Attempting to recover from months of scandal over insurance agents’ credentials, HR service Zenefits today announced a cloud-based application it said will ensure that only licensed agents can sell insurance.
The $4.5-billion San Francisco startup built its new app on the Salesforce App Cloud, and has been using the app internally since February to make sure its more than 250 insurance brokers and advisors comply with licensing regulations, the companies said in a release. Zenefits plans to make the app available this fall at no charge to insurance brokerages nationwide.
BuzzFeed News in February reported that Zenefits had helped insurance brokers fake their requisite online training. That report followed a late 2015 post exposing Zenefits’ failure to enforce legal requirements that anyone selling a health-insurance policy have an appropriate state license. Founding CEO Parker Conrad was forced to resign in February, and about 12 percent of the staff quit or were laid off. David Sacks, the former Yammer CEO and Microsoft executive, now leads the company.
Licenses are required for each type of insurance in each state, and the types of license required can vary from state to state, Zenefits said. The company deals with more than 10,000 licenses and processes thousands of verifications each month, because each broker can be licensed in multiple states. Each license has its own renewal deadline, which can make tracking and managing renewals difficult.
The new app automatically verifies brokers’ or advisors’ licensing status and prevents their assignment to an account if they lack a valid insurance license from the correct state. It receives a feed from the National Insurance Producer Registry producer database, a regularly updated national source of licensing information. It prompts licensees and their supervisors when renewals are coming due, and if a license isn’t renewed in time, it prevents the broker from closing transactions.
The app is “a smart solution, especially for a large organization with many licensed agents,” said Michael Lujan, president of the California Association of Health Underwriters, in the release.