No Exam Life Insurance with Sagicor’s President – Bart Catmull

Sagicor Life Insurance - Bart Catmull


This week we have Bart Catmull, President and COO of Sagicor Life Insurance.

Bart and I have a conversation about Sagicor Life Insurance and the no medical exam life insurance marketplace.  Specifically his thoughts on where it’s going and challenges it faces.

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Jeff Root: Hey life insurance agents, you’re listening to the modern life insurance selling podcast where we provide the tools to help you grow a more profitable life insurance business by selling online and over the phone from anywhere with an internet connection. Even if you’re alone in your quest to build your life insurance business, just know that there’s a community of life insurance agents at connecting and helping each other grow their businesses from home offices, coffee shops, beaches, all across the nation.
Jeff Root: Welcome to episode number 37 of the modern life insurance selling podcast. I’m your host, Jeff Root. Today we’ll speaking with the president and COO of Sagicor Life Insurance about his company and then we’ll tap into this insights on where he thinks the non med life insurance marketplace is going, and just talk non medical life insurance in general. If you’re not familiar with Sagicor Life Insurance, they’re one of the best non med life insurance companies to arrive at the moment, or our agency’s favorite non med carrier. That’s for so many reasons that we’ll discuss in this podcast episode. First, if you like what you hear and our listening in iTunes or Stitcher, please leave us a review and if you have any questions or would like a topic cover on a future podcast, please use the send voice mail tab over at
All right, so today we have Bart Catmull, president of Sagicor Life Insurance. Bart’s been with Sagicor since 1999 and in my opinion, is leading one of the more progressive life insurance companies and we’ll dig into that today. All right, welcome to the podcast Bart.
Bart Catmull: Glad to be here Jeff.
Jeff Root: All right, so let’s kick this thing off by telling us a little bit about your background at Sagicor. From what I’ve read I see you’ve had a few positions there before becoming president and COO right?
Bart Catmull: That’s correct. Actually I’ve been with the company since 1999. At that point in time it was under a different brand and in 2005 it was acquired by Sagicor financial corp which is a Barbadian life insurance company that’s been around since the 1840s. It has a wealth of history and being with, supporting friends and family. I started out as the chief financial officer and held that position until 2006, which time I became the chief operating officer and then have held that position and title until today. I became the president, I guess last year. Is that right? I had to think about that one. Maybe it’s been two years now. Time flies when you’re having fun and we’re actually … It’s been a great experience with me. I love the company. I’ve seen ups and downs with the economy and the world in general but we’ve weathered the storm and are growing dramatically.
Jeff Root: Awesome. We love the company too and I’m glad to have you on here. I’ve made it known that I’m a huge Sagicor fan and in our private community, and one of our most popular threads is our Sagicor thread with agents sharing their experiences and the reason we’re riding so much Sagicor business is you guys have a such a well priced non med product and easy application, fast decision times, which in most times is instant, and you have a non med [inaudible 00:03:33] to top it all off. You guys make it really easy to send you business and the non med market has been so stagnant for so long and you guys in my opinion are the tops of the non med market. What do you see as Sagicor’s biggest strengths in the market right now?
Bart Catmull: I think it flows from our beliefs and it’s important to understand if somebody doesn’t understand why they do something than they’re not going to do it very well. It all stems from our belief that we’re here to serve our friends and family and neighbors. We’re here to make things simple and straight forward and we’re all about long term solutions. As we looked at the marketplace, we felt that one of the areas that we could really have a major impact in the lives of our friends and family neighbors was on those lower face amounts. When I say lower, it’s I mean, on the term we go to $400,000 and on the guaranteed UL it’s 250, so it’s not that low but we really wanted to make a difference there. We know that we all want to have in this day and age instantaneous, almost instantaneous results.
It didn’t make sense for us at that level why someone should have to wait around six weeks for a decision. We live in a day and age when there are significant amounts of technology and information available to make decisions that you shouldn’t have to wait that long. We took a platform that we had internally and looked around for partners that on the technology side that had similar philosophies as us. We said, “Listen, let’s make a change here.” Our goals was to have everyone have the advantage of having our best underwriter on their best day 24/7. That’s what we set out to do.
