(Image credit: Ehud Neuhaus/Unsplash.)
You’ve just visited the grocery store and it’s likely that you made a choice at the checkout. Did you scan and bag your items, or did you let a cashier scan and bag them for you? This may depend upon just how many groceries you purchased or how you feel about your store’s tech level.
Even now, though, it’s clear that there is a next step or two to be made in grocery store technology.
Where is the line where you simply feed your groceries onto a conveyor and they are automatically scanned and bagged? Where are the technologies that run and pick everything off of the shelves for you and deliver them to a waiting area, or to your home without a delivery driver? Home deliveries are becoming more automated. Uber Eats and Postmates are already using robot deliveries in test locations with high population densities.
Which raises the question, just how far can technology take any industry? In many cases, technology makes its case so profoundly that we might call it a no-brainer — like making deliveries from a restaurant with no driver, no fuel, no insurance, no parking issues, and no delivery tip. From an insurance perspective, Postmates and Uber Eats are also looking at reduced liability issues. Technology is now foundational to every business and here to stay. Executives merely need to ask themselves, “What technologies can take me to the next level of growth, profitability and customer excellence for my industry?”
Underwriting technology for commercial insurance is also a no-brainer. A no-brainer is that circumstance that has such a blatantly obvious solution that it’s almost not worth any discussion. When we look at all that today’s tech-enabled underwriting can accomplish and how it reallocates crucial resources to the brainy tasks, it makes its case. It is an “elegant” solution to so many commercial and specialty insurance challenges that it deserves an immediate look and quick implementation.
Built to compete on the outside and collaborate on the inside
In my last digital underwriting article, we looked at how underwriting, because of its location in the value chain, must be competitive. That is, it must improve an insurer’s ability to compete. This may have been a secondary underwriting objective, but in today’s commercial and specialty insurance environment, competing is now a priority for underwriting. Becoming competitive is a key part of insurer profitability.
Another profitability lever in underwriting is collaboration. The degree to which underwriting technology will enhance and facilitate real insightful collaboration is a measure of its value to the organization. It should take the right people and processes to ingest, analyze and assess vital information needed for underwriting decisions. Drawing upon joint research efforts between Majesco and Strategy Meets Action, let’s look at the real benefits of today’s optimal underwriting technology to see how it produces collaborative results.
The quest for insights, integration, and intuitive workflow
Insurers seek to gain deeper insights to enable underwriters to focus on complex risk assessment, portfolio management and agent/broker relationships. They need to improve the speed of the process, making it easier for brokers to do business with the company, and ultimately, they need to improve risk selection and profitability—not just for each policy and product, but across the whole spectrum of business and geography. They need to make complex concepts into insightful, simplified insights that leverage the underwriter expertise.
If we look at the ideal—digital underwriting—we can get a glimpse of where commercial and specialty insurance underwriting is headed and which technologies currently exist that will enable the ideal.
Digital thinking and platform vision
How can underwriting become a seamless hub of information, fed by the best data management and analytics practices available today? Which advancements make a real competitive difference—moving commercial and specialty insurers from capable to innovative? What does this environment look like?
Forming a next-gen framework to support digital underwriting requires thinking differently about the roles, processes, and technologies that enable digital transformation. The framework must support the workflow of relationship management, transaction processing, collaboration with brokers, and portfolio management of the entire book.
It must also support and enable the processes to leverage new data, new models, and new analytics to garner new and deeper insights for improved underwriting decisions and customer experiences. Next-generation underwriting needs to provide a digital underwriting platform with the three key attributes of digital thinking:
What does it mean for a solution to be intuitive? In underwriting, the user experience should be tailored and personalized. No underwriter is the same. The new underwriter has a completely different set of tasks compared with an underwriting veteran. As underwriters grow, their roles may change and shift. But a digital underwriting platform will tailor its own processes and workflow based on underwriter specifics to provide guided and balanced experiences.
Underwriting has always been and will always be, collaborative and mentoring. Today’s digital underwriting platform must include the capability to enable communication and collaboration between underwriters, brokers, and others who may be involved in the process.
