Re­veal­ing In­sur­ance’s Value

Digital Insurance - - COVER STORY - By Danni San­tana

Af­ter 26 years in in­sur­ance, Heather Mil­li­gan says her cur­rent role for Lin­coln Fi­nan­cial Group is “by far” her fa­vorite. The in­dus­try vet­eran got her start at Chubb In­sur­ance in 1989, work­ing in the in­sur­ance car­rier’s record man­age­ment de­part­ment while at­tend­ing col­lege at night un­der a pro­gram by which the in­surer helped with school costs. De­spite the pa­per-push­ing drudgery of the job, Mil­li­gan says she learned the value of in­sur­ance from it.

“I read a lot of the sto­ries and claims re­ports of peo­ple we were in­sur­ing. It was fas­ci­nat­ing to me,” says Mil­li­gan. “What we do is re­ally pow­er­ful and per­sonal to peo­ple.”

Af­ter Chubb and a stint at Je er­son Pi­lot Fi­nan­cial, work­ing with agents and in cus­tomer ser­vice along the way, Mil­li­gan joined Lin­coln as head of un­der­writ­ing and new busi­ness in 2007.

Her rst ma­jor goal was to close ex­pense gaps. But one of the mech­a­nisms by which they achieved this goal also re­vealed the value of the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. Mil­li­gan and her team de­cided that ex­penses could be re­duced by mak­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion process shorter and sim­pler.

For ex­am­ple, with MoneyGuard, Lin­coln’s re­tire­ment and long-term care o er­ing, Mil­li­gan led the charge to con­dense the ap­pli­ca­tion to a sin­gle on­line page, rather than the 20-page pa­per forms pre­vi­ously used by the com­pany. Pro­cess­ing pe­ri­ods — at one time last­ing any­where from six to eight weeks — dropped to about a week. MoneyGuard now re­ports more than $1 bil­lion in pre­mium vs. $250 mil­lion when she started.

“I’m proud of our work with MoneyGuard be­cause we com­pletely trans­formed the way un­der­writ­ing is done,” she says. “In or­der to in­no­vate, you must be com­fort­able in the am­bigu­ous and be bold enough to take risks.”

Mil­li­gan’s work with MoneyGuard helped rev­o­lu­tion­ize Lin­coln Fi­nan­cial’s un­der­writ­ing phi­los­o­phy. The mod­ern­ized ap­proach is cen­tered on de­ploy­ing elec­tronic al­ter­na­tives for cus­tomers that sim­plify life in­sur­ance trans­ac­tions. It also in­cor­po­rates the use of data to im­prove risk as­sess­ment and lower costs.

The shift in strate y prompted Mil­li­gan and her team of in­no­va­tors to launch Lin­coln Ter­mAc­cel in May. The pro­gram is an at­tempt to give Lin­coln a foothold into the highly cov­eted mil­len­nial and Gen X de­mo­graph­ics for life in­sur­ance. Its goal is to iden­tify piv­otal touch­points in young adults’ lives such as mar­riage, par­ent­hood and start­ing a 401(k), to be­gin an on­line life in­sur­ance ap­pli­ca­tion.

The move, how­ever, was not with­out risk. “We did not want to dis­rupt cur­rent dis­tri­bu­tion part­ners’ ex­pe­ri­ence while reach­ing a new mar­ket. But we had to chal­lenge our sta­tus quo,” she ex­plains. Though Ter­mAc­cel be­gins on­line, the process is com­pleted with an agent.

Cur­rently, Mil­li­gan and her team are work­ing on projects in­volv­ing arti cial in­tel­li­gence, elec­tronic health and au­to­mated un­der­writ­ing — though she could not go into fur­ther de­tails. Also on her list: Ex­plor­ing the trans­for­ma­tive power of wear­able tech­nolo y in in­sur­ance.

But per­haps Mil­li­gan’s de ning char­ac­ter­is­tic is her en­thu­si­asm for men­tor­ing. Be­cause she be­gan her own in­sur­ance jour­ney nearly three decades ago as a teenager with zero ex­pe­ri­ence, Mil­li­gan says it’s “in­stru­men­tal” to give back to younger gen­er­a­tions the way col­leagues did for her. In ad­di­tion to Lin­coln men­tor­ship pro­grams, Mil­li­gan par­tic­i­pates in the Signature Lead­ers pro­gram, where she ad­vises young women from di er­ent in­dus­tries, and works with the

United Way.

“There were so many peo­ple that reached back and helped me. It is my re­spon­si­bil­ity to help young pro­fes­sion­als un­der­stand how they can ad­vance their ca­reer,” she says.

Heather Mil­li­gan, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent, Life Un­der­writ­ing and New Busi­ness, Lin­coln Fi­nan­cial Group

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