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Innovation and Client Experience

We define success by more than financial outcomes — we consider the quality of our relationships with our clients to be just as, if not more, important. Our high NPS score is due to State National’s culture, which is built around technological innovation and customer experience.

Innovation and Customer Experience

The Pillars of State National Culture

With 2020, a year like no other, finally behind us, I — like many of you — am excited about what 2021 has in store.

As an eternal optimist, I am expecting great things in the year ahead. However, I’m also a pragmatist, and I know that expecting is only half the task. Looking forward realistically requires reflection on what has come before.

Taking a good hard look at past performance is essential, whether you’re talking about personal success or a company’s success.

At State National, we define success by more than financial outcomes — we consider the quality of our relationships with our clients to be just as, if not more, important. Building lasting, solid relationships has been at the core of our business for almost 50 years.

That’s why it’s essential for us to reflect back on our partnerships each year to assess how successfully we accomplished that mission. We have several metrics we use to do this, and many are built directly into our business model, from our Annual Client Survey of Service Quality to our Net Promoter Score (NPS).

And although those scores have continued to rise year over year, we know that simply patting ourselves on the back and resting on our laurels won’t cut it. As long as there is ANY room for improvement, we want to find those opportunities and capitalize on them.

Drilling Down Into Marketplace Perceptions

To that end, in 2020, we wanted to take a deeper dive into understanding how we are perceived not only by our clients, but also in the greater collateral protection insurance (CPI) market. This goal led us to a partnership with the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, whose team surveyed a variety of stakeholders in the marketplace — not just our clients, but also those who currently use another provider.

Overall, the results reflected our prominence in the industry and largely validated what we already knew. It was great to see that lenders who are familiar with CPI recognize that State National’s commitment to innovation has led to us having the most advanced technology available — and by quite a large margin. We also ranked higher in the areas of service speed and borrower communication.

To be completely transparent, we are so proud of the superiority of our technology and the continual, substantial investments we’ve made when it comes to innovation that we’ve talked about it a lot! For years, our messaging has highlighted our technological advances and innovations in CPI delivery.

Many of our marketing efforts as a company have revolved around telling the story of how our AI robots, VeriTrak processing system, and other innovative solutions make our programs tops in terms of speed, accuracy, and ease of use. And while that is all true, it means we may have neglected to tell another story that is just as important, and frankly, just as impressive — our service story.

To learn more about how our bots work for you, watch the video.

More Benefits With Less Effort

Because our technology IS so seamless, our programs don’t require a lot of hand-holding. Our users have a dedicated Client Executive who is always available to provide whatever service and answers they need — but because the overwhelming majority of transactions go very smoothly, they don’t have to contact their CE very often outside of routine visits. In other words, it’s one thing to say that you were able to call up a service provider and they handled your problem for you, and it’s another thing to have things work like clockwork and never have had a problem in the first place.

We, internally, know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we provide better overall service than our competitors. It’s just a fact. We know it because we hear about it from clients who have transferred from other companies — including those who were with us, switched to another provider thinking “they all offer the same thing,” and then switched back after they quickly realized how untrue that really is.

We know that recorded calls immediately on demand in InsurTrak are not the same as having to make a specific request for a call record and then wait weeks to receive it. We know that offering our clients a turnkey text messaging program at no cost to them is not the same as giving them a 3rd party referral and a loan file and letting them handle it themselves. These are just two examples of how State National goes the extra step at every step.

We also know it because of our world-class Net Promoter Score of +86 that ranks us among companies known for their stellar service, like Amazon, Apple, and Tesla. And that score went up again for the fourth year in a row — during a pandemic!

True Sky & State National: Technology Partnership Enhances Member Experience WATCH THE VIDEO

Always Here for You, in Both Good Times and Difficult Times

Speaking of COVID-19, I am happy to say that our business partners gave their Client Executives an overall score of 4.9 out of 5 for how accessible and helpful they were in guiding their institutions through what was a difficult year by any standard. Our clients told us directly that our flexibility and expertise helped to provide them with a proven, stable, and reliable program in a time of uncertainty.

