In the intense battle for "shelf space," one of the insurance industry's most powerful weapons is producer compensation.CUNA Mutual Group knew this back in early 2001 when it began to reinvent its approach to field compensation. "Compensation never drives company strategy; it supports it," says Jim Lazarz, vice president of field compensation at the Madison, Wis.-based financial services provider to credit unions. "When the company decides on a strategic direction, we want to design our compensation plans to support that direction-and we need to be ready to administer those plans quickly and efficiently."

A key component to the reinvention of CUNA Mutual's field compensation program was new technology. "Our old legacy system was not flexible enough to 'tee-up' new compensation plans," Lazarz says. "We wanted to go to an Internet-based, browser-based system to deliver reports to our reps and credit unions, and we wanted to reduce unit costs."

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