A new national platform for life insurance advisor contracting and compliance has officially gone live, the company behind the initiative announced on Tuesday.
Toronto-based APEXA Corp., a subsidiary of Toronto-based insurance-industry consulting and outsourcing firm LOGiQ3 Group, has been working toward the release of the new APEXA platform for the past several years.
The platform aims to create a standardized industry-wide approach to contracting and compliance for the life insurance industry. It will create a centralized database of insurance advisors, consolidating information related to background checks, licensing and errors and omissions insurance, which eliminates the need for each firm to collect the same information about each advisor.
APEXA also digitizes the contracting process, which has traditionally been highly paper-intensive.
"We've transformed the advisor onboarding and compliance processes by delivering a platform that provides a standardized approach and simplifies administration for advisors, carriers and [managing general agencies (MGAs)]," says Tonya Blackmore, CEO of APEXA Corp., in a statement. "It's a significant achievement and we can't be more excited to be in this stage of rolling it out across the industry."
APEXA was originally scheduled to launch in January 2016. However, the team behind the initiative encountered several delays in the rollout of the platform. For example, APEXA's industry partners identified certain gaps in functionality when they began testing the platform, which prompted revisions to the system. Integrating the platform into each partner company's internal processes was also a time-consuming process, according to Blackmore.
APEXA worked with a variety of industry companies in the design and development of the platform. Its governance board is comprised of four MGAs — Woodbridge, Ont.-based Hub Financial Inc., Calgary-based PPI Solutions Inc., Mississauga, Ont.-based IDC Worldsource Insurance Network Inc. and Kitchener, Ont.-based Financial Horizons Inc. — as well as five life insurance carriers: Manulife Financial Corp., Sun Life Financial Inc. and Canada Life Assurance Co., all based in Toronto, as well as Quebec City-based Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. and Kingston, Ont.-based Empire Life Insurance Co.
"As a group comprised of insurance carriers and MGAs, we've worked in close collaboration to provide knowledge and support to help APEXA Corp. in developing the APEXA service, a platform that is easy to use, will reduce administrative effort for all industry stakeholders and support them in meeting the growing number of regulatory obligations facing our industry," says Julie Martin, assistant vice president, customer experience with Manulife, in a statement.
Burlington, Ont.-based financial services software firm Bluesun Inc. also contributed to the development of the platform as APEXA's technology partner.
The MGAs and carriers involved in the initiative are now inviting insurance advisors to register and create a profile on APEXA. Up to 85,000 life and health insurance advisors and corporations will receive invitations to register in the months to come and into 2018.
There is no direct cost for advisors to use APEXA. MGAs and carriers pay an annual fee to use the platform based on the number of advisors who are using it.
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