MADISON, Wis. (3/12/14)--A CUNA Mutual Group tablet application that helps credit union members plan for retirement security has won a Bank Insurance & Securities Association (BISA) Technology Innovation Award.
Financial advisers, including advisers from CUNA Mutual Group's broker-dealer, CUNA Brokerage Services Inc. (CBSI), use the ZONE tablet application to present investment options for CUNA Mutual Group's new registered index annuity, MEMBERS Zone Annuity.
The ZONE is one of nine BISA Technology Innovation Award recipients. The BISA Technology Innovation Award recognizes technology innovation in the financial services industry.
"Today's financial advisers are tasked with evaluating a broad range of customer financial needs and presenting a complex set of financial solutions in an environment that is an ever-changing mix of market volatility, regulatory scrutiny and product choice," said Bob Buckingham, CUNA Mutual Group annuity product vice president. "The products that are ultimately sold are intangible, and often difficult to understand."
The ZONE is designed to remove this anxiety by providing a simple and effective tool for the adviser to present investment options, Buckingham said.
Launched in August 2013, the ZONE presents CUNA Mutual Group's registered index annuity, MEMBERS Zone Annuity, in a web application optimized for the iPad. The ZONE allows advisers and customers to customize a zone of risk and reward aligned with their investment goals using the MEMBERS Zone Annuity product.
"The ZONE app immediately turns the intangible into a real set of financial choices by visually demonstrating growth potential and downside limits by showing how a client's personal comfort zone translates into an allocation between the annuity's two investment accounts," said Buckingham.
By leveraging game-like visuals and controls, the ZONE creates a participatory experience with a personal zone of risk and reward, which is then used to evaluate how the annuity might perform over time using hypothetical investment returns and market scenarios.
Since the ZONE app's launch, mobile application usage among licensed CUNA Mutual Group advisers increased more than 400% in the last quarter of 2013. Sales of the MEMBERS Zone Annuity reached $22 million in the first month after launch, and first year sales exceeding target by more than 300% for 2013, CUNA Mutual said.