When discussing annuity illustration technology, the conversation often veers to enterprise solutions. The most robust tools on the market. The newest features. The most complex calculations. Completely customizable, built-from-the-ground-up solutions.
But what if you are in the market for a simplified solution?
What about startup carriers? Or carriers with simplified product portfolios? How about established carriers branching into new markets or products lines?
Sticking to the Essentials
There is no doubt a need for comprehensive, fully customized illustration tools. The solutions that push the boundaries of features and functionality. But not every carrier has the resources to invest in solutions with every bell and whistle. They may not even want said bells and whistles.
Some carriers need a compliant output with a minimum of extra features.
The good news is these pared-down, budget-friendly illustration solutions exist. If you are on a budget, or don’t need the full range of enterprise features, you have options. But you need to know what you are looking for.
You need to make sure the solution you invest in will do what you need it to do. That it will serve today’s goals as well as tomorrow’s. You may be looking for a smaller investment, but you still need to see a good return on that investment.
Simplified illustration solutions vary widely in functionality. There are certain pitfalls to avoid. Certain features to seek out. Best practices to adhere to. With a little research and your list of requirements, you can find a tool that fits your needs and budget.
Where Not to Compromise
When budget is a factor, you expect to compromise on a few things. The key is to avoid compromising on the things that matter most. A few factors stand out as the most important.
Compliance is one area you should never compromise on. It is table stakes. Even budget-friendly illustration solutions can provide a compliant output out of the box.
Cost is why many carriers start their search for a simplified illustration solution. One way to predict your costs is choosing a solution with a fixed subscription model. You know what you will pay each month. And you know what you are getting for your investment.
Fixed costs probably mean the solution is less customizable than enterprise solutions. To offer fixed pricing, vendors need to be able to predict the costs on their side as well. Less customizability is a downside for carriers. But, it may be an area you need to compromise on to get a budget-friendly solution. And you can likely find good middle ground in configuration options—which we will get to in a minute.
Future proofing is especially important to startups. But, it applies to any carrier who has plans for growth. You do not want to create future problems because of technology you invested in today. This applies even when budget is a factor in your search.
Be sure your illustration solution is integration-friendly. It needs to be able to grow with you. You may want to expand the scope of your digital journey down the road. For example, a year from now you might want to add an e-application solution. Or offer needs analysis, e-delivery and post-sale services.
Consider what platforms your illustration solution will play well with in the future. Integrating with leading end-to-end sales platforms should be important to you today. Even if it is not a plan you will execute in the short term.
A Trusted Vendor
In the fast-moving world of insurtech and wealthtech, flashy new software is abundant. These sleek new solutions almost always come with hefty claims about features, performance, pricing or all of the above.
Maybe these claims are true. Maybe they’re not. You will only know for sure after you have implemented and had some experience with the tool. This makes the newest solutions a risky investment.
Alternatively, you can let the market do the testing for you. An established vendor has already proven its value to the industry. You face less risk and get more reliable outcomes with market-tested solutions.
Where You May Need to Compromise
Configurability vs. Customizability
Compromises in features and functionality are common if the amount of your investment is a concern. A fully customizable solution takes a lot of time and resources. The ground-up build is costly.
A fully customizable solution is preferable—even necessary—for some carriers. Maybe you have a portfolio filled with complex products. Or you need to include a number of non-standard calculations. This can often be the situation for large and established carriers. In their case, the bells and whistles might be a deal-breaking factor.
For some, though, that level of customizability is not necessary. It can be a good place to compromise. And you can still expect at least some level of configurability.
Even a simplified illustration platform has many configurable options. Things like the user interface (UI), certain calculations, output formatting. Even some limited branding. For startup carriers or those with simpler products, this level of configuration might be all you need.
Set Your Expectations High Enough
With the state of modern illustration technology, you should still expect high performance from your solution. Yes, you will need to make some compromises. But do not get carried away. If you know what to look for, you can find an illustration solution that fits your budget and exceeds your expectations.