P/C Carrier Guide: How to Increase Underwriting Capacity with Automated Submission Intake

Artificial Intelligence - January 26 2021

As we head into 2021, and the second year of the pandemic, optimizing underwriting capacity and efficiency continues to be a priority for commercial lines insurance carriers. While most are optimistic that the business environment will be better this year than last, the positive outlook is tempered by the realization that significant challenges and uncertainties lie ahead for the industry.

In a recent report titled Commercial Insurance Market Is Hardening, Fitch Ratings predicts that commercial insurers will be hit hard by pandemic-related losses through the first half of 2021. The report states that they expect continued rate hardening in the commercial insurance market with double-digit price increases already reported for a variety of lines of business.

Given the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and a hardening environment, it’s no surprise that P/C carriers are focused on finding operational efficiencies and cost savings that support their time to revenue and growth goals. According to Celent[i], 67 percent of large insurers indicated that cost reduction and process improvement had become more important in light of COVID-19.

With the mass migration to remote work, insurance companies no longer have the luxury of continuing to rely on manual, paper-based underwriting processes. “Process becomes more important when you're operating remotely,” says Eric Joost, former Global Head of Property & Casualty Insurance, Willis Towers Watson, because people working around each other “tend to mask the imperfections in the process.”

Automating Submission Intake

Progressive P/C insurers recognize that if they want to have the greatest impact on their business, they need to concentrate on automating and standardizing core underwriting processes and relieving the burden of manual processes on underwriters and their teams. One area that has come under intense scrutiny is the submission intake, clearance and registration process.

Today, commercial lines insurance carriers are heavily reliant on human knowledge workers to manually read through submissions that come in from brokers to extract and analyze the data points needed to determine if it’s the right business to underwrite. It’s a messy, time-consuming, and labour-intensive process that takes days or even weeks.

“One of the key problems in the industry is ‘intake’ of data from business partners. When brokers send data to carriers or when carriers send data to reinsurers, they send data in a variety of formats in the form of excel or pdf files. A large number of people are required to map this data and process it manually.”

Unde, Amit. “5 use cases for AI in insurance.” Digital Insurance, March 5, 2019

Manually sifting through mountains of submissions to identify the business you want to write is a slow and tedious process that erodes underwriting productivity and drags down response times. With the emergence of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP), commercial lines insurance carriers have new capabilities to automate the submission intake process for both new and renewal business.

By using artificial intelligence, you can complete a significant portion of the commercial lines submission intake, clearance and registration process before a submission ever reaches a human underwriter. Applying intelligent automation to the submission intake process empowers carriers to increase their underwriting capacity, accelerate quote to bind, reduce underwriting leakage, and build a more profitable book of business.

AI isn’t magic but it is undeniably powerful. By eliminating mind-numbing administrative tasks like reading through mountains of submissions, rekeying and manipulating data, and manually applying business rules to submissions, AI digitally enables skilled staff and underwriters to focus on strategic initiatives like writing new business, advising brokers and customers, and developing profitable relationships.

The Need for Speed

According to industry averages, 56% of the time, the first responder to a broker submission wins the business. Yet the lack of automation today means that many carriers can only respond to less than half the submissions they receive. For business the carrier doesn’t want to write, it’s not uncommon for distribution partners to receive no response at all. The result is a status quo that falls far short of broker and policyholder expectations for a fast and responsive digital experience.

In a hardening insurance market, the stakes are high. With premiums on the rise across many commercial lines, and carriers adjusting their risk appetite, tightening underwriting rules, and limiting coverage, brokers are shopping around more to find the best coverage and pricing for their customers. This means even more submissions coming in – and a higher of proportion of those submissions will be for business you don’t want to write.

More selective underwriting also means that carriers are requesting more information upfront at the time of submission, which increases the volume of data that must be reviewed, processed, and rekeyed by hand. It’s a perfect storm that not only overwhelms your inbox and submission queue, but also your skilled knowledge workers and underwriting team.

Simply put: If you want to optimize your underwriting processes and write more business faster, start with the moment a broker submission lands in your queue.

Get Your Guide to Automated Submission Intake

In our new guide, we make the business case for AI-powered submission intake. We discuss how deploying automated workflows driven by AI can not only increase your underwriting capacity, operational efficiency, and quote-to-bind win ratios, but also give you the flexibility and resiliency to adapt quickly to challenging market conditions and rapidly evolving business needs.

We also take a look “under the hood” to show you how AI-powered submission intake works and dive into some of the core technologies that enable automated submission intake including machine learning and natural language processing. Learn how you can harness the power of AI to automate and standardize the data extraction and submission intake process including clearance, registration, auto-declination and submission assignment.

Download your complimentary copy of the carrier guide now!

Submission Intake Carrier Guide Cover

[i] “COVID-19: Impact on P&C Insurers’ IT Priorities, Budgets, and Plans (North America edition).” Celent Report, April 2020.

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