The first steps of underwriting automation were those made to integrate requirements data into the scoring process and to facilitate the underwriting workflow. Today, this integration is vastly expanded to contain connections with everything possible — data, collaborative communications, and decisions. APIs need to connect with centralized data platforms to provide real-time synchronization with policy administration, rating engines, various tools and spreadsheets, analytic/predictive models, transformational technologies, and new data sources (structured and unstructured).
It is in the integration layers that everything gains its power. Workflow becomes easier to automate. Data becomes easier to access and understand. With advanced digital communication tools, information sharing becomes more fluid and automatic, both within the company and outside of its walls. There are so many valuable streams of data available today, but most are hindered by an inability to integrate the data into the current workflow.
Insights are made up of the “just-right” information presented in easily digestible views from multiple angles and layers. All relevant sources of data and analytics for the transaction, decisions, and portfolio management are vital and accessible. Dashboards, alerts, business intelligence, and advanced analytic tools are made available across any and all data points and through any lens: product, broker, underwriter, policyholder, market segment, region, etc.
Today’s digital underwriting provides the latest data and analytics for product/pricing/appetite and underwriting guidelines that are linked to intuitive and intelligent workflows and engines.
Tech capabilities that advance underwriting for commercial and specialty insurance products
The technology to support new digital attributes goes beyond the basic underwriting found in policy solutions. It is more advanced and comprehensive than even the underwriting workbench of the past that was focused on workflow and process. What is required is a digital underwriting platform that enables not only today’s workflow and process but elevates the underwriting process and decision-making as well.
This new evolution of underwriting is powered by next-generation underwriting solutions that leverage:
- a digital no code/low code platform
- AI and advanced predictive analytics
- new communication and collaboration tools
This can be accomplished through a next-gen underwriting workbench that runs standalone and integrates seamlessly with other systems and data for rapid implementation and flexibility for future enhancements and upgrades.
A Digital Underwriter360 view for P&C use case
Insurers have the opportunity to realize the benefits of a digital underwriting platform via Majesco’s Digital Underwriter360 for P&C. The solution is a cloud-native Software as a Service (SaaS), automated, next-gen, insight-driven underwriting platform for P&C commercial and specialty insurance, to enhance underwriting efficiency and profitability, powered by Majesco Digital1st® Platform.
Digital Underwriter360 addresses current pain points and gaps and enables the future vision
described above. In addition, the pre-integration with Majesco Policy for P&C and automating data pre-fills from the EcoExchange allow for faster implementation and reduced risk. The solution provides a 360˚ view, and the underwriter, broker, and customer all see the same information, which improves collaboration capabilities.
The broker and even the customer have full transparency, and the underwriter has views at all levels, from individual transactions to product/geographic views to the entire portfolio.
The data/analytics dimension of the platform is a differentiator, with real-time access to premium and loss data, including audits and all other transactions in the portfolio. Both structured and unstructured data sources are accessible, and both static and real-time data flows are analyzed with advanced AI/machine learning to provide intelligent insights.
Underwriting technology as a wise investment at this point in time
Most commercial and specialty insurers are adept at understanding their customers and niches. Now is the time to pay close attention to the pains that their business customers are encountering.
When the economy is posing headaches for companies large and small and many businesses are struggling to survive, areas of expense come under fire. It’s vitally important that insurers are seen as the protectors of business — with insurance as a high-value asset — as opposed to just a necessary expense that can be shopped around by like any capital expenditure. Commercial and specialty insurers need to remain competitive by providing the accuracy, value, and innovation that will keep company customers loyal. Commercial and specialty insurance underwriters need to transform underwriting into a center of support, engagement, and insights, ready to contribute to cost savings for their own company and all those whom they serve.
If you think about it, this makes the decision to modernize commercial and specialty underwriting with digital and advanced data technologies a no-brainer. Every front-end improvement contributes to the insurer’s bottom line. Every step forward makes commercial and specialty products more competitive and makes insurer solutions more collaborative. For organizations that consider themselves business partners, digitally-enhanced underwriting will build trust in the business relationship and protect both businesses and insurers from the unknown. Is your organization ready to take advantage of today’s next gen underwriting platform?
To hear the latest from Majesco and SMA on Underwriting and analytics, be sure to watch Majesco’s webinar, The Art and Science of Underwriting Powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.