May 31, 2016
IRI Ops & Tech Conference Recap featuring IRI's Jim Young
By: Tim Owen
Connect, collaborate, execute. These were the three themes of the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) Operations & Technology Conference—a forum for operations and technology members within the annuity community.
Attendance was up over 35% from last year, with increased coordination and momentum for industry automation initiatives, coupled with the release of the final DOL Fiduciary Rule in April 2016. Engagement is at an all-time high in the IRI Ops & Tech community. During times of great industry change such as now, it is important for the industry to connect, collaborate, and execute implementation plans to maximize standards in an effort to promote efficient, leveraged technology solutions. The IRI Ops & Tech Conference created a timely opportunity for carriers, distributors, and solution providers to be proactive and prepared for change.
Much of the discussion revolved around understanding the operational and technology impacts of the new rule, especially around compliance and compensation.
In addition to the focused conversations related to this major regulatory change, the five IRI working groups discussed the future of the industry from an operations and technology perspective. Members of the various IRI Ops & Tech working groups collaborated on their current projects and how to drive adoption of these initiatives and standards for straight through processing throughout the annuity lifecycle.
Jim Young, IRI's VP of Operations at Technology, stated the theme of the conference, "Change is inevitable, technology is inexorable and we need to achieve a fully digital user experience for our industry to remain relevant."
This theme permeated the conference and was backed up by a proactive approach to embracing change highlighted by the presentation of the integrated three year industry automation roadmap. This roadmap provides a clear path for IRI member companies within the annuity industry to plan for and execute to realize substantial benefits for their business, while we also work on standards to comply with the new fiduciary rule.
Here are just a few highlights from the conference:
DOL Fiduciary Rule
At present, IRI hosts seven (7) forums for members to conduct detailed analysis and planning for the rule. Over the next 2 years, IRI's working group's initiatives will shift to execution of plans to comply with the rule gaining efficiency through IRI standards.
1035 Replacement Straight through Processing (STP) & e-Signatures
A key initiative for IRI members is adoption fully electronic, e-signed replacement transactions, enabled by ACORD's 951e 1035 Exchange/Transfer Assets form. With this form, firms streamline the exchange process for both the issuing and ceding carrier. E-signatures will allow true straight through processing for the annuities market which will "ultimately eliminate thousands of hours of frustrating NIGO rework for tens of thousands of advisors, faster issuance, and more satisfied customers," according to Jim Young in ACORD's report above.
Over the next three years, these two working group plan to accomplish the following:
|1035 Replacements Straight Through Processing||
License & Appointment Automation
In my update as co-chair on the progress of the L&A Automation working group, I described the goals of the working group, as well as the work completed in the last year including finalizing a briefing paper on the state of and vision for L&A automation and a 3-year roadmap to achieve the vision.
The goal of the working group is really quite simple: Drive the cost of automation down, so that we can drive the industry adoption and benefits of automation up. The table below lists the high-level plan to achieve this goal over the next three years.
|License & Appointment Automation||
The work on L&A automation being done by the IRI working group is very well aligned with the vision we have for our Sircon solutions to deliver "connected compliance". The connected compliance concept refers to creating an automated and integrated process across the key stakeholders to deliver streamlined producer lifecycle and compliance management. Connected compliance drives better communication between the stakeholders, as well as access to current and accurate information. And essentially, that's exactly what the L&A Automation and other IRI working groups are striving for—faster, more compliant and less costly processes for everyone in involved.
If my experience at the conference is any indication, it is clear that the industry is energized and ready to move forward together to adapt to change and grow efficiently.
How can you help?
If you're not involved with IRI and you sell and service life and annuity products, please consider joining to see how adoption of these initiatives can help your business by contacting Jim Young, VP of Ops & Tech at IRI - firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you are a member of IRI, consider having at least one representative from your business participate in the various working groups, including the L&A Automation working group.
Industry veteran Tim Owen brings nearly 20 years of expertise in creating and deploying usable and scalable technology solutions for the insurance and securities industries. As Vice President of Product Management, Tim focuses his attention on delivering high-level strategies for product development, product requirements, product launches, and regulatory compliance for Vertafore's Producer Lifecycle Management offerings.