Our New Reality: Planning For Our Future

Jessica Brown

‘Business As Usual’ is a sentiment of the past.

We’re now facing, responding to, and planning for our future—the new reality is here. At iPipeline, we are in business, up and running 100%. We have been working remotely following an in-depth continuity plan that, frankly, we never expected to implement. We are working as hard as we can, as fast as we can, to make adjustments that meet your needs. That’s why we’ve been reaching out to leaders in our ecosystem—carriers, financial institutions, distributors, BGAs, researchers, industry associations and others, to share what we’ve heard and learned. Everything’s on the table— from waiving fees and deferred payments, to free training, to BGA assistance for those facing extreme hardship. We want to continue to be your go-to-partner for every aspect of the life and financial services insurance industry.

Here’s some of the things we know:

EMPLOYEE SAFETY IS A PROMINENT CONCERN.
For some, almost 100% of their organization is working remotely. For the most part, technology has proven to be stable and our clients’ teams are accessing it every day. Companies have had to double bandwidth and increase licenses and are doing so to get everyone working remotely as well as possible. Understandably, agents are asking “How am I going to work remotely?” Where possible, carriers and agents are working with and promoting the use of our stateof-the-art e-App and e-Policy delivery systems. They are also helping agents with coaching, training, and technologies that help them do business remotely.

UNDERWRITING IS THE NUMBER ONE PAIN POINT.
This is due to the difficulty, and in many cases impossibility, of performing paramedical exams. Various states and localities are in different and fluid stages of lockdown and other restrictions. People aren’t able to get to applicants to do the exam, or applicants don’t want examiners coming to their houses. So far, most have come up with some parameters for underwriting and what can be done in most situations where it’s simply not possible to get a paramed exam. Many are moving to accelerated underwriting, medical records in lieu of having exams done, limited preferred classes, and other tools to get the job done and best serve customers.

COMPANIES WITH PROCESSING CENTERS AND/OR UNDERWRITING OUTSIDE OF THE U.S. HAVE MAJOR CHALLENGES.
India, the Philippines, and other countries have been completely locked down, with employees not allowed to leave home. Some are able to take calls from home. Others have been staying at hotels close enough to work so that they can walk to the office. Still, there are military checkpoints at the hotels, and most people cannot get through. Companies are also mailing equipment to their employees at home. These are things that we never thought would occur, especially trying to get employees to work from home halfway around the globe.

BACKUPS IN THE MAILROOM ARE A SHOWSTOPPER.
For those that have not implemented e-Delivery, it’s a significant problem. This is a critical piece right now that companies must address for business continuity. To help with this, carriers can take advantage of our DocFast & AlphaTrust solutions to get e-Delivery in place, so they are not grinding to a halt due to mailroom delays.

THE BIGGEST CHANGES TAKING PLACE ARE IN NEW BUSINESS.
Everything is moving to digital, allowing people to take pictures of their Regulation 60 Form on an iPhone and send it in.

WE ARE WORKING OVER THE PHONE FOR CASES IN GOOD ORDER.
Carriers are working with their distribution partners and calling the client directly to get the information they require over the phone to satisfy the application, and not asking producers to go back out to the client. Many are allowing electronic delivery, as well as trying to put as many cases through accelerated underwriting as possible. Basically, the number one priority has become has been the acceleration of changes, due to COVID-19. On the other hand, those that have not moved to an e-Delivery platform are struggling.

BGAs CANNOT GO BACK TO PAPER … EVER.
The general consensus is that BGAs do not want carriers to revert back to paper. The rapid progress that’s being made now– and the priority and necessity that digital processing has become—needs to continue. The message to carriers is clear: Do NOT take your foot off the gas pedal.

WHAT’S KEEPING EVERYONE UP AT NIGHT?
The numerous, varying executive orders coming out from different states- and worries about how to stay compliant. Having liquidity and the capital to withstand the more potentially severe fallout. Not knowing how this will shake out for the industry—will people see life insurance as more important, or not? Is the uptick in business that we see a trend or temporary?

HOW CAN AGENTS GET LICENSED WITH EXAM CENTERS SHUT DOWN?
How can we pair/mentor older agents with a younger generation of tech-savvy agents? How and when will the industry gather again in a physical presence?

We’ll continue to keep you abreast of what we’re hearing and what’s happening in all aspects of the business. If people continue to lose their jobs, they could lose group insurance and we could be looking at an enormous gap in coverage- how can we change this? How can we reach those people? Let’s work on solving this together.

It’s time to redefine the present, and our future. At iPipeline, we’re up for challenge to lead the way.