Issues facing the life & annuity market: Client service

Written by: Ron Scheese

The life insurance and annuity industry is rife with difficulties. From regulatory hurdles to economic realities, roadblocks to success are seemingly everywhere.

At Andesa, we’ve been serving the needs of leading carriers and their distributors for more than 30 years. Over that time, we’ve learned to identify the most prominent challenges facing the industry – and help our clients overcome them. This is Part 2 of a multipart series; check back soon for more.

In today’s COLI/BOLI marketplace, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for carriers to differentiate themselves solely on the merits of their products. Instead, service – both for end clients and distributors – has become the key to sustaining and growing business.

The world is increasingly connected and instant. Thus, clients are used to having constant access to the resources they need to overcome challenges. Insurers that can provide them are thriving; insurers that can’t face the threat of being cast as afterthoughts.

But as the business case for carriers to provide superior service has gained traction, the main tools with which they can do it – human resources and time – remain in short supply. In this post-recession economy, companies of all sizes are streamlining operations and looking for low-cost efficiencies. There is simply no longer surplus staff available to man communication lines 24/7 and deal with client queries and issues by sheer brute force.

How can Andesa help?

At Andesa, we take a two-pronged approach to improving the customer service capabilities of our clients.

The first key is our availability to brokers and distributors. They serve as the ultimate users for many of our cloud-based tools; in particular, the DataMart policy and case reporting solution. If users have an issue, they don’t call their affiliated carrier – they call us. And we respond. In most cases, we’re troubleshooting within seconds. In nearly all cases, issues are resolved within 20 minutes.

Years ago, we made a conscious decision to avoid automated phone trees and auto-responders. Our partners have our direct lines and email addresses available. If we’re at our desk, we’re available to all users of our systems.

Perhaps most important are the technology tools that we offer to our clients. By emphasizing integration, ease of use and self-service, we’ve succeeded in allowing both distributors and end clients to access and use critical data on their own time – not ours, or the carrier’s. The result is a more satisfied client, and better service without increased cost – a true win-win.

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