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Penn Mutual, Haven Life earn Model Insurer awards for innovative technologies

Insurance Forums Staff

Digital innovations from life insurance companies Penn Mutual and MassMutual’s Haven Life earned them a spot among the 20 total winners of Celent Model Insurer 2019 Awards.

Celent Model Insurer is awarded for best practices of technology usage in different areas critical to success in insurance, and is the main award that an insurance carrier can receive from global financial services research and advisory firm Celent. It is an annual program, celebrating its 13th anniversary in 2019.

Winners were announced April 12 at Innovation & Insight Day in New York City.

Awards were presented to companies in five categories: Data, Analytics and AI, Digital and Omnichannel Technologies, Innovation and Emerging Technologies, Legacy and Ecosystem Transformation, and Operational Excellence.

The program in 2019 was again incredibly competitive. Nearly 60 insurers of all sizes from 21 countries submitted over 90 nominations. In a statement, Celent said such a high number of submissions of extraordinary quality across the board is a testament to the hard work going on in the industry, as companies continue to transform and innovate.

Penn Mutual’s Accelerated Client Experience garners award

The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company’s Accelerated Client Experience (ACE) technology was a winner of a Model Insurer Award in the “Digital and Omnichannel Technologies” category, specifically honoring ACE as an outstanding technology initiative.

Launched in 2017, ACE is a completely electronic, seamless end-to-end digital experience that streamlines the life insurance application processing and decision-making time from an industry average of 30 days or more to as little as 24 hours. It reduces the need for invasive medical testing and improves information gathering, thus reducing cost, minimizing overhead and accelerating the whole process of purchasing life insurance.

Mark Dash, VP and Chief Technology Officer at Penn Mutual, and Greg Driscoll, SVP of Service Operations and Chief Information Officer at Penn Mutual (Photo: Business Wire).

“ACE has completely modernized the purchasing process. We’ve changed the acquisition of life insurance,” says Greg Driscoll, senior vice president, service operations and chief information officer at Penn Mutual. “How we go to market has transformed, and to leave an imprint throughout the industry the way that we have is truly a game-changer. With that in mind, we’re already looking forward to the future of ACE. We are committed to continuously improving and enhancing the experience. We’re honored to receive this recognition from Celent, as it’s a nod to our innovative culture, and a testament to our dedication to create a difference for advisers and consumers.”

Driscoll credits the launch and rollout of ACE to the team of about 40 Penn Mutual associates and broad support across the organization. “Talent wins the day, and this undertaking succeeds due to our talented associates, and their mindset to break the mold. We challenge our associates to think differently, work differently and engage each other differently. The team understood we were taking risks, but now, the ACE metrics speak for themselves. We have an industry-leading 60% of our cases coming in electronically, and we are placing 93% of our submitted ACE cases, which is a full 20 points above non-ACE cases.”

As part of Celent’s judging methodology, the tool must demonstrate business benefits, a degree of innovation relative to the industry, and technology or implementation excellence.

According to Nicolas Michellod, senior analyst at Celent, “The Model Insurer Awards recognize how insurers are using technology to change the face of insurance. These insurance carriers should serve as an inspiration to others looking for strong examples of best practice implementation that will have a truly meaningful impact on business results and the industry overall. The entry from Penn Mutual clearly demonstrated this.”

Haven Life, MassMutual earn award in Data, Analytics and AI

Haven Life, along with its parent company Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), has been recognized by Celent as a Model Insurer award winner for Data, Analytics and AI.

Celent’s recognition extends beyond the insurer MassMutual, which issues the Haven Term policy, to include Haven Life, an innovative online life insurance agency.

According to Nicolas Michellod, Senior Analyst at Celent: “The Model Insurer Awards recognize how the industry is using technology to change the face of insurance. Haven Life and MassMutual should serve as an inspiration to others looking for strong examples of best practice implementation that will have a truly meaningful impact on business results and the industry overall.”

Specifically, Haven Life and MassMutual are recognized for their collective industry-leading work in accelerated underwriting. InstantTerm is an algorithmic underwriting process that can provide immediate coverage for qualified term life insurance applicants up to age 59 who apply for a face amount up to $1 million.

This sophisticated technology, combining data science and automated decision logic, analyzes health information from the application along with multiple external data sources to make a decision in a median time of 40 seconds. No medical exam is needed for these applicants, which dramatically improves the customer experience for purchasing medically underwritten term life insurance. [Of course, policy issuance and payment of the death benefit depends on the truthfulness of answers in the application.]

“We spent a lot of time in developing the right technologies and customer engagement experiences that will not only completely change the industry but also, more importantly, the relationship we have with customers,” said Yaron Ben-Zvi, CEO of Haven Life. “We’re honored to be recognized by Celent for the industry-leading work.”

Complete list of 2019 Model Insurer award winners

Celent honored AIA Group as its Celent Model Insurer of the Year 2019 in recognition of their creation of a nimble Digital Workforce that quickly satisfies customers’ needs and contributes to building and improving customer relations.

Celent also recognized the following 19 insurers and their initiatives with Model Insurer 2019 awards:

Digital and Omnichannel

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • Cathay Life Insurance Co., Ltd.
  • John Hancock Insurance—Direct to Consumer
  • Penn Mutual
  • Transamerica

Legacy and Ecosystem Transformation

  • Erie Insurance Group
  • Nedbank Insurance
  • Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Himawari Life Insurance Inc.
  • Zurich Insurance

Innovation and Emerging Technologies

  • AXA XL
  • Liberty General Insurance
  • Northwestern Mutual

Operational Excellence

  • Aegon Nederland NV
  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co. Ltd.

Data, Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence

  • AIA Hong Kong
  • esure
  • MassMutual and Haven Life
  • Taikang Insurance Group

Each winning initiative is described in a case study report available to Celent research clients.



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