In 2008, Accenture revealed the outcomes of the primary P&C Underwriting Survey in partnership with The Institutes. Because the longest-running longitudinal underwriting survey within the insurance coverage business, this report reveals a holistic image of the place underwriting has been—and the place we’re going. Specifically, it exhibits us the connection between the targets leaders set over the past decade and what the tangible progress has resulted from these initiatives.
One of many key insights I gleaned from the 2021 P&C Underwriting Survey is that not a lot has improved for underwriters over the past 15 years. Regardless of leaps ahead in know-how, underwriters nonetheless face the identical challenges they did in 2008 and, in some areas, the state of underwriting as a core operate of the insurance coverage enterprise has worsened.
In my earlier posts, I mentioned the shift to automation, the consequences of know-how within the underwriting course of, and the diminishing concentrate on the work underwriters do. On this publish, I need to spotlight the significance of the underwriting skillset and discover a distinct method to marrying know-how to that ability set which can make underwriters’ jobs simpler and simpler.
Again in 2008, our survey revealed that greater than 40% of underwriters’ time was spent on non-core duties. Underwriters had been struggling to maneuver on from legacy programs and undertake new options. Quick ahead to 2021 and the newest survey exhibits that solely 35% of underwriters really feel that know-how has decreased their workload. In 2008, that quantity was practically equal, at 36%.
In each 2008 and 2021, a scarcity of information integration was cited as a problem that accompanied new know-how, with 72% of respondents in each years reporting the difficulty. In 2021, 79% of respondents reported that lack of course of integration was the largest motive know-how negatively impacted their workload.
This knowledge made me replicate on the day-to-day obligations of the underwriter and take into consideration why know-how hasn’t made the act of underwriting any simpler. Immediately’s responses present that there’s much less worth positioned on underwriters themselves. There’s empirical proof for this together with knowledge exhibiting that survey respondents largely see underwriting recruitment, coaching and retention packages of their organizations as poor.
Moreover, concentrate on core underwriting controls and self-discipline is down: simply 30% of an underwriter’s time is spent doing danger evaluation and producing quotes. Threat evaluation is the core competency of an underwriter. Their job is to assessment knowledge throughout completely different sources and synthesize it to make an correct (and worthwhile) determination. With this lens, I see the underwriter as the unique knowledge scientist.
The status and worth positioned on the underwriting career has taken a dive over the past 15 years, which has left underwriters caught with the identical issues they confronted over a decade in the past. Insurers have prioritized minimizing bills and “demystifying” underwriting by automating the method or reducing the underwriter’s function in danger evaluation.
We’ve finished this by offloading work from the underwriters, offered new danger and pricing fashions to assist determination making and tried to leverage automation to make underwriting simpler. None of those initiatives are detrimental in and of themselves. All of them work effectively for assessing easier, homogenous dangers whereas driving down price and enhancing pricing consistency. However they miss the elemental problem of extra advanced underwriting.
The true problem is that underwriting remains to be a paper-first course of with vital knowledge siloed in PDFs and spreadsheets hooked up to emails from brokers. To evaluate danger, underwriters nonetheless have to maneuver between completely different paperwork, on the lookout for knowledge that’s formatted in numerous methods relying on the dealer it’s coming from.
Although we’ve tried to make the processes round underwriting simpler, there hasn’t been a concentrate on enhancing the info science facet of underwriting. This requires knowledge to be extra accessible. We have to implement options that assist underwriters extract, handle and assess all their knowledge in a single place in a approach that additionally supplies related context and deeper insights.
Many organizations have made important strikes to develop into data-driven over the past 15 years. Insurance coverage has at all times been pushed by knowledge, but it surely’s time to rethink how knowledge aggregation and evaluation are optimized in underwriting processes. If insurers need to see larger effectivity and improved consistency and high quality in danger and pricing selections, our focus can’t stay on offloading work from the underwriter. We have to assist underwriters do what they’re greatest at analyzing info, uncovering patterns and making selections primarily based on a holistic view of an applicant.
To do that, we have to take into account third-generation underwriting platforms like these I mentioned in my earlier publish. It actually comes down to 5 easy priorities:
- Spend money on options that pull all the info underwriters want out of their silos, bringing info from PDF and spreadsheet attachments into one place, finally eliminating that mode of communication altogether.
- Manage info, data and knowledge across the essential underwriting determination steps of triage, danger analysis and pricing.
- Current info in context. For instance, allow underwriters to have a look at new submissions in comparison with related submissions to assist them perceive how the submission or renewal differs.
- Combine this data-driven, analytics-first method into present workflows to make the expertise seamless.
- Arrange the standard controls, measures and suggestions mechanisms to enhance the standard and consistency of underwriting throughout the new course of.
Fortunately, we’re already seeing insurers taking steps in the direction of enchancment on this space. The 2021 survey exhibits that 67% of insurers will prioritize investments in underwriting platforms over the subsequent three years. Seventy-one p.c wish to add predictive analytics to their tech stack whereas 66% plan to put money into buyer and dealer portals, one other strategy to streamline knowledge aggregation.
If you wish to know extra about how we’re serving to firms handle these 5 concepts, let me know.
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Disclaimer: This content material is offered for common info functions and isn’t meant for use instead of session with our skilled advisors.