Great Doing Business With You... Whoever You Are

When I think of new, modern policy systems, or even modern systems in general, I think of an environment where much of the recurring tasks are increasingly automated - from validation to basic responses. Inevitably, this leads to an image of a whirring box where information goes in and decisions come out. Efficient and consistent, but 'faceless'. When it comes to underwriting, this seems to challenge the foundation of the model - underwriters are at the center of the universe, not machines, right? And what about the agents? Are they expected to build a relationship with a software program?

There are implications to the increased automation and accessibility of underwriting and policy management. Though it certainly varies across lines of business, it would appear that the underwriting role is becoming ever-more focused on portfolio management and the assessment of the risk across a book, rather than individual policies. While the role of the underwriter is broadening, so is the role of the agent. With self-service options opening up the processes of insurers, within the constraints of automated rules, the opportunity exists to extend more latitude to agents to book and manage policies. This empowers the agent to serve their customer more efficiently and creates an environment of control and consistency for their interactions with the insurer. However, this also places a conflicting strain on the agent-underwriter relationship – it requires a good deal of trust between the parties, while at the same time creates an environment where the connection becomes increasingly ‘anonymous'. The desired outcome of the decreased burden for both, however, should create a setting where more time is spent on meaningful conversations and interactions leading to a stronger bond and greater affinity.

A great deal of potential awaits the underwriters who are able to leverage increased automation to raise their focus from low-value processing to high-value risk analysis and collaboration. As a result, the underwriter of the future is becoming increasingly more strategic – managing their relationships and portfolio as much as individual risks. The modern underwriting and policy management systems available today not only provide this opportunity, but open the door for underwriting evolution and innovation. The role may be changing, but the value of an underwriter has never been higher.

But don't forget to stop by the server room every once and a while to say 'thanks'....