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How a Product Mindset and New Digital Capabilities have helped Sammons Financial Group Improve the Agent Experience

Improving agent experience is a top priority for life insurance carriers. Agents—the insurer’s first-level customers—are no longer happy to struggle with 30-day policy approval timelines, slow or awkward claims processes, paper-based, manual frustrations or a lack of real-time access to data.

They have 2023 expectations but too often find themselves working in a 2010 paradigm, with circa 2002 tools.

To address this critical experience challenge, Sammons Financial Group implemented a new policy administration system and began investing in new digital solutions for their advisors. In a recent Life Accelerated podcast, CIO, Kelly Coomer, explained how she prioritized her team’s digitization efforts to achieve maximum results:

Investing in capabilities that enhance the advisor experience

During her conversation with Life Accelerated host, Anthony O’Donnell, Coomer emphasized the importance of carrying forward lessons learned during the pandemic. COVID-19 was an eye-opener for Sammons Financial Group, and this included lessons learned about the importance of investing in digital capabilities that enhance the advisor experience.

The foundation of adding these new sales and service solutions was to jump-start back-office modernization by taking a greenfield approach to new PAS implementation. They stood up a new core system and began putting the new business on it right away rather than migrating the old data and policies off the legacy PAS.

Now, it's well beyond Covid and more about looking at our business model and what we need to do to continue to grow our service, our agents and our customers. So we are doing things like implementing a new policy administration system for our life division

Kelly Coomer, CIO at Sammons Financial Group

Adapt to a product-mindset

Leveraging a product mindset has also been vital. This mindset shift, which creates increased alignment between business and technology teams, has been a key driver of the success they’ve been able to achieve since the pandemic.

Adapting to a product mindset has helped Kelly and the company break down some challenges they were facing with big waterfall projects. While an AGILE project methodology helped them break down projects and make them more manageable, it didn’t necessarily accelerate delivery. And, in a fast-paced environment, long-development timelines can result in eventually delivering a project that’s no longer viable in the market.

The solution, for Sammons Financial, has been to adopt a product mindset in which business-side resources are part of software development projects. Both technical and business resources understand the desired outcomes from the beginning. They experience progress and setbacks together as the implementation advances. It creates greater understanding between all stakeholders and has been shown to greatly enhance project results.


A seamless and streamlined experience has become necessary in order to retain customers and advisors alike. This is one of the main reasons life insurance companies have been compelled to modernize their policy administration systems.

While there are many approaches to digital transformation, Sammons Financial Group has focused on leveraging a product mindset in order to ensure their business and technology needs are aligned. To learn more about how product mindset and investing in digital capabilities have changed the game for this insurer, check out the full episode here.

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