Aes: SunAmerica’s Appointment Expert System

Richard Levine, Gary MacKinnon, Frank Angrisani, and Lew Roth

SunAmerica is a major financial services company that primarily sells fixed and variable annuity products. Its assets (owned or under management) currently total approximately 11 billion dollars. SunAmerica was confronted with the industrywide problem that all agents, broker-dealers, and corporations must be appointed to the State Board of Insurance in each state for each product line to be sold. Fixed-rate annuity products are state regulated, variable-rate annuity products are state and federally regulated, and appointment regulations for each state are unique. The process was paper and labor intensive and, subsequently, error prone. Additionally, SunAmerica was in the process of moving its administrative operations from Atlanta to Los Angeles. As part of the move, reductions in office staff, including the Licensing Department, were planned, and most of the Los Angeles staff would be hired locally. Years of in-house appointment expertise would be lost with the closing of the Atlanta office. Therefore, the appointment expert system (aes) was an excellent solution to capturing and codifying the expertise before it was lost and allowing the small and untrained Los Angeles staff to maintain appointment processing in the growing company.

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