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Frank O'Connor, Vice President, Research, IRI

Frank O’Connor
Vice President, Research

Delivering a fast, efficient, and reliable annuity experience will encourage more financial professionals to use annuities more frequently with clients.

This is the heart of the Insured Retirement Institute’s (IRI) Digital First for Annuities initiative, which is intended to transform the industry by creating an infrastructure that facilitates the use of digital solutions to better understand, transact, and manage these critical retirement products.

And now, IRI research indicates that digital-first operations can improve the annuity experience and contribute to market growth.

Defining and Providing “Best-In-Class” Service
When financial professionals were asked to provide three words that mean “best-in-class” service, fast, efficient, and reliable were top of mind.

A fractured process, with some aspects of transaction and servicing done digitally and others by paper, is anything but fast, efficient, and reliable. The critical feedback we learned from financial professionals shows why the industry must act to deliver a consistent, seamless, end-to-end digital experience for transacting and servicing annuities.

Expanding the Annuity Market with Digital-First
When financial professionals enjoy a fast, efficient, and reliable annuity experience that mirrors the experience of transacting other financial products like mutual funds, annuities will be easier to use with their clients, and the frequency of use will likely increase.

We asked financial professionals if a fully digital experience (i.e., ALL annuity transactions ALWAYS e-Signed) would encourage more annuity use. The result was that 90 percent of respondents indicated they would use annuities more frequently.

Not surprisingly, the 10 percent who indicated their annuity use would stay the same aligned closely with the nine percent already completely digital.

The Path Is Clear
The industry has committed to digital-first as the best path forward to enable more financial professionals and consumers to utilize annuities effectively and efficiently.

Doing so will help ensure that those who can realize greater financial and retirement security through annuities can easily incorporate them into their overall financial plan and enjoy a positive purchase and ownership experience.

We have already made progress, but more is needed, and that work is well underway. IRI and its member firms are creating standardized rules of engagement that support broader product understanding, faster transactions, and easier management of annuity products.

Many of today’s workers and retirees are concerned about outliving their retirement savings. They will need the financial security of protected lifetime income strategies delivered by knowledgeable financial professionals in the fast, efficient, and reliable manner they expect and deserve. And we intend to deliver.

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