Midland National Life Insurance, a top seller of annuities, has released an electronic application for annuities that will allow agents and financial professionals to submit annuity applications online.
More annuity carriers are slowly adopting “e-apps,” which make the annuity submission process faster and more efficient.
“It’s definitely a game changer for our distribution partners,” said Bryce Biklen, vice president of annuity sales with Midland National Life, in a news release. “It allows them to work more efficiently with clients because the business is processed faster than the old paper applications.”
Within the financial services sector, annuity carriers are among the last to adopt online technology that make life for agents easier.
Annuity carriers have blamed the unique characteristics of the products they sell — long sales cycle, slow claims payments and heavy regulatory burdens — as part of the reasons they lag in technology adoption.
In a report published in June, insurance research consultants with Novarica in Boston called e-apps “table stakes” in a market where individual annuities are sold through insurance agents, banks and independent broker-dealers.
“Most of the top individual annuity carriers now offer e-application functionality, especially for those carriers seeking to use third-party distributors,” the report said.
Biklen also said that the electronic application process is expected to speed up the annuity application process for an agent by an average of seven days compared with paper-based applications.
Electronic applications are considered more accurate than paper-based applications as the software catches errors and missing information.
The e-app option is offered on all the annuity products available on the Midland National illustration software, the company said.
Midland, a member of the Sammons Financial Group, sells fixed-rate annuities, fixed indexed annuities and immediate annuities, according to the company’s website.
Last year, the carrier sold $3.4 billion worth of individual annuities, most of which were fixed annuities, according to LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute.
ExactApp Released for IUL
Also available to agents is Midland National’s ExactApp electronic application submission tool for its indexed universal life (UL) products, the company announced earlier this year.
ExactApp allows Midland National's agents to schedule paramedical exams online and submit complete indexed UL application packages without re-entering data, and that means faster turnaround times and quicker agent commission payments, the company said.
"We've heard a lot of good things about ExactApp from our agents, and they've asked us to extend it to our indexed universal life portfolio,” said Jerry Blair, vice president and chief distribution and sales officer.
“Doing so now will mean increased ease of doing business for our agents and for us," he added. “It’s a win-win situation."
Indexed UL, a form of permanent insurance that provides an opportunity to grow cash value, based on the performance of stock market indices, has notched robust growth recently.
In 2015, sales of indexed UL rose 15 percent and indexed UL was the primary driver of overall UL sales growth for the year, LIMRA reported. Indexed UL also represented 55 percent of UL new premium and 21 percent of all individual life insurance new premium.
Last year, indexed universal life represented 55 percent of universal life sales, which rose 7 percent over 2014, LIMRA reported.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at email@example.com.
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