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Courage to Implement Change: Underwriters Prepare for the Future – a Webinar Recap

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Published on: June 1st 2023
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Send recently sponsored a webinar with Intelligent Insurer to address the courage underwriters must take as the industry, and profession, undergo a massive change from AI, legacy underwriter retirements and an extensive of submissions.

The panel of experts addressed the challenges faced by underwriters in the constantly evolving market and explored strategies to overcome these hurdles, improve speed and accuracy, increase profitability, and future-proof underwriting.

Send’s own Chief Revenue Officer Adam Cherubini was joined by industry leaders Tony Fenton from Nationwide, Jojo Dutta Roy from EY, Jonathan Charak from Zurich, and moderator Saranyaa Mohan from Aruvi Consulting. Their expertise provided valuable insights into the challenges faced by underwriters and the strategies needed to thrive in the evolving landscape of underwriting.

Handling the Challenges of Commercial Underwriting

Here are some of the key topics the group agreed upon:

  • Underwriters spend significant time on non-core activities, such as sorting through a large volume of information, rather than focusing on risk evaluation.
  • Leading companies are using technology as an aid to underwriting and investing in efficient tools to maintain the fundamentals of underwriting.
  • The technology landscape has become convoluted, and underwriters need a single place with all the information and insights to leverage.
  • The combination of personalized customer service and the speed and accuracy of technology is crucial to meet customer expectations.
  • The talent crisis and aging population in underwriting necessitate technology adoption to empower younger underwriters and facilitate skill development.

“Underwriters have a tsunami of information in front of them, and are spending more time doing non-core activity. And not evaluating risk. Using technology as an aid to enhance the underwriting function. Human Underwriting will remain incredibility important. In order to be successful, they (carriers) need to invest in technology.” – Adam Cherubini

Clarity in the Underwriting Process

The panel discussed the need for clarity in the massive amount of data present in the current underwriting day-to-day.

Some of the solutions they suggested include:

  • Creating an ecosystem that provides underwriters with a multi-dimensional view of risk and data improves clarity and speeds up the underwriting process.
  • Focusing on the integration of data and risk insights enabling better evaluation of efficiency, such as the quote/bind ratio.
  • Digital transformation and process mapping helping to streamline operations, reduce touchpoints, and optimize underwriting roles.
  • Engaging underwriters from the start and involving naysayers in the transformation process to foster buy-in and digital adoption.
  • Incremental improvement initiatives in shorter time frames which maintain momentum and drive successful digital change.
  • Effective decision-making requiring the right dashboards and automation of the submission process while maintaining strong broker relationships.
  • Clear appetite understanding and data integration facilitating informed underwriting decisions and pipeline management.
  • Investing in data sources and a sound data strategy enables organizations to identify trends faster and gain a competitive advantage.
  • Sorting through a volume of information: Underwriters often face the daunting task of sifting through a large amount of data, which consumes valuable time that could be spent on core activities like risk evaluation.
  • Getting back to partners in a timely fashion so brokers know they can count on them.

“The sheer volume of data is different from 20+ years ago. Think about the data and parts and pieces to be successful. Taking the tools and connecting them all the way through the value chain, in adding to underwriting to make the underwriter successful. Pricing tools, analytical tools. Underwaters crave that. – Tony Fenton

“Can underwriters action on 100% of submissions? Not being able to get back (to brokers quickly) on submissions is losing insurers busienss. The number of carriers who have not digitized that front end, the work falls on underwriting assistants wondering how to get unstructured data into an unstructured way.” – Adam Cherubini

Addressing the Underwriting Talent Crisis

All panelists agreed there is a need to find new talent to consider roles in insurance, especially as underwriters.

  • Skills gap and talent shortage: The aging workforce and retirements in the underwriting industry have resulted in a significant skills gap. Younger underwriters need time and resources to develop their skills, but they often get caught up in administrative tasks instead.
  • Leveraging technology is crucial for attracting young, talented individuals to underwriting and addressing the talent crisis.
  • Non-core activities and administrative tasks: Underwriters find themselves burdened with non-core activities, such as administrative tasks and data entry, leaving them with less time to focus on critical decision-making and building relationships with brokers.
  • Complex technology landscape: The abundance of tools and systems available to underwriters can create confusion and hinder their ability to leverage insights effectively. There is a need for a unified platform that consolidates information and streamlines the underwriting process.

All this tech is powering the underwriter. Customers expect fast services, while traditional tech may not allow them to provide this seamless customer experience.

Aging population and retirements are happening. We need to make sure junior underwriterss are not focused on mundane tasks. We, as an industry, need to empower them with technology to take the lead.” – Jonathan Charak

Underwriting is the lifeblood of the insurance industry. We need to get young, talented people into underwriting while marrying the underwriting function with the technology that is being built. It’s paramount to pair the human underwriter with leading tech. What you get is better business and happy employees. – Adam Cherubini

Final Thoughts

The webinar emphasized the importance of embracing technology, streamlining processes, and leveraging data insights to enhance underwriting decision-making and navigate the evolving market successfully.

Overall, the group agreed that technology will enable underwriting while there are new risks occurring every day, especially cybersecurity risks. Each of the panelists agreed the future is bright for the bionic (a topic we know quite well) underwriter, and for those who see AI and technology being an aid to give them the courage to change the profession.

You can view the full conversation here.

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