Canada Life Struggles to Reduce New Business Backlog

By Andrew Rickard | March 18 2015 01:58PM

Canada Life has been struggling to solve problems with its New Business Now online insurance application platform since it launched in July of last year. In a recent message to advisors, Canada Life's president and chief operating officer Dave Johnston admitted that the backlog of pending applications was about 80% higher than normal, and outlined the steps the company is taking to reduce it.

Johnston says the insurer is hiring more underwriters and using third-party administration resources so that, by mid-March, the number of underwriters and support staff will be 25% higher compared to what it was at the beginning of February. He also says that they are working on system enhancements, including changes to the underwriting rules engine, to increase capacity and allow for more straight-through processing decisions. As for paper applications, additional checking and error monitoring have been introduced to improve the quality of data entry.

Johnston says that, starting this month, advisors can expect to receive regular reports that outline the number of days from when an application is signed to data entry, from data entry to the date of decision, and from decision to when a contract will be sent to the advisor.

"The numbers will not be ideal to start, but they’ll give us a baseline for reporting," he says. "While we can’t provide a firm date for achieving our target service levels, our plans to clear the backlog are based on steady and significant improvement by the end of June."

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