For Pacific Life advisors, communication with clients about their annuity contracts has moved from days to minutes.
A new service by Pacific Life’s Retirement Solutions Division will alert advisors to customer account activity – new contract issuance, additional investments, distributions, contract information changes and claims – within 15 minutes via text or email, the company said.
“Our hope is that the several thousand financial professionals who service accounts with Pacific Life will take advantage of the activity alerts,” said Frank Boynton, vice president of operations at Pacific Life’s Retirement Solutions Division.
The service, which Pac Life advisors had been asking for, is designed to improve processing efficiencies so that advisors don’t have to call a service desk or wait for paper or electronic confirmation a day or more later, Boynton said in an email.
Speeding up processing times so that advisors know right away if annuity documents pass muster or fail good-order thresholds is one small way for companies to improve advisor productivity at a time when insurers face headwinds in the form of low interest rates and stagnant premium growth.
The Real-Time Activity Service Alert will also help reduce fraud which costs life insurers billions of dollars every year, Boynton said.
Pacific Life’s initiatives will help advisors stay in touch with the “customer journey,” said John Barr, an analyst with the consulting firm Celent. As annuity contract owners move through key stages from getting married to buying a house to having children to preparing for retirement, contracts changes are also likely.
“Real time communication of activity related to customers between agent and carriers makes a lot of sense and I know there are a lot of companies pursuing that in different form,” Barr said.
Texting’s speed and simplicity are ideal for insurer-advisor communication. Customer engagement improves as advisors can respond quickly to queries, which consumers expect.
When it comes to speeding up processes, the life insurance industry as a lot of catching up to do even compared with its property-casualty cousins, according to insurance technology analysts.
Pac Life’s initiative is a welcome step for advisors familiar with mobile platforms and all advisors need to do is sign up for the service on the company’s website.
“This could not be simpler for the financial professional,” Boynton said. “All the heavy lifting has already been done by our team to make this as easy as possible for them to stay informed on their clients account activity.”
Pacific Life sold $4.4 billion in individual annuity premium in the second quarter.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected]
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