I know this may all sound like a lot of braggy self-promotion. But based on what we know to be true about actual service delivery, we deserve to be braggadocious! In the words of our boisterous and exuberant Executive VP of Sales, John Pearson, “I just don’t understand how we don’t have ALL the business!” In 2021 we are determined to shatter the myth that all CPI providers are the same, and will work to highlight our many distinct differentiators and exclusive benefits. When it comes to portfolio protection, State National is simply the best in the business.

That’s our commitment to ourselves, to our clients — and to our future clients. Thank you, and I wish all of you the best in 2021 and beyond.

Jeremy Clark
Jeremy Clark
Sr. Director, State National

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Bringing Partnership to Life

How State National’s Client Advisory Council Creates a Virtuous Circle At State National, client experience is the foundation of everything we do. We don’t see our client relationships as static; each one is dynamic and evolving as a living, breathing entity. And it’s vital that we prioritize and nurture our client partnerships as we do with the other foundational pillars of our company. One the most effective ways we do this is to collaborate with our clients. We talk to our clients, we ask them what they want, and we include them when crafting our business strategies. We have always considered actively getting feedback from our clients as an integral and critical part of our strategic planning. It’s why we conduct our Annual Survey of Service Quality as well as other surveys measuring other aspects of our service delivery. Our #1 goal is to help our business partners succeed, so finding out what they want and need, and how we can better provide it to them, is always top of mind. Taking the Quest for Feedback to the Next Level In 2018, we went a step further and created the State National Client Advisory Council (CAC) to convene a group of some of our top clients to discuss issues that are critically important to them and to us. It’s a forum to share information, gain consensus on key topics, and collaborate with peers and partners to creatively pursue problem-solving strategies and growth opportunities for their institutions As I said in my last CAC blog, our intention in establishing the State National CAC was, and still is, to listen carefully to the voices and concerns of our clients, foster an atmosphere where collaborative insights can emerge, and allow our strategy and product development to be guided by those who will actually be using it every day. Specifically Designed to Add Value — For All Yes, the CAC is of great benefit to State National, because it gives us opportunities to deepen relationships with some of our closest partners, and align our organization more precisely with our clients’ perspectives. We get to hear both what’s working well as well as challenges they’re facing, not only in our area of expertise, but in all areas of their institution. As we’ve been known to say a time or two, we’re successful when our clients are successful — so anything we can contribute to help them grow and succeed ultimately contributes to our own success as a company. But it’s definitely not all about us! Our council was created with a true desire to provide members with tangible, real-world benefits that not only make it more than worth their time but also add tremendous value they don’t get from any other partner. But don’t take it from us — here’s what some of our current CAC members have to say: “By having open conversations about what’s going on in the marketplace with other credit unions who are going through the same things, I’m able to learn how others are attacking certain problems and I’ve absolutely taken some things back to my credit union and implemented them.” ~ Mike Shockley, VP of Lending, True Sky Credit Union, Oklahoma City, OK “It’s great to talk about emerging technologies or other ideas we can bring back to our specific credit unions and share with our leadership team — ideas we might otherwise not have been exposed to. The volume of information at a very high level that someone can obtain by joining the CAC is wonderful." ~ John Cotner, VP of Commercial & Mortgage Lending, Horizon Credit Union, Boise, ID “When it comes to topics like innovation and technology and AI, I think I've learned more from the CAC than I have by going to conferences and things like that, because you can really have more intimate conversations with your peers at the council, and State National does a great job of bringing in great presenters that really position the topics well, so it's easily understood as we're reviewing certain new innovations.” ~ James Bolin, SVP & CMEO, Silver State Schools Credit Union, Las Vegas, NV “One of the benefits of being on the CAC is not only meeting some of the participants from different parts of the country and having discussions, but I have also