DETROIT, Aug. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Signal Advisors today announced the debut of their tech-enabled Independent Marketing Organization, or IMO. IMOs distribute annuities and life insurance through a large network of independent financial advisors.
"The world doesn't need another IMO. It needs something fundamentally different," said Patrick Kelly, Co-Founder and CEO of Signal Advisors, who has spent his entire career in the financial advisory and insurance industry.
Signal is the first IMO in the industry to advance commissions ahead of carrier payments, ensuring financial advisors receive payment within hours, not weeks.
"Since COVID, advisors have been waiting over 50% longer to get paid, at a time when they need the money even more," says John LaRose, VP of Finance and Operations at Signal Advisors, and former investment banker and private equity associate.
Signal Advisors sampled annuity applications from four major carriers that were issued between September 2019 through July 2020. Signal Advisors found that, before the domestic outbreak of COVID-19, the average time from application submission to paid commission for advisors was 33 days. During COVID-19, that number jumped to 52 days.
The platform's unique offerings include:
- Get Paid in One Day. Signal Advisors pays annuity commissions within one day of application submission, at no cost. Traditionally, commission payments take more than 30 days, and even longer during COVID.
- No Marketers. "Marketers", who are paid to recruit advisors, are the single largest expense to an IMO. Signal Advisors will be the first IMO without marketers, and will reinvest the savings in real innovation.
- End-to End Technology Platform. Signal Advisors is building industry-leading software to improve on each aspect of the IMO business— From licensing & contracting, new business submission,inforce policy management, case design, marketing analytics, commission management, and more.
"Signal Advisors has changed the way we run our business," said Dave Boike, Founder of Retirement Resources, a Michigan-based financial planning firm. "For example, I was always moving from carrier website to carrier website to get updated inforce annuity information. The 1-click annual review saves our firm about 20 hours per week. I have been in the industry for 30 years, and not seen anything like it."
"What we are building is WAY better than an IMO," said Kevin O'Hara, CTO and Co-founder of Signal Advisors, and former CTO of several high growth technology companies. "Is it a software company? Is it a faster way to pay insurance commissions to advisors? Is it a better new business submission system? Is it a case design management tool? Is it a leading marketing analytics platform for insurance producers? Yes it is! We are rethinking the whole business."
In traditional IMOs, marketers are paid to recruit new advisors, as well as to coach the advisors on how to grow their practices. Marketer compensation accounts for anywhere between 20%-50% of an IMO's expenses, according to Signal Advisors' research. Signal Advisors upends the IMO business model by eliminating marketers and relying on advisor-to-advisor referrals, investing directly in advisors to act as coaches and experts.
"If we are really going to reinvent the IMO, we need to reinvent the business model behind the IMO," says Jacob Cohen, President and Co-Founder of Signal Advisors, who has spent the past 10 years building technology companies as a venture capital investor.
The Signal Advisors founders come from the worlds of financial advisory, software, and venture capital.
Patrick Kelly, CEO and Co-founder, has spent his entire career in the financial advisory and insurance industry. He got his start at Northwestern Mutual, before joining his parent's independent financial advisory firm, Kelly Capital Partners. From there, he co-founded RepPro, electronic application software for annuities, which was acquired by RetireUp in 2018.
Jacob Cohen, President and Co-founder, has spent the past 10 years as venture capital investor at Detroit Venture Partners.
Kevin O'Hara, CTO and Co-founder, is a veteran software architect and industry-leading technologist, most recently leading software development at Bluewater Technologies Group and LevelEleven.
Signal Advisors has raised an undisclosed round of financing from top investors in financial services and venture capital.
Signal Advisors has already surpassed $100m in annualized annuity premium, making them one of the fastest-growing new IMOs in the country.
Advisors who would like to try the Signal platform at no risk are invited to take the Signal Challenge. Participants can get contracted with one carrier, submit one application through the Signal platform, and get paid in one day. For more information, visit signaladvisors.com.
About Signal Advisors
Detroit-based Signal Advisors is a new tech-forward distributor of annuities and life insurance. Their end-to-end platform for financial advisors and insurance producers simplifies licensing & contracting, new business submission, case design, marketing analytics and more. Additionally, the platform pays agent commissions within one day of application submission, at no cost. To learn more, visit signaladvisors.com.
SOURCE Signal Advisors