When we talk about non med, we wanted to do something different that I believe, the questions that we ask, the information that we get whether it be from a potential policy holder or from outside sources provides us with the information that we need to make a very knowledgeable decision in a few minutes. It can be as quick as a few seconds but definitely within a few minutes. We can make that decision and give that policy holder the peace of mind that if they have done everything that they’ve been asked to do and have been truthful in their responses, and pay their premium, that they’re going to have a policy in place within 24 hours. It’ll be in place. They’ll be covered and their family will be protected and it just takes one thing off their table that they have to worry about.
Jeff Root: Yeah, and the way you guys do that too is so seamless. One of the biggest strengths that I see with your product is you have different health classifications, preferred, standard, rated pricing options on your non med term. That is huge because you can take a wide range of people and be competitive in different situations.
Bart Catmull: Exactly. If you look out there and the industry statistics tell us that most of the life insurance that general public has comes from their employer. They’ve got a group policy that their employer has just given them. That’s great except that all of those group policies are taking into account that there’s healthy and unhealthy people and they’re mixing that rate. While it’s easy, the employee doesn’t have to do anything. They didn’t have to have any picture or prods or anything that they needed to do. It can be expensive. It’s kind of a stealth expense, but it’s expensive. What we wanted to do was provide them with quality coverage, great benefits and come as close as we could to the ability to basically, a pricing of a fully underwritten product without the expense of incurring … To go out and do the medical exams and all that.
That’s what we set out to do. That was the direction that I gave the underwriters and the actuaries was okay, figure this out. It allows us, what they’ve done I think is great in that it allows us … Somebody’s got great health, they’re going to get a great rate. If somebody is a little, they’ve got a few issues health wise, they’re still going to get a good rate and they’re going to get an answer real quick. That’s an added benefit to them.
Jeff Root: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like the no exam life insurance market took a step back from what was available to agents four to five years ago until you guys came in. We had HSBC go all the way up to 500,000 with an instant decision and consumers could apply online without an agent. Same thing with RBC Liberty Life, except they had a 250K cap. I guess my question for you is, I know you guys are doing this right now but why aren’t we seeing these types of products on the market right now?
Bart Catmull: I think that … One reason why is from a re-insurance standpoint, the re-insurers are just getting up to speed. Pricing of the products is always an issue. The technology is just coming into play. I think that you have to have companies who are willing to be innovative to look out there and look at information in a different way, work with partners who … Some of the partners we worked with in developing this were just starting out. We saw the benefit and the expertise that they had in their platforms that made us excited and said, “Hey, you know what, we’ll take a chance with you. We’ll work on this together and come to a common solution.” I also think it takes individuals who are knowledgeable on technology as well.
I fully expected that yes, the marketplace is going to grow in this area because everyday new technologies come into play that allow us as an insurance company to analyze risk better which then provides the opportunity for us to provide that benefit to policy holders and providing improved products at better rates.
Jeff Root: Awesome. Where do you see no exam life insurance going next? You guys have already implemented this technology, lots of new technology coming out. What’s next?
Bart Catmull: I think there’ll be uses in expanding the product line for products that maybe in the past didn’t lend themselves as easily to the no exam basis. I think that over time we’ll be able to provide this service at higher issue ages. Older issue ages I guess, is what I should say. Right now the technology’s so new and things are working that we have to keep some limits on it to be able to understand the risk and ensure that we have properly reflected it.
I think the next step will be that fully automated experience where it makes it seamless and that policy holder can receive all their information electronically. I think a perfect example is on the property and casualty side. I don’t get a hard copy of my policy anymore and most of everything I do is all electronic. I think that we’re, the life insurance industry is probably a few years behind the property and casualty side but we’re getting there.
Jeff Root: Yeah. Do you see Sagicor ever plan to have a consumer facing web application that agents like myself or anybody listening to this podcast can market, where consumers can apply online themselves.
Bart Catmull: We’ve been discussing that with our agency force and looking at doing that. Yeah, I expect that that’s where everything is going. Everything’s an app now.
Jeff Root: Yeah. Right.
