The Alliance is highlighting its Spring Symposium Education Sponsors by exploring what they offer and how they can help our fraternal members. Alliance CEO Joe Annotti interviews Kimberly Duke, Chief Marketing Officer & Director of Sales, LIDP Consulting Services.
Joe Annotti: What does your company do and how and when did you come across fraternals?
Kimberly Duke: LIDP is a policy admin vendor focused strictly on the life and annuity insurance business, and we provide all the services that go along with implementation, conversion, product development, basically any service to help a carrier be successful with our system, Titanium.
LIDP has been around since 1979, and we have been working with fraternal organizations for some time, but most recently we’ve honed our focus to working more closely with them. We enjoy it, and we find that our values and vision align closely with that of many of the fraternal organizations. We are seeing positive growth in the fraternal space and want to continue to work closely as they grow. Personally, as a young insurance buyer, I hope that the fraternal market expands. It is ripe for growth with the modern consumer’s concerns – it just needs to be better understood by younger buyers.
Joe Annotti: How old is “old” when it comes to legacy administration systems?
Kimberly Duke: HA! This is a great question. Some of these systems that are still in use today are mind-blowing. Technology dating back to the late 70’s early 80’s is prevalent. It used to be patch and fix, patch and fix. Now companies are all but forced to upgrade the core solution. Luckily, technology has evolved and become more flexible, scalable and more affordable. There are tricks in a conversion going from the legacy platform to a modern one. Do you draw a line in the sand and go new business/new system? Do you pick a point in time and convert forward? And conversion of legacy data can be tough. Since we’ve been around since the late 70s, our architects at LIDP have seen it all. I love the stories from some of my colleagues who have been here since the beginning. They talk of not just conversion stories of screen scraping data from green screens, but the good old days of punch cards.
Joe Annotti: Our members often say that they wish they could join forces with other fraternals and combine old legacy systems. Then it rarely happens. What’s your take on that?
Kimberly Duke: We have heard this, too. We are actually quite interested in exploring how this could be financially sound for all parties involved. We have spent a great deal of time figuring out how to serve some of the smaller carriers, and time and time again, we come up with ‘they can’t afford to do anything.’ I can’t tell you how many hours I have sat with Bill, our CEO, and discussed how we could make it work. Could we create a collaborative policy admin solution to work specifically for the smaller organizations? Bill and I have a few ideas that are worth discussing with the right group of leaders. We think it is possible, and we do hope for the opportunity to make it work one day. One thing I know for sure is that many employees currently set in their ways would need to jump on board to make a more agile, collaborative approach succeed.
Joe Annotti: Can you name the “Top Two” most challenging parts of upgrading a policy system?
Kimberly Duke: Well that’s simple, time and money! Everyone wants to transform their core office quickly and affordably. You must pick one or the other! In all reality, there are many hurdles to upgrading. One is vendor selection. Selecting a vendor on what ‘can be’ and not on ‘what currently is’ leads to failed projects, timelines with no ending in sight, and budgets so bloated that other parts of an innovation project suffer. My advice? Talk to as many vendor references as possible. A strong background in understanding the insurance industry, a rich history of success in implementation and conversion projects is important. I also feel like some of the biggest hurdles can be taken in stride when a carrier chooses a vendor that they feel a true partnership with – one with similar values and visions for the future.
Joe Annotti: What would surprise our members about the process?
Kimberly Duke: I think the most surprising thing to folks is that even though the technology has gotten more flexible, configurable, scalable, and easier to use, the problem remains the same. Legacy data and legacy methodologies hinder transformation to a modern environment. A new policy administration system will affect nearly every part of the business and procedures must change – there is no skipping that step. When a carrier chooses to upgrade its core platform, it is a major undertaking, and the decision should not be taken lightly. Again, it comes down to working with a vendor who truly understands the business and the way the technology will affect the business. My company looks to be a true partner with all of our customers; the process becomes easier when working together.
Joe Annotti: What are the coolest technological advances you have seen – commercial or fraternal or other – in the insurance business?
Kimberly Duke: I have had the opportunity to be at a few insurtech presentations, and there is a lot out there that has the potential to be a game changer. For me, with my marketing background, I thought what John Hancock did with wearables was a great incentive, especially for the younger generations, and I believe their promotion spanned the generations as well. Then I came acoss Surify at an insurtech event in California. Sureify initially created a direct-to-consumer life insurance product that tied premiums to healthy activities. So they have taken this idea to a whole new level by combining wearables and using the data to benefit the consumers. I like that approach. I look forward to watching them build partnerships with carriers and seeing how they leverage the data. They have already withstood the two-year bust, so I think we will see more from them in the future.
Joe Annotti: Tell us how your company aligns well with the overall mission of life insurers or fraternals specifically.
Kimberly Duke: As I mentioned earlier, at LIDP we feel closely aligned with fraternal organizations. LIDP’s mission statement is “The vision to know what lies beyond, the knowledge to bring it into focus and the mission to make it a reality.” This parallels what fraternals want to provide for their members – to plan for their future financially, to leave a legacy and security for family members, or to plan for a happy, healthy retirement. You must show them how it is attainable and let them take advantage of their planning when the time comes.
LIDP is looking out for our customers’ needs now and well into the future, too. We help them innovate their current state of operations and continue to embrace new and modern technologies and methodologies to allow insurers to continue on the consistent path of innovation while giving a clear path to do so with as little disruption as possible.
I also believe our commitment to service throughout our company is hugely important. LIDP and our staff members represent and support many organizations in our community including churches, food banks, homes for boys and girls, and disaster relief programs. Personally, I am involved with Crossroads Hope Academy, a place for young teens that can no longer be placed in the foster care system. LIDP supports my chosen organization not just financially but by allowing me to take the time I need to support such an organization. Another perfect example is four years ago when my daughters’ softball team needed new uniforms LIDP purchased these through a sponsorship which ended up way beyond uniforms. Time and time again they step up to the plate. It is amazing working for a company that allows us to support what is important in our families and community.
Joe Annotti: That’s important for our members to know about you and LIDP.
Since most fraternal staff members are touched by their admin systems in some way, and I am sure you will have some great conversations with our Spring Symposium attendees. What should attendees ask you?
Kimberly Duke: What type of wine do you prefer, red or white? 😊
Joe Annotti: Thank you so much for spending time with us and for supporting the Spring Symposium. See you in a few months!
Kimberly Duke can be reached at
|Kimberly Duke, Chief Marketing Officer & Director of Sales, LIDP Consulting Services|
|Joseph Annotti, President and CEO, American Fraternal Alliance|