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Bryan HarmelinkDirector, Operations & Technology

Bryan Harmelink
Director, Operations and Technology

Nearly every consumer transaction, from pizza orders to the status of a mortgage approval, can be tracked in real-time. As a result, consumer expectation has evolved to an environment of efficient “radical transparency” in which the customer always has full visibility into a transaction’s real-time status.

The Insured Retirement Institute’s (IRI) Digital First for Annuities initiative is designed to meet that customer expectation. We are forging ahead with a framework supporting an efficient, transparent experience that meets the expectations of financial professionals and customers.

IRI is working with industry partners to ensure efficient data delivery in the presale, sales, and post-sales processes. Doing so gives consumers and financial professionals access to the information they need at a click. This includes access to financial professionals’ training information, upfront CanSell status (verification of ability to sell), and submitted application activity status.

Training and CanSell Opportunities
Real-time or near real-time delivery of training data to the systems that consume training data is crucial to creating an accurate view of the financial professional’s ready-to-sell status (CanSell) and achieving faster issuance. Currently, training errors account for 20 percent of not-in-good-order (NIGO) issues, and often, these issues would be avoided altogether through real-time data transfer.

IRI is working with training vendors and DTCC to deliver training data more frequently to reduce these errors.

What’s My New Business Status?
Obtaining the status of a new business application currently relies on calls and emails. For distribution partners, service staff members dedicate 35 to 40 percent of their time to researching application statuses for financial professionals.

IRI is partnered with member firms to develop a framework that delivers clarity on application status in real time. This new framework gives financial professionals and customers peace of mind at a click. They can view how their application is progressing and, importantly, get alerts to anything that needs resolution before the contract is issued.

Transparency Equals Efficiency
The framework that IRI and its members developed centers on real-time data delivery that leverages a modern format (JSON APIs). This employs a “build once, use many” strategy that allows carriers to provide real-time CanSell and new business statuses in a scalable way across the industry. Order entry and distribution partners can implement these in the systems that financial professionals already use.

A free flow of information through real-time data will allow financial professionals to focus on customers rather than tracking statuses. For distributors and carriers, it means freeing up time that would otherwise be dedicated to follow-ups through phone calls and emails.

Building Trust with Our Financial Professionals and Customers
IRI’s distributor members have indicated that trust is built with transparency. IRI and its member companies are focused on delivering transparent and efficient processes that benefit consumers and financial professionals by providing accurate, up-to-date information they need when and where they need it.

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