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Tech Helps Lincoln Financial Producers Demystify Complex Products

The life insurer's aggressive adoption of technology for its field force helps those producers speed up the sales process for hybrid products.

Product development and innovation is a big deal for life insurance companies, and Lincoln Financial Group (Radnor, Pa.) is no different. The company's MoneyGuard policies are a hybrid of long-term care and universal life with three potential payout options to the insured. Because selling such a complex product can be a challenge for the company's field force, Lincoln introduced two new technology solutions to help bridge the gap.

"We have been very focus on the agent and the advisor as our customer, and we're committed to delivering solutions that support our field force," says Nathan Brown, VP of technology solutions and project management, underwriting and new business, for Lincoln Financial Group. "But there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. We want to fit in the flexibility and the process to support our field force's needs."

Lincoln partnered with AFFIRM Technology to build a new e-ticket system for the MoneyGuard product on the vendor's Aplify platform, which Brown says is where flexibility was most needed. Agents needed to be able to work in a "collaborative selling" environment with wholesalers and underwriters to be able to get the right product for the right customer. They also wanted a way to create effective, dynamic illustrations of how the product works.

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"We actually sat down and took some of [AFFIRM's] off-the-shelf offerings and built a process specific to what we needed to support this," Brown says. "We're talking about a more complex process than a simple term policy. Often times at the front end of the process there's disclosure statements or authorization forms that are more complicated than a simple ticket drop."

Lincoln also expanded its partnership with iPipeline to include that vendor's PolicyEX e-delivery system. Lincoln already uses the i-GO eApp so that agents can submit policies to the insurer electronically, With PolicyEX, the completed policies can be delivered to agents and policyholders electronically as well. But the insurer understands that some might be wary about that concept, so it's currently offering e-delivery on a "try it" basis.

"Introducing programs like 'Try-it" really give up the opportunity to give that agent or advisor give it a try without committing to it," Brown says. "They can open it up, they can play with it, they can see it but they're not committed to it. Generally, after they experience the electronic means of delivery, they'll find it more efficient."

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E-delivery also allows Lincoln to inject more transparency into life insurance sales: These kinds of tools could eventually let producers and prospects see exactly where their application is in process, Brown says.

"If you think about the paper-based process where we come from, when agents stick an app in the mail, they have no visibility into what's happening until it shows up in our systems," he says. "We see these couple of pieces of tech really linked back to our vision around promoting industry-leading underwriting, and we'll be continuing investment in our e-strategy to equip agents with all the right solutions."

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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