Impact  |  Penn Mutual

Creating a Unique and Differentiated Position Within the Value Chain

Creating a Unique Position Within the Value Chain

Maddock Douglas partnered with Penn Mutual to support their CEO’s vision to solidify and expand upon the company’s commitment to distribution excellence, enabling their partners to leverage the best facets of both their independent and career channels and achieve results far exceeding what they could have accomplished by staying in their own lanes.


The Challenge

Enable Penn Mutual’s distribution partners to leverage the best aspects of both their independent and career channels in order to help them grow their business and increase life insurance sales revenue.

The Impact

With the implementation of several concepts developed in partnership with Maddock Douglas, Penn Mutual credits this vision and corresponding work streams with permanent culture change. The company has seen a marked reduction in channel conflict, improved succession planning outcomes, and significantly increased life insurance sales revenue. Within a five-year period from the time of our initial engagement, Penn Mutual went from #38 to #12 in the company rankings of new life insurance premiums written. In addition, with this growth-oriented focus, Penn Mutual went from #980 on the Fortune 1000 list in 2015 to #761 in 2018.

 Luisa Uriarte discussing the research strategy at the Ideation Session

Luisa Uriarte discussing the research strategy at the Ideation Session

The Story

Penn Mutual sought to challenge the traditional thinking of the insurance industry at the time, envisioning a radical new approach to distribution and enabling their distributors to move seamlessly between the career and independent channels, based on their individual needs and timing. They had begun to recognize that the supports and services distributors need at different phases of their career could vary, and that change should be viewed as a positive and be fostered, not penalized. Following a rigorous innovation process guided by our team at Maddock Douglas enabled Penn Mutual to validate and de-risk their vision.

 Lauren Schwartz facilitating a small breakout group focusing on consumer needs

Lauren Schwartz facilitating a small breakout group focusing on consumer needs

We collaborated with Penn Mutual through a multiphase process, first to define channel fluidity and then to propose educated hypotheses regarding the processes and outcomes of the new distribution approach. Our team considered relevant trends, segmented the production base and identified qualified players who could be future producers. Through our proprietary process, we uncovered unmet and unarticulated needs within the target segment. Leveraging these insights, we developed and tested concepts to seed a pipeline of new ideas for support mechanisms, compensation structures and training and succession planning.

 Discussing a potential idea to meet one of the identified consumer needs from research

Discussing a potential idea to meet one of the identified consumer needs from research

Penn Mutual immediately advanced and adopted several of the ideas developed through this process while other, more revolutionary concepts were examined and tested further, informing new compensation structures. The execution of these models spurred the overall cultural adaptation to change, which distributors found refreshing and a key differentiator in the industry.

Maddock Douglas’s process was instrumental in helping Penn Mutual have confidence in the new direction of the company, resulting in substantial growth in revenue, and also creating a more vibrant dynamic across channels, setting the stage for even bolder growth goals for the future.
— Eileen McDonnell, CEO of Penn Mutual