Say goodbye to scattergun submissions: A win-win for insurers and their customers

By Adrian Brown, former COO at the Ardonagh Group, former CEO at RSA

Insurers must use the opportunity of a hard market to make business more productive, according to Adrian Brown 

All insurance companies love a hard market, with rising prices driving an increase in customers and brokers shopping around.

But with a hardening market, comes operational challenges that highlight inefficiencies already inherent in the existing underwriting process.  

For example, are all submissions of equal value? Certainly not. Some are more likely to convert, and some will be in your underwriting sweet spot. But those submissions aren’t prioritised today when they arrive in the office. 

When work volumes are at a normal level, that’s still an inefficient process. But if volumes go up, as more customers and brokers shop around, the issue becomes much more pronounced. If you aren’t careful, good business opportunities can go missing as they end up in an unprioritised queue.

What’s more, your good brokers, who know your appetite and give you a fair crack at each new business lead they get, become disadvantaged. That’s because you’re hit by random submissions from a variety of sources, all searching for a cheap price in a hard market.  

What’s certain is that an unprioritised queue of submissions will kill good business opportunities.

So, what do you need to do to ensure you’re not missing out? 

The power of prioritisation 

There are several ways insurers can make sure they stay competitive in this market. 

Firstly, how many insurance companies are crystal clear on their appetite, communicate that well to their brokers, and then weed out any out-of-appetite submissions without needing humans to waste time reviewing? Brokers often prefer a ‘quick no’ to a ‘slow yes’, so it’s important to make sure out-of-appetites are referred back immediately.  

Then in deeming a submission out-of-appetite, are you using all the vast external data out there that can help refine the appetite ongoing? How many insurers actually run ‘test and learn’ control groups to ensure their appetite is based on fact, not feeling?  How many know the size of the opportunity they’re missing with their appetite and can identify quickly what small changes to appetite rules would do to quote rates? 

Using external data to monitor and adjust the appetite gives real-time control over the book and enables insurers to capture market opportunities quickly and effectively.

Finally, insurers need to make sure that their in-appetite submissions are directed to the underwriter most likely to win that business. But how many today have the right controls to make sure that happens and that brokers are spoken to in the optimum time scale and by the right underwriter?

Brokers have always been clear about what they want – make it easy and do it quickly. But today, insurers are missing out on the opportunity to use data and technology to make the quote process fast, responsive, accurate and productive.

Saying goodbye to scattergun submissions

What’s clear is that there are tools and techniques out there to make a scattergun approach to quoting submissions a thing of the past. And embracing what’s available really is a win-win for insurers and their customers. 

Out-of-appetite quotes can be quickly rejected without human intervention – allowing the broker plenty of time to find alternatives and the insurer to deal only with quotes they really want to win.  

Those quotes can also be automatically enriched with data to save underwriters time and enhance the profile of the risk. This enrichment ensures that in a busy and hard market, risk quality isn’t compromised for speed.  

In this scenario, controls are put in place to make sure that the insurer is giving itself the best chance to win. Quotes are directed to the right people, and dealt with in a timely manner. Then all of this can be put into a learning cycle, so that insurers can automatically learn from successes, can further improve conversion, and understand exactly what opportunities an expanded appetite would bring at a granular level.

Hard markets can hide inefficiencies, and that’s a concern. 

Don’t wait for a soft market to get exposed. Use this opportunity to make your business more productive and seize the opportunity that data and technology can bring today.  

To learn more about how to effectively augment and filter incoming submissions before they are prioritised, you can read our previous post here