Underwriting Is Changing, but It’s Here to Stay

The conversation around insurance underwriting, particularly in complex environments like commercial lines, has been active over the last few years. Underwriting teams are finding it necessary to adapt to a changing universe that requires faster, more accurate quoting. This requires using an ever-growing pool of data resources that are only getting more complex themselves, while also serving as the front line for agent and broker relations.

What’s really needed is technology that can take over some of the more computational tasks that underwriting teams have traditionally performed, so that an insurer’s highly skilled, experienced employees can focus on what will most positively affect the bottom line. Underwriting technology isn’t replacing underwriters; it’s giving them breathing room to provide maximum value to insurers.

When underwriting workbench software and underwriting functionality in policy administration software first appeared in the marketplace, there was an understandable concern that underwriters would be automated out of a job. “Robot underwriters,” “automated underwriting,” and similar terms were common at that time. However, as time marches on, it’s becoming quite clear that what’s needed for accurate, efficient underwriting is more complex than either human or machine. It’s a combination of both.

So how should machines help drive productivity in this ever-changing environment? In short, they should do whatever they can for their human counterparts! Technology can help underwriters not only by automating tasks but by making it easy for underwriters to access the people and data they need to assess complex risks. Guidewire Underwriting Management™ is a perfect example of purpose-built technology that makes the most of human–machine collaboration.

Let’s take a look at a few ways in which this happens.

Task Automation

By providing automation, Underwriting Management takes time-consuming tasks off the underwriting team’s collective plate, including:

  • Submission intake
  • Clearance and declination
  • Assignment based on “Letter of Authority”
  • Underwriting rules and checklists

One Interface for Productive, Efficient Underwriting

Underwriting Management offers an interface that can easily integrate with just about any data source and nearly all back-end systems (Guidewire as well as non-Guidewire). It also ensures that underwriters can access all the information they need without ever leaving “home”: the Underwriting Management user interface, which was purpose-built for complex underwriting. The interface includes robust collaboration tools that enable underwriters to work in real time not only with each other but also with external parties such as agents and brokers—all while maintaining records of communication within the submission file for later reference.

Configuration to Suit Each Insurer’s Processes

Finally, Underwriting Management Studio enables an insurer’s Business Analysts to configure the system to meet their organization’s unique needs, ensuring a smooth process with minimal extra steps or workarounds and no need to maintain paper records.

Separately, these features (automation, user interface, and configuration) might seem like “nice to haves” for any underwriting team. But together they provide a powerful foundation for efficient underwriting where computers and humans each do what they do best. As a result, everyone wins—including policyholders, agents, brokers, underwriting teams, and insurers.

Interested in more thoughts on the changing role of the underwriter? Check out my article on this topic in PropertyCasualty360!