Are You Ready to Address DoL Requirements?

As an insurer preparing for the new fiduciary rule changes, you may feel pressure to implement quick strategies yet find it difficult to know where to start. NEOS has identified 5 “Need to Know” areas for you to help measure how well-informed and prepared your company is to adapt to the changes. The end of each self-assessment will provide next steps and recommendations to help you move through the process.

Below are a set of questions to assess your organization’s readiness. Give yourself 2 points if you can answer “yes,” 1 point if you can answer “no” or 0 points if you answer “I don’t know” for each letter. Keep track of your total to find out your Foundational Score at the end of the assessment.

Remember to come back each week for another “Need to Know” area to help determine how ready you and your company are.

“Need to Know” #1 – How are product sales currently supported and enabled within your organization? You must be able to answer this to prepare in the most efficient and cost effective way. A comprehensive understanding of the processes, key actors, technologies, data and selling styles that assist in driving new business is the most foundational information your company needs to recognize where and how required changes will be applied. Employing change effectively will prove tough if you fail to identify and understand your internal and external processes, data, and technology. Critical information will be overlooked, causing decisions to be repeatedly made and unmade, adding time and cost. Filling these knowledge gaps is imperative to streamline design, implementation, and testing. Examine your selling style documentation to answer the following:

  1. Does your documentation identify unique details such as process triggers, enablers, or decision points?
    If you are like many insurers, you have a general sense of how your products are sold but lack an awareness of the details and nuances of the many operational processes that support the sale of their products. If you do not have any detailed documentation, you do not have an adequate understanding of relevant organizational processes. Gaining this information will give you the ability to design improvements that will meet the requirements of the new rules and improve the user experience for advisers and consumers.
  1. Do you know the differences between each of your selling types? 
    These variations are often overlooked yet knowing them will allow you to make improvements to agent portal characteristics, customer portal features, products, statements, customer service, agent service, and other agent support elements. Documenting the user stories of a varying group will allow you to plan for the different needs of your agents.
  1. Does your documentation include the quantification of various functions used throughout the sale?
    Since the new rules are applied differently to different functions (marketing, education, needs assessment, lead acquisition, fulfillment, solution design, active selling, service, advising, etc.) you will want to quantify each of these processes for each selling style. Understanding this level of detail will help you determine how to apply the new rules across your departments and roles. It will also provide an in-depth view of interdependent steps within the processes

Look at the answers you have and tally your total.

Strong Foundation = 6 Do you have three “yes” answers? Then you are ahead of the pack and ready to move on to the next “Need to Know” area. You are aware of the key organizational processes that create new business, understand the interactions between them and have a detailed understanding of the nuances for each.

Growing Foundation = 3 to 5 You may have a general understanding of the basic foundation of your selling processes or functions, but are unaware of the nuances or complexities within them. Identifying requirements have been met or system elements that are needed rely on this knowledge. It is imperative that you begin detailed documentation of your organizational processes and user stories, to understand variation and interdependencies of adding new business.

Weak Foundation = 2 or under If you are a member of this group and did not know of or did not have process documentation, it is essential that you take a hard look at your organization and functions that may enable, support or slow it down. Without this information, you cannot assess other “Need to Know” areas, since a majority of new requirements depend on a strong foundational understanding. For this reason, it is imperative that documentation exists before moving forward to other “Need to Know” criteria.

Was your score lower than you expected? It is not too late to begin reviewing the various channels and selling types of your new products. At NEOS, we assist insurers in documenting organizational processes, because we know that comprehensive process information will enable future decision making and implementation.

Make sure you don’t miss the next NEOS “Need to Know” post to assess your Process Complexity by subscribing, which will notify you of the next publication.