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Expert Insight: August 2021

Expert Insight_Tiffany Markarian_August 2021

Why is the case manager role instrumental to a successful BGA?

Marketing and business development is what initially encourages advisors to engage with your firm; however, it is the case manager and operations team that keeps advisors happy. Case managers deliver the true experience of your firm to advisors. They are what give the advisor or insurance professional the assurance that they are serving their clients well. Case managers push things over the finish line and deliver on your firm’s value proposition.

How are some key ways case managers can work to streamline the underwriting and approval process?

As a case manager, your ability to triage and steer a case at every stage is your real value. But it is not just processing a case, documenting steps, or communicating emails. It is steering a case, keeping a case from being derailed in underwriting, and working to prevent an unfavorable offer from hitting the MIB whenever possible. You do this with a focus on field underwriting – before the application is submitted. Recognizing known risks, pushing the advisor on the case to work better with their clients upfront to capture all known risks and the details around these risks. The goal is to catch things early and switch gears as needed.

What are most important skills or traits of a successful case manager?

In addition to knowledge and expertise, the case manager role requires you to:

  • Communicate professionally, concisely, and consistently, which allows you to resolve issues and negotiate underwriting offers as appropriate.
  • Work independently and interdependently with other members of your team and carriers to foster a desired outcome.
  • Have meticulous analytical skills. You need to be detail-focused so you can catch mistakes across multiple platforms. You will identify, troubleshoot, and resolve problems throughout the case life cycle from submission through policy delivery and all points in between.
  • Embody an attitude of delivering exceptional client service and relationship management. The goal is to provide an elevated experience for advisors and clients.
  • Have strong proficiency with online technology and other business software programs.
  • Consistently and thoroughly document all aspects of the cases you are touching, from conversations, emails, status updates, and conversations. You need to hold people accountable to promised deadlines, ensuring the entire process is managed to completion successfully.

Since 1995, Tiffany Markarian has personally coached hundreds of wealth advisors, broker/dealers, brokerage and insurance firms in driving productivity, practice equity and overall growth. She draws from her deep field experience as a Director of Marketing for Allmerica Financial, Senior Consultant at New England Financial/MetLife, and Director of Marketing for John Hancock/Signator Investors, Inc. She additionally served as Director of Business Development for a Massachusetts wealth management firm for seven years prior to forming Advantus Marketing. In 2020, she was the proud recipient of the NAILBA Chairman’s Award, an esteemed honor bestowed by the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies. She is known for helping advisors and firms capture and retain opportunities amidst heightened competition and economic volatility. Her clientele is national in scope and crosses all aspects of the financial services industry.