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									                                       Fall 2009


                                       Insurance Product Launch:
                                       The Top Five Mistakes Guaranteed to
Inside this issue:                     Sabotage a Successful Product Launch
                                       By Deborah A. Small
 Insurance Product Launch:             Director, Products
       The Top Five Mistakes



                                       R
   Guaranteed to Sabotage a                     olling out a product offering can        writing,    actuarial,     legal,  compliance,
 Successful Product Launch                      feel like an overwhelming endeavor,      customer service and systems all have a
                      .............1            particularly as this process typically   vested interest in the development process
            By Deborah A. Small        follows immediately on the heels of an            as they will have substantial responsibilities
              Director, Products       arduous product development phase. That           and accountabilities following the launch.
                                       said, momentum is key and building a              Representatives from these key functional
     Effective Use of On-Line          comprehensive product launch plan is critical     areas can be expected to have the collective
Resources Can Enhance your             to achieving success.                             knowledge and expertise to significantly
          Claim Investigation                                                            contribute to the launch plan. Relying on only
                      .............5   As the English author, Lewis Carroll,             one person (or a very limited team) to create
              By Tracey G. Zinck       accurately stated, “If you don’t know where       the roll-out plan is a serious mistake and one
 Assistant Vice President, Claims                                                        that should be avoided.
                                       you are going, any road will take you there.”
                                       The importance of developing and following
                                       a clearly articulated launch plan cannot          In addition to acknowledging how each
                                       be overstated. Most organizations do not          functional areas’ activities will affect the
                                       suffer from a lack of new product ideas or        others through the launch and beyond, certain
                                       the enthusiasm to promote those products.         members of this team will also support the
                                       Many, however, fall short in designing the        launch externally via contact with distribution
                                       launch plan.                                      channels. Most notably, sales will be called
                                                                                         upon to educate brokers on the need for the
                                       A product roll out requires a great deal of       offering, how the product was developed, the
                                       effort ― all of which is lost if the launch       intended market, etc., to successfully sell the
                                       collapses. To significantly strengthen your        product. The disability insurance industry,
                                       product launch platform, avoid the following      for example, serves a wide range of employer
                                       errors:                                           groups, each with its own unique needs. An
                                                                                         employer may wish to offer employer-paid
                                       1) Fail to assemble the proper                    disability coverage as a way to attract and
                                       internal team                                     retain employees, or may wish to sponsor
                                       It is imperative to assemble the proper           the coverage, but not pay for it. In either
                                       internal team at the outset of a product          scenario, it is critical for sales representatives
                                       launch. Sales, products, marketing, under-        to understand the research behind the product



                                                                                                                            (continued)
                               Insurance Product Launch:
                               The Top Five Mistakes Guaranteed to
                               Sabotage a Successful Product Launch
By Deborah A. Small
Director, Products



Deborah’s Tel.(207) 591-3091
dsmall@disabilityrms.com
                               (continued from page 1)


                               and the pricing structure to successfully sell the   Securing buy-in will be more easily achieved
                               product and educate brokers.                         when supported by thoughtful research and a
                                                                                    solid product roll-out plan. Be prepared to clearly
                               A thoughtfully selected internal team is             articulate the research behind the proposed
                               critical to a smooth roll-out process.               product, the distribution strategy and sales
                                                                                    potential. Also, formulate and share the metrics
                               2) Neglect to secure buy-in from                     for a periodic review of the roll-out, being certain
                               senior management                                    to include room for adjustments to the plan based
                               Without buy-in as to the appropriate “fit” with       on sales results.
          Developing
                               your company’s current offerings and direction,
      and launching            the launch will not move forward. It is important    Gaining support from your management
                               to clearly establish the objectives of the product   team early on in the product development
      a product that                                                                process will save valuable time and
                               launch at the outset of the initiative and to
          aligns with          secure agreement on these objectives. Detailed       position them to speak confidently and
                               discussions during the design phase would            knowledgably about the offering as
                  your         include, at a minimum, the need for the product,     they work to promote the product in the
                               a market analysis of competitive products, and       market.
           company’s
                               revenue goals. Management must be informed
              business         – if not deeply involved – with the product          3) Fall short in clearly conveying the
                               design phase and certainly should not learn of       need for the product
        model is key.          the product at the launch phase.                     Researching the market, analyzing the data and
                                                                                    designing the product are functions undertaken
                               Developing and launching a product that              by the internal team. As would be expected,
                               aligns with your company’s business model is         the design team would be very familiar with the
                               key. If your company, for example, is focused        research behind the product and the underlying
                               on disability insurance and does not have the        data. All too often, however, the information
                               capability or capacity to sell and manage dental     preceding the decision to launch the product
                               insurance products, a dental offering would be       is delivered to key stakeholders in a manner
                               a clear misalignment for the company and one         that is incomplete. Merely assuming that key
                               you should not expect your corporate team to         stakeholders are aware of the extensive analysis
                               support.                                             supporting the decision to launch the product




