Unfortunately, speed isn’t always an option when relying on the vendor for changes. The carrier is in a holding pattern while the vendor completes their custom update. Or worse, the vendor includes it in a scheduled release. In the meantime, the carrier’s distribution partners revert to paper forms. This negative experience reduces distributor adoption of e-Application software. For a digital-focused carrier, it is frustrating and delays their business goals.
National Western Life had been repeatedly disappointed by this experience. With frustrations stacking up, they decided to seek out different sales automation solutions. Their journey eventually led them to FireLight and the liberating benefits of self-administration.
National Western Life is no stranger to innovation. They have offered a wide portfolio of life and annuity products since 1956. Their habit of adopting the latest technologies has contributed to their longevity. They embraced the insurtech revolution. They used digital e-Application solutions from major vendors. Their goal was to streamline their workflows. So, they could add value for their distribution partners and achieve straight-through processing. This e-Application software digitized their products and made their processes more efficient. However, National Western Life discovered a prominent downside to their current solutions. Possibly, a deal breaker.
“We’ve used a lot of different platforms. In every case we came up against the same challenges, including slow reaction time to needed changes,” said Chad Mercer, VP of Sales Development and Analytics at National Western Life. “It could take up to six weeks to get an update to our forms from a given vendor. When the state says you need to be compliant to regulatory changes within four weeks—then we have a problem.”
The business relationship management team at National Western Life acts as an internal-to-external liaison. They faced the brunt of this friction. This team completes the product updates and new product implementations. National Western Life depends on them to do so quickly. But, relying on the vendor for these changes involved several frustrating speed bumps.
National Western Life dealt with slow rollouts due to vendors’ scheduled updates. Also, communication with various vendors was often clunky and time-consuming. Sometimes vendors lacked the product knowledge to create compliant rules and forms without help from the National Western Life team. The back and forth only added to the delays in implementation.
“Delays in implementing product updates are frustrating for our partners. Distribution partners we worked hard to convert to e-Application would suddenly be forced back to paper,” said Mercer. “Sometimes you get that distributor back into your digital platforms and sometimes you don’t. Either way, you have a frustrated partner.”
The National Western Life team knew the benefits of digital e-Application were clear. They also knew relying on vendors for administration tasks was not a viable long-term solution. Something had to change.