Life insurance advisors will soon be able to get their first taste of APEXA, the cloud-based contract and compliance platform, following a summer of enhancements to the initiative requested by its major partners on the project.
“We’re going to be doing advisor walk-throughs in November for them to get an experience of the system and we couldn’t do that until the system was complete,” said Tonya Blackmore, CEO of APEXA Corp. “They will go through the onboarding process and give us feedback, making sure that it is intuitive and easy to understand.”
The firm APEXA is a privately held company owned by insurance consulting company LOGiQ3. The project APEXA is aiming to provide a single advisor screening, contracting and compliance tool to clients that include Canada Life, Empire Life, iA Financial Group, Manulife and Sun Life Financial. Also on the project are managing general agencies (MGAs) HUB Financial, Financial Horizons, IDC Worldsource and PPI solutions.
The system was originally set to start at the beginning of 2016 but stakeholders recognized that taking into account the views of all those concerned was going to be a large and delicate undertaking, said Blackmore. The way everything is moving now, she is expecting that all will be signed off by the end of this year.
Making the information crystal clear to advisors was always the project’s biggest priority, said Terri Botosan, president of HUB Financial.
“This is a big, giant project. From the very beginning our Number 1, overriding concern was advisor experience,” said Botosan, who is on the APEXA advisory committee. “We know we don’t get two chances at this. This has to be a pleasant experience for the advisor as they go through it the first time and there is going to be some work for them to do. The last thing we want is for the first group of advisors to get invited by their MGA and the next month for us to hear… about how much they hated the process.”
The major insurance companies involved “are big ships to turn around,” said Botosan. “They have a lot of complicated internal processes” that needed to be addressed.
She said MGAs are a little more adaptable to different processes because every insurer currently has its own way of doing things and advisors have had to learn to use their individual methods.
“Everybody wants to get to market. Everybody wants to solve these problems that we’ve identified. Everybody wants to get going, but it’s got to be right and that’s just been the overriding principal for us.”
Regardless of the extra time it has taken to finish the project, Blackmore said the commitment remained throughout the project.
Extra time required
The bulk of the development took place over the summer and enhancements for those were being wrapped up at the end of September, she said.
Despite the longer-than-predicted start date for the project, Blackmore said all members remained optimistic and committed to APEXA.
Once the system is up and running full-time, APEXA’s goal is to help advisors more easily manage their contracts, licences, errors and omissions insurance and continuing education credits in one location that is shared with advisors’ insurance companies and MGAs. For example, all three parties will be alerted if an advisor’s licence is close to or beyond expiry.