                                                                  2
(continued)




will impede sales.       Internal and external        best. Define and articulate the specific launch
partners, and especially distribution channel         objectives and establish a timeline to achieve
                                                                                                        “Relying on
representatives, need to be armed with all the        those objectives. Basic actions include:
                                                                                                        only one person
information gathered by the design team if they
are to confidently and effectively sell the product.
                                                      • Training    of external and internal
                                                        contacts – decide who will provide the          (or a very limited
They need to understand why the offering was            training and how/when it will occur
developed, for whom it was developed, and                                                               team) to create
the rationale behind the pricing structure.           • Creating collateral materials – design
Supporting information should include:                  materials for brokers, employers and            the roll-out plan
                                                        employees to clearly explain the value of the
• Market     interest: Why is the offering              offering for each group                         is a serious
  valuable to the end consumer?

• Competitive     data: Does anyone have a
                                                      • Developing a communication strategy             mistake and
                                                        – define how you will communicate with
  similar offering?                                                                                     one that should
                                                        sales representatives to announce the release
• Competitive positioning: What are the                 of the offering as well as which mediums will
                                                        be utilized
                                                                                                        be avoided.”
  advantages of your offering?

• Launch   process: What is needed to                 • Setting   sales goals – create solid
  implement the offering?                               expectations regarding quote activity and
                                                        revenue goals to drive sales
It is also important to educate the brokers and
sales representatives about market penetration
                                                      • Establishing  KPIs (key performance
                                                        indicators) – define how success will
as it relates to the opportunity for new sales and      be measured (e.g. quoted cases, case
how the compensation structure for the new              count, premium, etc.) and articulate these
product aligns with existing offerings.                 measurement standards to stakeholders

Develop the product story and focus on                A well structured roll-out program
the value of the offering. A firm grasp on             will include a comprehensive package
the details behind the offering enhances              that   includes    details   about    the
the potential sales opportunities.                    product, guidelines for sales, pricing
                                                      and marketing materials. A clear roll-
4) Overlook the importance of a                       out strategy results in sales, not missed
detailed roll-out strategy                            opportunities.
A roll-out strategy that does not clearly define
key metrics can expect mediocre results at



                                                                                        (continued)
                                                                  3
                        Insurance Product Launch:
                        The Top Five Mistakes Guaranteed to
                        Sabotage a Successful Product Launch




                        (continued from page 3)

                        5. Never look back! Never Reassess!                 evolve in tandem with customer needs if they
                        A product launch that lacks a timeline for          are to adequately support workers through
                        evaluating the success of key metrics is destined   various life stages.
                        for failure. Measurements for success must be
                        developed as part of the roll-out strategy and      Establish goals and measure for success
                        those metrics must be reassessed and modified        at predetermined intervals in the roll-
       Internal and     as needed.      For example, if after having        out process. Support the tactics that are
  external partners,    specifically designed a new product for the          working and adjust those that are not.
                        First-Time-Buyer market it is discovered that
     and especially     the product appeals to a more broad spectrum        Launching a successful product begins with
                        of markets, adjust the product accordingly to       having the right team assembled to research
distribution channel    maximize sales.                                     the market and design the product. Corporate
    representatives,                                                        leaders must be engaged in the process to
                        Carefully track sales, monitor feedback and         support the product launch and to communicate
          need to be    allow for adjustments based on the market           the product’s value proposition. Developing
                        response. Expect that changes are required over     a detailed roll-out strategy that allows for
     armed with all
                        time as customers’ needs shift. For example,        periodic reassessments is essential. Finally,
    the information     employees are remaining in the workforce            and perhaps most importantly, carefully
                        longer and, consequently, their needs will          monitor the roll-out and adjust the plan
    gathered by the     evolve over time. Product solutions need to         as needed.
 design team if they
  are to confidently        Disability RMS Combined Group
 and effectively sell      Disability and Life Reinsurance Offering
        the product.       Our combined Group Disability and Life reinsurance offering will benefit clients on several
                           levels. In addition to the administrative convenience of working with one reinsurer, clients
                           stand to benefit from a more holistic view of their Disability and Life blocks. Key advantages
                           include operational synergies gained by utilizing a common platform for the management of
                           their Disability and Life businesses.

                           For more information about the Disability RMS Group Disability or Life reinsurance offering,
                           please contact:
                           Greg Dulac                                   Ron Farr
                           Vice President, Business Development         Assistant Vice President, Business Development
                           (207) 591-3609                               (207) 591-3065
                           gdulac@disabilityrms.com                     rfarr@disabilityrms.com


                                                        4
                               Effective Use of On-Line Resources
                               Can Enhance Your Claim Investigation

By Tracey G. Zinck
Assistant Vice President, Claims




Tracey’s Tel. (207) 591-3003
tzinck@disabilityrms.com




T
        echnological advancements over the past    most effective for your organization. While
       two decades have had a dramatic impact      some insurers’ needs and goals are clear cut,
       on the insurance industry. Most insurers    others may not be as evident. When managing
have migrated to a paperless environment,          Disability claims, it is important to have the
receiving claims and maintaining files on-line.     ability to access reliable, pertinent data in an
Many also correspond with insureds via E-mail      efficient manner to make timely and complete
as part of the normal course of business. It       claim determinations. In relevant cases, Federal
stands to reason that insurers will continue to    Law (ERISA) mandates that a liability decision
pursue and utilize an evolving array of options    is rendered within a specified time period. It
                                                                                                          “With increasing
to enhance their claim investigations.             can be particularly challenging for an insurer
                                                   to finalize a claim decision within a mandated          frequency,
In the Disability market, for example, insurance   period of time if:
risk management has become increasingly
                                                                                                          insurers are
                                                   1) the policy has a lengthy elimination period;
complex. Pre-existing condition exclusions,                                                               utilizing
self-reported illness limitations, discretionary   2) the claimant is reporting multiple co-morbid
clauses, and Social Security practices             conditions; and/or                                     technology,
continue to be closely examined. Insurance         3) the pre-existing condition exclusion applies,       among other
departments, courts, and plaintiffs’ attorneys     requiring the review of medical records that pre-
across the country are scrutinizing insurers’      date the effective date of coverage.                   resources, to help
claim practices. Adding to the mix, the current
economic environment has triggered cuts to         Insurers have an obligation to obtain and review       them effectively
benefit programs and employee headcount and         all information that is pertinent to the eligibility
                                                   decision prior to making a determination.              manage risk.”
insurers are facing growing legal and regulatory
challenges.     With    increasing    frequency,   Denying a claim and subsequently receiving
insurers are utilizing technology, among other     information (available at the time of the initial
resources, to help them effectively manage risk.   decision) that alters the decision creates
When employed appropriately to supplement          challenges for both the claimant and the insurer.
claim investigations, on-line resources can        The situation can be even more problematic
help insurers make timely and accurate claim       when a claim is approved, benefits are paid for a
decisions while mitigating costs.                  period of time, and the insurer discovers
                                                   information (that existed when the claim
                                                   was approved) that impacts the claimant’s
Understanding Your Needs,                          eligibility for benefits. The insurer has the
Goals and Obligations                              burden of establishing that the claimant’s
                                                   condition changed to warrant the termination
 A strategic approach should be employed to        of benefits. The insurer’s lack of diligence when
determine which investigative tools will be        initially investigating the claim is not sufficient

                                                                                        (continued)
                                                              5
                        Effective Use of On-Line Resources
                        Can Enhance Your Claim Investigation




                        (continued from page 5)


                        grounds for terminating benefits. Clearly,             Limit User Access
                        obtaining complete information early in the
                        claim investigation process is of paramount           Historically, the primary claim management
                        importance.                                           tools have consisted of computer software
     When employed
                                                                              programs and industry databases. Much has
    appropriately to    Identifying the Right Tools                           changed - most notably the integration of deep
                                                                              web search engines and social networking sites.
   supplement claim                                                           Insurers now routinely turn to these on-line
                        Once an insurer has clearly identified its needs
  investigations, on-   and goals, vendors should be invited                  resources to enhance their claim investigations.
                        to demonstrate their products. These                  That said, putting on-line tools in the wrong
   line resources can   demonstrations are incredibly enlightening            hands can be counterproductive. There are
                        and allow insurers to test a few claims, present      legal and practical reasons why insurers must
  help insurers make                                                          exercise extreme care in determining who
                        various scenarios, and ask questions. One can
 timely and accurate    see firsthand:                                         will have access to the tools. The size of the
                                                                              organization and volume of claims managed will
claim decisions while   1) the source of the information;                     influence the appropriate number of dedicated
                        2) the level of detail captured; and                  users, however, access should be granted only
    mitigating costs.
                                                                              to select employees who will utilize the tools
                        3) the reliability/quality of the data.
                                                                              most effectively and for the purpose intended.

                        The time and cost savings that can be realized
                                                                              Employers have been held responsible for
                        by utilizing certain tools will be immediately
                                                                              illegal computer use by employees. To protect
                        apparent, while other tools will reveal limitations
                                                                              the confidentiality of nonpublic personal
                        that must be carefully considered.
                                                                              information, users must be authorized to access
                                                                              certain search engines and databases. Routine
                        In the Disability insurance arena, utilizing a        audits are conducted to ensure compliance.
                        combination of advanced search engines, social        Third party administrators, self-insureds,
                        networking sites, and government databases            insurance companies, law enforcement,
                        has proven effective. Pipl.com, Wayback.com,          criminal justice, and regulatory agency
                        Google Earth, IntelliScript, Accurint, Myspace        personnel are typically granted authorization.
                        and Facebook are among the most user friendly         The information must be used exclusively for
                        tools available and have proven to be very helpful    the purpose of processing insurance claims,
                        in claim investigations.                              investigating, detecting, and preventing fraud.
                                                                              Use of the data for other purposes is strictly




                                                         6
(continued)




prohibited. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of          that the claimant reported difficulty ambulating
1999 and the National Association of Insurance     and the inability to sit or stand for more than
Commissioners (NAIC) permit the use of             a few minutes due to failed back surgeries,
these databases to fight fraud and for claims       they were fascinated by his ability to drive for
administration purposes. Employers are             fourteen hours through several states, with only
responsible for the misuse of database             a short rest break. While reviewing this public
information by employees and must fully            information may be of benefit to the claim
investigate and report any violations.             investigation, when it becomes entertainment,
                                                   it has the potential to negatively impact
There are practical reasons why many employers     productivity.
                                                                                                        “In the Disability
use security filters to prevent employees from
accessing certain internet sites. Some employees   Candidates considered for on-line access should      insurance arena,
are spending excessive amounts of time on-         also be detail oriented and possess solid critical
line, distracting them from their work and         thinking skills. They must have the ability to
                                                                                                        utilizing a
significantly reducing productivity. “MySpace”      elicit factual information and recognize and         combination of
and “Facebook” claim to have more than 300         resolve any inconsistencies. For example, during
million users combined. Employers without          a particular claim investigation, background         advanced search
firewalls programmed to block access to these       information was obtained on a young claimant
                                                   who had been receiving a small Disability benefit
                                                                                                        engines, social
types of sites can reasonably expect that their
employees are visiting these sites throughout      for several years. While on the surface the report   networking sites,
the workday.                                       appeared relatively benign, an examiner with
                                                   a critical eye noticed that the claimant had         and government
When deciding who should have access to these      purchased a home without requiring financing.
                                                                                                        databases has
valuable on-line tools, consider your most         Further questioning by the examiner revealed
disciplined employees. They will have at their     that he paid for the real estate with proceeds       proven effective.”
fingertips an abundance of information with         he had recently received as part of a third party
links to related topics and sites. It is easy to   settlement related to his Disability claim. The
become sidetracked and employers will want to      Disability policy entitled the insurer to reduce
grant access only to those employees who can       his Disability benefit by the settlement amount.
be expected to use the tools appropriately. One    Taking a thoughtful approach and exercising
insurer recently noticed a handful of employees    discretion in determining which employees
were regularly visiting a claimant’s Web site to   should be granted access to specific tools will
read his blog in which this colorful character     maximize the benefits of these tools.
described his recent adventures. Considering




                                                                                       (continued)
                                                               7
Effective Use of On-Line Resources
Can Enhance Your Claim Investigation



Stay Focused                                                     relevance to the claimant’s true functional capacity. When in
                                                                 possession of what appears to be a proverbial “smoking gun,”
                                                                 the disability claim examiner must not lose sight of the fact
The greatest concern with on-line resources is that they can,    that the eligibility decision must be supported by persuasive
and often do, prejudice claim examiners. There is a tendency     medical evidence.
to give the information more weight than warranted and
neglect to gather information from other important sources.      When examiners lose objectivity, the ability to render a
This is particularly true when information is obtained through   thorough, fair, and well reasoned claim determination is
social networking sites. An examiner may learn about various     compromised. Clearly, the advantages of utilizing on-line
hobbies, employment, or social activities that appear to be      resources to supplement claim investigations far outweigh the
inconsistent with what the claimant has reported. When           drawbacks, but with insurers being held to a higher standard,
this occurs, the claim examiner should dig deeper and work       it is critical that they demonstrate restraint, maintaining a
to validate the veracity of the information and determine its    balanced approach throughout the investigative process.




                                                                                                    www.disabilityrms.com
                                                                                                         (207) 591-3048 (f)
                                                                                                         (207) 591-3000 (p)
                                                                                                Westbrook, Maine 04092-9700
                                                                                                One Riverfront Plaza

								
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