by John Darer® CLU ChFC MSSC RSP CLTC
It troubles me that a particular life insurer issuing structured settlement annuities has for long stretches, placed a premium on writing new business by under-pricing the competition, but doesn't seem to place a premium on concomitant staffing and technological needs to support the business that comes in.
- Policies need to be issued faster. This is a long standing problem.
- Outstanding requirements to issue should be communicated as soon as possible with an automated reminder system in place.
- Staffing needs to be adequate. Consider employing a "sweeper" or "libero". A sweeper in soccer parlance is a free roaming defender who cleans up when those in front are overrun. It was a role made famous by Franz Beckenbauer (a/k/a "Der Kaiser") for the German national team in the 1970s. Who is "Der Kaiser", or sweeper of this life insurance company?
- Staff needs to be given technological tools to be able to communicate effectively with field force post-sale. It should not take two or three calls to get information that should reasonably be at someone's fingertips.
The company has had far too many front line people juggling new business and pre contact issue roles (which logically should be separate)for too long, Despite the herculean efforts of those placed in the line of fire, they are not armed with adequate tools to be able to do their job effectively. This is nothing against these people personally. I know for a fact from conversations with others in the industry (and when I have expressed my concerns directly to the company representatives) that my concerns are not unique. I've even asked if managers are aware of the problem and I've told that they are. But nothing changes!
It's not easy for me to write the this post about people that I like personally, about a company that I have chosen to do business with for years and hope to continue to do business with in the future. I'm not trying to embarrass the company, nor is that my intention. But it's exasperating at times and traditional communications have failed to foment change.
A settlement consultant needs to know that when someone gives him/her his or her information (that is intended to be passed on to the consultant's client) that it can be counted on.
The company has gone from "worst" to first before in this area. Let's hope they can do it again. We need and want them to do better. We need to know how (and when) there is going to be change.
There is no need to name names here. It will be obvious to those who need to know who I am referring to.
In closing, I would like to re-emphasize that the issues being discussed in the post are pre contract issue problems. They do not refer to payments to annuitants for which this company has an exemplary record.
The company in questions had made great strides to improve its pre-contract services and is now one of the best in the business!