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Virgil R. Miller: Champion of Aflac's Customer Experience

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2018, Click to Enter The 2019 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service

Company: Aflac, Inc., Columbus, GA
Entry Submitted By: Hill+Knowlton Strategies
Company Description: For more than six decades, Aflac (NYSE: AFL) insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States, Aflac is the leader in voluntary insurance sales at the worksite. Through its trailblazing One Day PaySM initiative, Aflac U.S. can receive process, approve and disburse payment for eligible claims in one business day.
Nomination Category: Business Development Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Business Development Professional of the Year

Nomination Title: Virgil R. Miller: Champion of Aflac's Customer Experience and Operational Excellence

Tell the story about what this nominee achieved since the beginning of July 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

Virgil R. Miller is SVP, chief administrative officer for Aflac U.S., overseeing operations at headquarters in Columbus, Georgia, and Aflac Group in South Carolina. He has held several leadership positions and been instrumental in leading strategic corporate initiatives such as persistency, customer experience and operational excellence.

Under Miller’s leadership, Aflac was recognized by BenefitsPRO’s Readers Choice award as No. 1 Insurance Carrier Among Brokers in 7 of 8 categories, including easiest to work with, in November 2016. Additionally, in August 2016, Employee Benefit Advisor’s Top Choice for Benefits awarded Aflac as the No. 1 Go-To Supplemental Sales Partner and the Voluntary Insurance Company with which they most preferred to conduct business.

There are a number of business development initiatives that Miller led to improve customer experience based on customer feedback, including:

Enterprise Operations – Created enterprise operations where leaders oversee similar functions in multiple locations. This allows the organization to gain economies of scale, utilize leadership best practices for employee coaching and allows for greater consistency in the customer experience we provide.

Mobile Claims – Aflac launched a mobile claims app whereby customers now have the ability to file claims from their mobile device for easy submission. This will drive increased SmartClaim utilization, as well as promote sales growth strategies, as 95 percent of SmartClaim users are likely to recommend Aflac.

Successes from Agile Implementations – Implemented user enhancements based on customer feedback resulting in an increased overall experience score:

-Online Billing Platform – 66 percent of Aflac’s accounts utilize this platform to manage their invoice and submit payments. Recurring auto draft functionality was added as a billing option; customer feedback indicates accounts want Aflac to automatically draft payments as opposed to having to log in to the system to make a payment. Online Billing Platform ease score went from 79 percent to 80 percent year-over-year (YoY), and overall Billing ease score improved 5 percentage points YoY.

Claims Automation – Launched claims automation straight-through process for physician’s visit benefits. This reduced expenses, increased SmartClaim utilization and improved service levels.
-Customer Survey results for Claimant Satisfaction continue to increase, rising by 5 percentage points from 2014 to 2017 (83 percent to 88 percent). In addition, our claimant EASE score, which rates how easy it is to do business with Aflac, is increasing and has risen by 5 percentage points.
-The claims operation has a continued focus on paying SmartClaims in one day. The team has been successful in meeting this goal and commitment for (1,015 consecutive days).

Enterprise Proposal System – Enables customized proposals in minutes with direct underwriting support on a user-friendly web platform. Several incremental enhancements have occurred based on customer feedback, including adding new state products into the system and quick quote functionality so sales associates would not have to go through the entire quote process.
-This functionality has reduced the need for the broker channel to reach out to the service teams for a status, allowing Sales to spend time on other more important sales activities.

Group Model Office – Identified a market trend based on changes within the broker channel. Brokers desire to offer total benefits solutions to their clients, a full spectrum of service, including an enrollment platform, consolidated bill generation and ongoing administration. Aflac Group’s Model Office was implemented in 2017 as an innovative delivery model designed to provide administrative ease to customers through partnerships with brokers and enrollment technology firms.

As a result of these initiatives, the Individual Account Retention Rate is 88.9 percent, up 1.2 percentage points YoY. The Group Account Retention Rate is 88.5 percent, up 0.7 percentage points YoY. Also, other efforts have also seen increases such as: overall ease, +7 points; overall satisfaction, +8 points; and likely to recommend, +7 points.

Aflac Group Sales and Profitability are tracking to the year-end targets for the second consecutive year, while account defections are decreasing.