provides two tiers of access, which distributors can use on an opt-in basis to give them greater control over what they share with staff.
User feedback and research also drove AXA Distributors' implementation of E-Mail Subscriptions. Since the service was rolled out in early spring, adoption rates confirm its utility to brokers, Coomes contends. "We pushed our first E-mail out two weeks after we launched the new functionality, and 80 percent of the E-mails sent were opened," he reports. "Of those that were opened, about 90 percent led the user to go to the Web site and get the information referred to in the E-mail."
Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio