This article describes the long-standing partnership between Exclamation Labs and Gerber Life Insurance Company, and how the custom agency portal built by Exclamation Labs is a win for agencies, agents, and consumers. It is appearing on insurancenewsnet.com through the month of May.
Custom Technology Changes the Game for More Than 15,000 Agents
In the past three years, Gerber Life Insurance Company has seen unprecedented growth in sales of its guaranteed life product, in large part due to its unique partnership with a Maryland-based technology company — Exclamation Labs.
Exclamation Labs is an award-winning company specializing in digital product development and web-based applications and systems for a variety of corporate clients, including DuPont and Choice Hotels. It has grown to become a specialist in portal development for the insurance and financial industry.
The partnership with Gerber Life isn’t new, and neither are the immense benefits that Exclamation Labs provides for Gerber Life. Exclamation Labs first launched a direct-to-consumer application for Gerber Life in 1999. Essentially, as soon as the internet was ready, Exclamation Labs was there to revolutionize how consumers accessed life insurance.
In 2011, the two companies took the partnership to an entirely different level, solidifying Exclamation Labs as the industry expert on custom portal design and bringing Gerber Life to the forefront of technological innovation. This next-level addition was the creation of the agency portal.
Impressive Numbers and Results
In the most basic terms, agents and agencies who work with Gerber Life are able to create quote proposals and electronically signed insurance applications.
But there’s more to it than that. The big picture is that 47 percent more guaranteed life policies have been sold through Gerber Life’s agency portal than through its direct-to-consumer site over the past three years, in large part due to the agent portal. Add in great products and great customer service and Gerber Life has experienced unprecedented growth in guaranteed life policy sales.
The Exclamation Labs portal helps agents better understand Gerber Life products and better serve their customers. With the straightforward nature of the built-in insurance product descriptions, ease of business is enhanced with features that allow for partial applications to be saved, reduced data entry time via autofill capabilities and increased personalization for each agent.
The value for customers is that the portal enables agents to offer quotes based specifically on their customers’ needs or budgets, contributing to confidence on both sides and, ultimately, more profitability. Confidence is further enhanced by the portal’s built-in regulatory compliance, which makes sure all content and actions, including the eSignature solutions, match state requirements.
So, how does the portal impact Gerber Life’s bottom line? Agents will consider Gerber Life products over alternatives because the portal designed by Exclamation Labs makes their job so much easier when selling a Gerber Life product. In 2016 alone, 15,000 agents actively used the Gerber Life agency portal, and about 60 percent of Gerber Life’s agency channel business came through the portal.
A Peek Behind the Scenes
Understandably, there is a lot going on behind the scenes to be able to offer such benefits to agents and their clients, and all within a secure platform. Exclamation Labs was able to integrate a variety of critical business processes and third-party systems into a single online experience that is tailored to meet the business needs and requirements of each agency partner. The portal not only combines multiple standalone systems into a single experience but also automates formerly manual or offline processes.
They set out to create a portal that matches how agents really work, and they achieved this through the seamless ways that agents are guided through multistage processes. Complex data is made simple. Everything from price quotes to compliance is presented logically and transparently.
Not a “One Size Fits All” Operation
Exclamation Labs, which provides custom solutions for many companies, was able to provide a solution that was unique to Gerber Life. They offered a portal that had the ability to take multiple processes and combine them in a custom interface.
Portal features that improve an agent’s business include:
- Agent hierarchy
- Sales tools
- Product/rules engines
- eSignature software
- Underwriting workflows status
- Mainframe integration/apps submission
- Document storage
Even Exclamation Labs’ method of design is highly customized and collaborative. For Gerber Life’s agency portal, rather than launching a massive design and development effort to account for every current and future requirement of the system, it took an agile approach to implementation. This allowed Gerber Life to get to market quickly and to start doing business with its agency partners via the portal.
Then, Exclamation Labs closely tracked real-world results and feedback from actual users and gave Gerber Life the opportunity to prioritize new features and integrations.
“Working with Exclamation Labs has been seamless. They brought both customer experience and technology expertise as well as knowledge of our industry at every stage of our partnership,” said Leah Glowacki-Bishop, Gerber Life national sales manager. “What we’ve appreciated most is their flexibility in responding to our needs, understanding what we wanted and making it happen. Exclamation Labs is fully in tune with the understanding of Gerber Life’s dual business models that the solutions they derive are not just IT based but also designed to address our strategic business needs.”
Meanwhile, onboarding for agents themselves is painlessly executed with an innovative training environment consisting of a fully functioning portal that mirrors what agents use in the real world. The training environment guides agents through each stage of a process, effectively shielding them from the complexity normally associated with such processes.
Game-Changing Mobile Integration
Exclamation Labs not only creates mobile versions of their portals, but they also create them in a way that links all versions — mobile, desktop, etc. Enabling agents to share product information and to provide quotes on the go is a relatively standard feature for insurance mobile applications. However, the way Exclamation Labs integrates the mobile app with the portal eApp is unique. This integration allows agents to complete applications across devices, for example, starting on a mobile device and then completing in the portal via a desktop computer.
Creating a Results-Driven Experience
The insurance and financial services industries continue to grapple with the strategic imperative of the “digital transformation.” Digital developments in other industries have forever changed customer behaviors and are shaping consumer expectations of how they interact with their financial service providers. Likewise, new agents in the field have certain expectations of technology to help them do their jobs.
Agents are ready for the kinds of portals that Exclamation Labs designs. As agents continue striving to better serve their customers, build relationships and stay current in a constantly changing industry, they need digital systems and tools that don’t take up valuable time, forcing them to jump between systems, manually enter information multiple times and suffer through disjointed workflows. Instead, agents need more time to devote to being customer-centric and doing more business.
The portal manages everything from the quote-to-close process to compliance to security, and integrates with agencies’ other systems such as CRMs. This allows for a holistic approach to business management, which is critical to large distributors that represent many carriers and products, as well as to smaller agencies that need to demonstrate value to their agents and their clients. This easy-to-use system increases conversions and empowers customers to make faster purchases.
Exclamation Labs takes complex systems and applications and integrates them into beautiful, easy-to-use interfaces that increase conversions and empower customers to make faster purchases. Its team of experts is committed to the belief that the right ideas, technology, execution and people can create something special.