This is part of our series on the biggest challenges carriers face when bringing new annuity products to market — and how to meet those challenges with ease. Read more in the series:

As soon as a carrier launches an annuity, data comes flooding in: information about consumer demographics, such as age and annual income; information about their goals; and information about their financial profile, such as their assets and risk tolerance. If carriers can harness their data, they can help ensure products are aligned with consumer needs and empower distributors on the placement and sales of those products. 

New carriers are at a disadvantage when it comes to data, in one sense. They simply have less of it. On the other hand, established carriers may have data operations that rely on legacy technology that’s difficult to use for analysis and insights. Rather than making a large investment in a digital and data transformation, newer carriers can make sure their data collection efforts are optimized from the start.  

Why Data Matters 

An effective use of data can allow a company to clear the “fog of war,” and see the battlefield clearly. Data can let you see new ways to maximize revenue potential or cut costs. Data can show you where there may be gaps and potential opportunities within client portfolios to prompt conversations. Data can help carriers project how a consumer’s needs may change over time. It can also be used to make a carrier’s operations more efficient. For example, Zinnia’s call center management product leverages data from consumer conversations and provides insights and tools for automation and cost reduction.  

For newer carriers, who can’t lean on the experience and historical datasets that established carriers can, it’s important to collect data around every conversation and transaction, including how a product is sold verbally. This can allow a carrier to quickly establish a foundation for building new products, and guide the creation of the right sales motion for those products.  

Overcoming Common Data Pitfalls After an Annuity Launch

When launching a new product, it’s crucial to think about data collection long before launch, determining how to capture every action that takes place along the value chain, and how to sort those signals so you can parse them. Collecting as much data as possible across the value chain will provide insight into how that product is performing and the traction it is getting at market. 

Even if a carrier doesn’t have the internal expertise to take advantage of the data right away, building the right foundation can save an organization from having to rebuild the plane while it’s already flying. One way a newer organization can make it easier to set up the best data structure is by standardizing its website experiences and sales processes as much as possible.  

Other important data considerations: 

  • Assessing the market fit for a product can be challenging. It is important to use data in product development to maximize the reach of a product once launched.  
  • Not collecting enough data is a common pitfall for new carriers. But correctly structuring data they do collect can be almost as important. The right structure allows analysts to understand and parse all the signals that come into an organization, and ultimately make decisions based on those signals.  
  • Finally, even if a carrier can’t onboard a huge data team from the start, it’s crucial to have the expertise to secure data from day one, especially considering how much sensitive information is required of annuity consumers. On a similar note, carriers need compliance and privacy experts to ensure any data collection meets the relevant regulations.  

How the Right Partner Can Unlock Data Insights 

While established carriers can lean on their historical data to paint a picture of consumer demographics and estimate demand for a product, a new carrier may need to rely on outside sources, like market research, as well as external technology and potentially external data from a partner, to establish a baseline and to plug any gaps. This can help a carrier learn how to position its product ahead of time. 

Carriers need to optimize data operations early and often. Gaps in data collection only become more problematic as time goes on, so identifying and filling them is key, even though the data may not yield meaningful insights until the sample gets bigger. Once it does, A/B testing and new tools like generative AI can unlock findings that can help optimize sales and other consumer interactions. Zinnia is building new technology products that use the latest in AI to help plug data gaps by capturing and logging more of these interactions and generating more insights, helping carriers launch products with more confidence from day one, while adhering to relevant regulations and continuously monitoring the regulatory environment. In addition, Zinnia’s Zahara system of record uses digital ledger technology to gather, store, and secure data. 


Starting up a data operation is a challenge for carriers looking to launch annuities, but also an opportunity — if they build the right foundation, it can spare the need for an expensive overhaul down the road, and lead to insights that can make the entire firm more efficient. Getting these decisions right early is crucial, and the right tech partner can help new entrants avoid costly pitfalls. 

About the Authors 

Daniel Gremmell is the chief data officer at Zinnia, where he oversees the implementation of data science to optimize the insurance experience at every touchpoint. Daniel led the data team at Policygenius for more than three years and previously served as vice president of data science at Plated, and head of data science at John Wiley and Sons before that. Daniel began his career in operational analytics at companies across the consumer goods, aerospace, healthcare and automotive industries, including Crane Aerospace and Volkswagen. He holds a master’s degree in statistics from Rochester Institute of Technology, a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering from Kettering University, and a bachelor’s degree in operations management from Rutgers. 

Myles Ma, CPFC is a senior reporter at Zinnia. Previously, he was an editor and reporter for, as well as a reporter for the Star-Ledger. As a journalist, his work has also appeared in USA Today, HuffPost, Salon, CBS News, Inc. Magazine, MarketWatch, Yahoo Finance, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. As a financial expert, his advice has been featured in The Washington Post, PBS, CNBC, and elsewhere.