In 2020, the company began using APIs to systematically integrate application data captured in FireLight into their suitability application with real-time rule automation and review for their fixed annuity suitability process.
Nationwide conducts fixed annuity suitability review for a variety of distribution partners, and although new business data was being passed electronically to Nationwide via FireLight and the DTCC, the data collected in the suitability form was not passed electronically. Nationwide needed a level of customization that wasn’t supported through the standard forms and data feeds.
When the application was submitted through FireLight, the suitability data was being passed to Nationwide as a PDF form via batched DTCC attachment files. Nationwide associates, responsible for processing these files, received the PDF form and entered the data into a suitability system. Suitability Principals then reviewed the case to ensure fixed supervision requirements were in good order. When a new business application was submitted in the morning, it could potentially be hours before the case was batched, received and reviewed, resulting in delays to the overall process.
“Nationwide is a top carrier with respect to Fixed Indexed Annuities, many of which come through the FireLight platform,” said Steve Bianchi, Senior Consultant, Business Program Management at Nationwide. “While we were already getting all the new business data and order entry automatically through FireLight, the suitability data transmission and review process still required data input.”
The process challenges Nationwide wanted to address were:
— Receiving suitability data in a PDF form
— Lack of digitalization and back-end integration
— 100% of new business suitability data was entered into their suitability application
— The average handling time for data entry was 10 minutes
— Data entry was driving an increase in staff overtime
— The integrity of the data entry resulted in potential errors
— Suitability PDF forms were received via batched files and not received in real-time
— The current industry data framework did not support Nationwide’s customized suitability data and supporting rule