Bart Catmull: At some point we have to get there. The key is that life insurance is still one of those things that is normally not bought. It is sold. There is a discussion that has to happen, and people still feel very comfortable and need to have those discussions with someone that they feel comfortable with to kind of validate that yeah, they’ve got the right amount of coverage.
Jeff Root: Right.
Bart Catmull: Once again on the property casual side, you know that the state is mandated. You have to have this, at least this.
Jeff Root: Right.
Bart Catmull: We don’t have that in the life insurance side.
Jeff Root: Right.
Bart Catmull: For the most part someone needs to talk to someone and say, “Hey, I’m thinking about this, is that enough? Do I need more? Do I need less? What do you think?” While there are some that are moving to it and say, “Hey, I feel comfortable making the whole decision.” For the most there needs to be that interaction with an agent at some point in the process.
Jeff Root: Right.
Bart Catmull: Then determining how you reflect that in a forward, consumer facing application has it’s technical challenges that we need to work through to make sure that that person who’s helping that individual along gets that cred.
Jeff Root: Got you. Understandable. Anything on the horizon for Sagicor at the moment? I know we talked about where we see no exam life insurance going next, but for Sagicor specifically, anything coming up?
Bart Catmull: We’ve got some … We’re going to have some announcements here next month in regards to new product offerings on our [inaudible 00:14:07] writing platform, so we’re excited about that.
Jeff Root: Awesome.
Bart Catmull: We’ll have some additional ones early in 2015. We’re not going to sit on our laurels. We are pushing forward, not only on the technology side but then on the underwriting side as well and the rules that support it and ensuring that we’re staying on the cutting edge of what’s out there and available to us.
Jeff Root: Where do you see room for improvement technology wise in our industry right now?
Bart Catmull: Number one is making it easier for the policy holder to get their application in, to complete the application. There’s still room for improvement, even in our system in regards to the questions that are asked and the information that is reviewed. I think that there are huge opportunities on linking the underwriting decisions with the medical information that is available online or electronically. We’re doing some of that now. [inaudible 00:15:14] writing is a prime example of what I consider the first stage and then the next … There’s some steps that are going to happen that will move this thing forward by leaps and bounds.
When you look at where we are, I expect when you look where the industry is today and compare it in five years you’ll say, “What was going on? Why were you doing it like that back then?” We will have changed our direction.
Jeff Root: Yeah. I know those improvements in technology will be well received because just looking at the statistics and I’m sure you know this too. [inaudible 00:15:48] Foundation I think last year did a study that found that over 50% of consumers that purchased life insurance in their survey went online. With these non med products, it just makes it easier. They’re looking for these types of things now and so as technology grows I think the life insurance companies that are the most progressive are going to win a lot more of those cases.
Bart Catmull: I look back and I bought my first whole life policy when I was 23 and once again it went to … We were expecting our first child and so once again, everyone knows or most insurance, life insurance is purchased because of some type of change in your life, marriage, somebody passes away who was close to you. You see what the impact was. You have a birth in the family. Whatever it may be but that’s what causes people to do that. We do need to do a better job at, as an industry and as individual companies in ensuring that the message is out there so when they are looking for … They have that event and they go out to the internet to look to try to find an answer to that problem that they have, our solutions come up and it’s easy for them to read and understand, to look at it.
One of the changes that is occurring now and will continue to occur and gain and more traction is the whole video concept. I have, half of my kids like to read and the other half disdain it immensely. I was with my son the other day and he was working on a go-kart we had and I said, “What are you going to do? How are you going to fix that?” He goes, “I don’t know, I’m going to go out to YouTube and figure it out.” That mentality. We can’t fight that … The companies that fight that are going to no longer be in business and as industry if we fight that we will become very non relevant real quick. We’ve got to step up and ensure that they get what they need.
Jeff Root: Absolutely. We’re coming up on the end here. Bart, I just want to thank you for taking the time to join us on the podcast and share all these insights. This is a really good look into some of our favorite products. What really is pushing the industry forward technology wise is these non med companies like yourself and just using the technology that is really like you said, a few years behind some of the other insurance industries out there.