been able to take away two specific strategic business initiatives that directly impact the credit union that came about through my participation on the CAC, including one that is a multi-year strategic initiative.” ~ Steve McIntire, SVP, Enterprise Risk & General Counsel, SELCO Community Credit Union, Eugene, OR State National is a great partner. I'm glad they asked me to join the CAC because it gives me an opportunity to keep that partnership active and very vibrant. And I enjoy the fact that I get to see what State National is doing and what’s on their horizon and how it’s going to benefit not only my credit union, but the credit union industry. So it’s been really awesome.” ~ Karen Hoeppner, Chief Lending Officer, My Credit Union, Minneapolis, MN A Real-World Example of CAC Value The council’s 3rd quarter 2021 meeting provides an illustration of the tangible benefits of this ongoing collaborative sharing of ideas and insights. The council met in August in Irvine, California, headquarters of Filene Research Institute. Filene is an integral thought leadership partner for State National, and that partnership further extends directly to our CAC members. The business portion of the event was held at Filene’s innovative West Coast outpost. Dr. Bill Maurer, professor at UC Irvine, Director at the Institute for Money, Technology, and Financial Inclusion, and research fellow at Filene’s Center of Excellence in Emerging Technology, conducted a working session called “The Pandemic as Practice for a Less-Predictable Future.” Group discussion led to shared best practices on how credit unions can automate communication regarding the notice cycle, which improves their member perception of CPI. Participants also explored other risk mitigation strategies credit union peers are using and how they are approaching risk mitigation overall in light of the uncertainty and turbulence caused by the pandemic and other economic shifts. Relevant, Actionable Insights Following Dr. Maurer’s presentation and discussion, CAC members and SNC directors formed working groups to discuss business challenges related to highly relevant credit union hot topics, including data governance, AI implementation, and digital automation, including mobile. After a lively conversation and sharing of experiences, each working group was tasked with conducting further collaborative research into their group’s subject area. With their curiosity sparked, CAC members made plans to dive in together to produce real-world insights they can share with other decision-makers in their credit union. The groups will also present their findings at the Q4 CAC meeting in November. Personal Connections When the day’s work was over, members joined State National representatives for an enjoyable and relaxing evening outing. After the mental stimulation provided by the day’s deep dive into important credit union topics, it was nice to move to a casual setting on the water and interact on a more personal level, while enjoying excellent conversation and lots of laughter. Then, the next day, it was time to head back to their credit union homes, bringing knowledge, insights, advice, and inspiration with them as they work on their findings and look for openings within their institutions to leverage what they’ve learned. Discover More Are you a curious credit union professional, always looking to grow and give back to your organization? Do you enjoy bouncing ideas off like-minded people in your industry and get a little thrill when you see these synergies expand what’s possible for you and for them? Are you a believer in true connection with those you work with and mutually beneficial partnerships with your service providers? Contact Heather Clyde, State National’s Client Advisory Council Program Manager, at HClyde@StateNational.com to explore the possibility of council membership. “The CAC has exceeded my expectations. On a fun note, the group is great. My colleagues on the CAC and the staff at State National are all very enjoyable and very professional. State National does a wonderful job of putting the events together. They’re well thought out, well organized. I think it’s a great two-way relationship, the CAC. I think we’re benefiting State National, and they are certainly benefiting us.” ~ John Cotner, Horizon CU   “State National has always considered our clients as more than just clients — we truly do see each and every one of these connections as an authentic partnership. Our goal for client relationships is always more than transactional; we’re always going for a win-win situation and strive to evolve all of these partnerships to serve the long-term strategic business goals for both parties. Our CAC is growing to be a vital component of State National’s overall corporate strategy, and it’s very gratifying to see that it is already helping to serve the long-term strategic interests of our CAC members and their credit unions.” ~ Heather Clyde, Client Advisory Council Program Manager