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Photo of Katherine Dease<br/> Chief Technology & Innovation Officer

Katherine Dease
Chief Technology & Innovation Officer

One of IRI’s unique strategic objectives is to lead the industry to transform the annuity experience through adoption of digital-first standards that deliver necessary data quickly and efficiently. This transformation is required to meet the expectations and rapidly changing needs of financial professionals and consumers.  

We’ve named this initiative “Digital First for Annuities.” Naming this initiative was a conscious, deliberate decision. “Digital first” defines a strategy of prioritizing digital solutions that work for the consumer. Many IRI members have adopted digital first as a strategic pillar within their organizations, so our effort aligns perfectly with our member firms. For IRI, this initiative applies to consumers, the people our industry exists to serve, and financial professionals who are essential to delivering retirement security solutions.  

What is Involved?  

Digital First for Annuities seeks to adopt fast, modern, consistent, and streamlined processes and data standards for each step in the financial professional and consumer journey.  

At the core of this initiative, IRI is creating standardized rules of engagement for how the industry delivers essential data. Some of the issues our industry faces involve inefficient data standards and delivery mechanisms that prevent innovation and lead to processing bottlenecks.  

Previous attempts to address these bottlenecks have resulted in one-off solutions that created complexity through unique implementations that are not scalable. We must replace these with standards and protocols that allow financial professionals to access data quickly and efficiently in the tools they use today. Providing insured retirement solutions in financial professionals’ tools will make providing consumers with the protection and income products they need easier.  

Build Once, Use Many  

Our digital-first strategy also emphasizes a scalable “build once, use many” approach that lessens the burden on carriers to meet consumers’ and financial professionals’ data needs. Insurers will build a data delivery method one time and leverage it for all authorized implementations across the industry.  

To succeed, we are working with industry partners to develop common standards and rules of engagement that are critical for every stage in the annuity process. Our goal is interconnectivity and interoperability among industry participants with a single method to deliver information per data request.  

Making Progress  

We are already seeing progress. We have solid support and executive commitment from many significant industry participants, including 24 insurers and 10 distributors. We have created several new best practices and standards representing initial steps and a downpayment toward further necessary measures to reach our complete digital-first goals.  

Solutions For Now and the Future  

We have so much work to do, but we have a sense of renewed vigor and optimism that our initiative will transform how we do business. Digital First for Annuities will future-proof our industry. It can help with today’s record-setting sales and the expected increase in future demand for guaranteed lifetime income solutions.   

Our members will be able to provide financial professionals with greater, easier, and faster access to financial security products and strategies. Consumers and financial professionals have clearly stated that they need these products, guarantees, and security now more than ever. We owe them a better process. IRI is here to lead that transformation. 




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