With the new version of its FireLight e-application, Insurance Technologies (Colorado Springs, Colo.) has added disconnected functionality for agents and advisors who may need to work without an Internet connection. FireLight 2.3 leverages the solution’s existing HTML5 and mobile capabilities and also lets producers execute in-good-order business and collect e-signature in a disconnected fashion. Insurance Innovation Reporter (IIR) caught up with Jim Ferrell, Insurance Technologies’ VP of FireLight product management to put the new capabilities in the context of developing life, annuities and wealth management distribution technology.
Insurance Innovation Reporter : What was Insurance Technologies’ thinking behind a disconnected version of FireLight?
Jim Ferrell: Financial advisors and insurance agents across all lines of business continue to find themselves in sales situations where connection to the Internet is limited or non-existent, and up to this point, connectivity has played a major role in their ability to seamlessly conduct business. This new platform is an expression of Insurance Technologies’ commitment to providing a comprehensive tool that can be used anywhere at any time.
IIR: Other vendors offer disconnected distribution solutions. How has Insurance Technologies sought to differentiate FireLight?
JF: The FireLight disconnected solution supports the existing implementation effort for the implementers across traditional connected and disconnected environments. No additional work is required for client implementations – they simply enable disconnected access and the disconnected environment re-leverages all the same work effort. FireLight also provides at no additional cost, an IRI (Insured Retirement Institute) certified, advanced e-signature functionality providing a complete sales tool to process business completely in disconnected situations.
IIR: Insurance Technologies’ announcement about the new version of FireLight also mentioned new security features.
JF: Yes, we’ve drawn on our 15 years of disconnected software experience with our Illustrations product – ForeSight – to design a solution built with security front-of-mind. Version 2.3 includes enhanced security features to ensure that all information is kept safe in the event of a lost or stolen device, such as automatic logout, remote data deletion, and automatic deletion after a number of failed attempts as defined by the company implementing the solution.
IIR: Let’s put this in the context of how you and your competitors are responding to changing demands on the part of distributors and their customers. It seems to me there’s been a sharp uptick in innovation in the life & annuities distribution space over the past couple of years.
JF: I think that’s fair. In my opinion, there’s been a 10-15 year period with few pockets of innovation. I would say over the last three to four years we’ve seen increased interest across insurance carriers, and distribution channels who are focused on broadening their automation investments. It truly is a small, tight-knit community where success stories are shared across competitors. Various factors – including increased cost of doing business for carriers, changing distribution demographics and wide adoption of mobile devices by the general population – have combined to create the opportunity for competitive advantage through innovative technology support.
IIR: How is that support shaping an improved distributor customer experience today?
JF: Like other industries, software providers to the life & annuities industry have achieved design advancements by leveraging insights into tablet user experience. This has driven vastly improved access, servicing and transactional capabilities in various industries, and the life & annuities industry is no exception.
IIR: Give us an example of what FireLight offers to improve the experience of Insurance Technologies’ customers as they seek to better serve their distributors and end customers.
JF: Tablets have changed the way everybody interfaces with software, including the amount of effort a user will spend adapting to software. With FireLight, we’ve striven to service agents and clients in a unique and intuitive way. And we have worked extensively to put easy-to-use development tools into the hands of the implementer rather than building software that limits their range of supported of use cases. FireLight is unique in that it supports business in an extensible and flexible manner that enables in-good-order business processing for all products and lines of business, even the most creative products and/or hybrid product approaches in place today and even those yet to be developed.