Bart Catmull: I think the other thing Jeff, one of the things that we’re looking to is the ability to not just be a non med company, or not be just an annuity company but to use the technologies to provide quality at all levels. If you need a fully underwritten product, you find somebody who needs a $2 Million policy. We want to use these technologies that are being perfected in the non med area to be able to move those to those fully underwritten arenas to provide quality products at good, fair prices in a time horizon that makes sense. Once again a fully underwritten product, it doesn’t make sense in today’s world to have that take six to eight weeks to issue.
Jeff Root: Yeah. I totally agree.
Bart Catmull: That’s where we’re as a company, we feel like we’re not just a non med company. It’s not just about [inaudible 00:19:45] writing. It’s not just about our annuity products that we have. It’s, we want to provide that full suite of products so yeah, maybe this individual started with us as they bought a simple term product that they needed it when they were in their 20s but as they move along they’re going to need to grow. We’re going to continue to provide that simple straight forward solution at every age and every need that they have so that as an agent you’ll feel comfortable recommending them to us. Are we always going to be the cheapest? No, but I guarantee you that we’ll always provide that quick quality service, that smile over the phone that you know you can feel comfortable with and providing that recommendation to your friend and family.
Jeff Root: Right, and that would be hugely well received in the agent community. Like you said, that six to eight weeks, that needs to be worked on. I can’t wait to hear more about this and see what you guys do in the future.
Bart Catmull: We’ll definitely be looking for those things coming from us here in the coming months and in the coming years.
Jeff Root: Awesome.
Bart Catmull: When we move this technology forward.
Jeff Root: Awesome. I know myself and most of our audience really appreciate sharing your insights and everything that you’re doing over there at Sagicor and I appreciate you coming on the podcast.
Bart Catmull: Appreciate it, Jeff. Anytime.
Jeff Root: Now for a peek into our community of life insurance agents over at, here are some of this week’s hot topics.
Some of the community action this week involved a few great opportunities for agents just making the move to selling remotely. A few examples, there was a starter website for sale at a ridiculously low price that was already generating leads. An agent within our community decide to focus on his two core websites and gave an agent the opportunity to purchase the site that he had been ignoring awhile, which is a great asset for any new agent at a price most agents could afford, and the website went quick.
Another example is I personally hired several full-time agents from the community who are writing several applications per day now. My offer will be Live on in the future, but for now the community is providing me with enough talent to work as many leads as they can possibly handle. This is a great opportunity because this is how I started out. Learning the systems, getting the experience of working 25 plus new leads per day just to learn how to sell and to get comfortable with selling over the phone. This will be a great launchpad for a few agents that are in the community that are just kind of making the move from selling face to face to selling remotely.
There was also a topic on optimizing for impact. In other words agents spend so much time on building a beautiful website or writing a great article but not enough time on optimizing their website or content to get people to request quotes from you or to contact you. We talk about best practices to do this. We also discussed why many agents are focusing on content marketing and SEO as a foundation for their business, but not solely their whole business.
To join the conversation and discover how you could use modern techniques to sell more life insurance, work more efficiently and on your own terms, head over to We’ll see you back next Thursday morning for another value packed episode of the modern life insurance selling podcast.

People in the episode:

Jeff Root: [email protected]
Bart Catmull

Mentioned on this episode:

Sagicor Life Insurance

Recent Action in the Sell Term Life Community:

Some of the community action this week involved a few great opportunities for agents just making the move to selling remotely.  There was a starter website for sale at a rediculously low price that was already generating leads.  An agent decided to focus on his 2 core websites and gave an agent an opportunity to purchase a site he had been ignoring…which is a great asset for a new agent at a price most agents could afford.  I also personally hired several full-time agents from the community who are writing several applications per day now.

There was a topic on optimizing for impact.  In other words, agents spend so much time on building a beautiful website or writing a great article, but not enough time on optimizing their website or content to get people to request quotes from you.  We talk about best practices to do this.

We also discuss why many agents are focusing on content marketing and SEO as a foundation for their business, but not SOLELY their whole business.

Learn how you can get access to these discussions, a powerful community of like-minded life insurance agents, and much much more by visiting the SellTermLife Community.

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