The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation's (DTCC) has introduced a new online tool that enhances usage of Licensing & Appointments (LNA) - one of the core automation solutions from its Insurance & Retirement Services business unit. LNA Accesssm makes accurate agent licensing and appointment information more easily available at lower cost to insurance carriers and distributors (broker/dealers, agents and other representatives) who market insurance products.
Since insurance is regulated at the state level, each state has different licensing regulations for agents appointed by carriers to sell insurance products. The LNA solution, launched in 2001, automates and standardizes the two-way flow of agent information between carriers and distributors related to state licensing and appointment requirements. LNA Access allows distributors to manage appointments from start to finish in one application directly online, almost entirely removing the need for manual intervention by the carrier.
Raymond James is one of the leading pilot firms in the implementation of LNA Access. "This application added real value right from the beginning," said Beth Maziad, vice president, Raymond James, Life and Annuity Operations. "Immediate confirmations from the carriers and the ability to process multiple transactions with a couple of clicks are just two of its many capabilities. Agents can now move more quickly to the business of marketing the products and providing better customer service."
"Distributors and carriers that use the fully integrated LNA system have reduced their operational costs and risks associated with manual practices (copy, fax and phone), thanks to electronic, paper-free processing of producer requests, streamlined data exchange, same-day turnaround and synchronized producer records," said Lana Macumber, DTCC director, Strategy and Business Development, Insurance & Retirement Services. "LNA Access expands the reach of this solution by bringing its benefits to distributors who may choose not to develop the fully integrated system."
Improving the experience of the representatives who sell insurance products is important in a marketplace of competing financial products.
"LNA Access is a huge advantage for us," said Tammie Leibold, department supervisor, PRIMEVEST Financial Services, Inc., Registration and Licensing. "We can now provide our reps with simple screen access to LNA information without all the paper and time-consuming manual processes that make it more cumbersome to do business."
Industry Support Drives Development of LNA Access
With the significant growth in LNA usage and customer demand for online access, Insurance & Retirement Services developed the front-end application in partnership with Bridgeline, a vendor that has worked with DTCC on other projects.
According to Macumber, LNA Access is the first front-end application developed by Insurance & Retirement Services. "The insurance industry views LNA Access as a 'proof-of-concept' which demonstrates DTCC's capabilities to produce other front-end applications for some of our core solutions. We work with the industry and vendors to provide easier access to our services and expand the automation of insurance processing across distribution channels."
In a successful pilot program in May 2008, nine distributors and 15 carriers worked with DTCC and Bridgeline in defining the user data entry screens, providing recommendations, as well as testing the functionality. The process generated a ready-to-use product without the need for development commitments from firms already struggling with technology resource allocation.
"We are extremely pleased to see this application brought to market so quickly and effectively," added Beth Maziad, vice president, Raymond James. "The way DTCC developed and delivered LNA Access was great; we were given a working, user-friendly application that produces immediate benefits - a tool that we can continue to refine and integrate to generate even more efficiencies with the full LNA process."
How LNA Access Works
LNA Access works as a separate data entry request and confirmation tool, allowing distributors to enter requests to carriers for appointments and appointment terminations, producer terminations, address changes, representative ID number changes and license confirmations. A key feature of the new application is LNA Import, whereby distribution customers also have access to carrier transaction confirmations through an Excel-compatible file available and downloadable through the DTCC WebDirect platform.
All Insurance & Retirement Services distributors may sign up for LNA Access. Firms that already use the full LNA solution only need to request access to DTCC's WebDirect service and they will be granted free use of the application. Firms that have Data-Services-Only (DSO) membership (firms that don't utilize the NSCC money settlement services) can sign on to use LNA Access, giving them the ability to request and download LNA data.