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Accelerated Underwriting: 5 Ways Insurance Leaders Can Speed Process

Speeding up the flow of the underwriting process is a top goal for insurers. Get advice on how to make the most of accelerated underwriting tools and strategies that reduce time to quote.

Underwriting is a critical component of the insurance lifecycle; It helps insurers assess risk and determine the appropriate pricing of insurance policies. As insurers face an increasing number of economic disruptions, natural disasters, and challenges from digital-native insurance companies, the pressure is on to accelerate the underwriting process.

The good news is that the automation movement has picked up momentum, with many insurers now using tools for automated underwriting to make decisions and deliver quotes more quickly and efficiently. That’s critical, as speed to quote represents a key competitive differentiator.

How do the fastest insurance organizations accelerate the flow of the underwriting process and reduce time to quote? Let’s examine the key ingredients in a successful playbook.

[ Want to learn more about how to optimize underwriting workflows? Get the whitepaper: Unlock the Power of Connected Underwriting. ]


Accelerated underwriting: automation vs. traditional approaches.

Why is accelerated underwriting moving to the top of the modern insurer's priority list? Consider the differences between automated and traditional underwriting in commercial insurance.

Traditional underwriting advantages:

  • Provides a human touch and personal interaction with clients.
  • Allows for detailed and nuanced risk assessments in more complex business lines or highly specialized industries.
  • Gives greater transparency into how decisions are being made.

Traditional underwriting disadvantages:

  • Processes are manual and include data entry from standard and non-standard forms, tracking down data in disparate systems, contacting customers for additional information, and manually calculating risk and pricing.
  • Time-consuming and resource-intensive.
  • Prone to human error and bias.
  • Limited by the availability of underwriters and their expertise.

Automated underwriting tools use advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), intelligent document processing (IDP), and machine learning, to automate some of the manual processes involved in traditional underwriting. The magic of automated underwriting tools is that they can quickly analyze vast amounts of data and make decisions in real-time, delivering quotes to clients much faster.

Automated underwriting advantages:

  • More efficient and faster than traditional underwriting.
  • Reduced risk of human error and improved data quality (e.g., rekeying in data).
  • Improved risk assessment and pricing.
  • Ability to handle large volumes of data and quickly make decisions in real-time.
  • Better customer experiences due to faster time-to-quote.
  • Allows underwriters to focus on more high-value tasks.

Automated underwriting disadvantages:

  • Potential for reduced personal interaction with clients.
  • May require a significant upfront investment in technology and training.
  • Human intervention may still be required in complex lines or highly specialized industries.

Automation may not fit every workflow, but with the rapid evolution of risk, insurers are focused on automating critical parts of the underwriting process. It’s true that automating specific tasks can help insurers streamline operations, boost efficiency, and improve customer satisfaction, but ultimately the decision to automate will hinge on several factors, including the type of insurance involved, the complexity of the application, and customer expectations.

Underwriting process flow: 5 ways to reduce time to quote.

To compete and win in the modern insurance arena, insurers need to adopt a business-focused playbook that integrates and coordinates multiple technologies, streamlines complex processes, cuts costs, and meets customer expectations when it comes to:

  • Application review: Reviewing the client's application and identifying any potential risks.
  • Data gathering: Collecting and verifying information about the client, including financial records, claims history, and other relevant data.
  • Risk assessment: Assessing the risk associated with the client, including the likelihood of a claim being made and the potential cost of that claim.
  • Pricing: Calculating the cost of the insurance policy, taking into account the assessed risk and any discounts or additional charges.

It goes beyond simply comparing one tool to another to find the right blend of technologies that work together to minimize risk, reduce costs, and deliver insurance products that stand out. What do successful strategies have in common? Here are five areas to focus on as your organization works to improve process flow and speed time to quote:

  1. Data ingestion: Real-time processing and automatic extraction of structured and unstructured data from multiple sources in a single data fabric.
  2. Clearance: Faster data duplication and coverage checks; speedier application processing; record tracking; and coverage checks.
  3. Triage: Customized queues for new and existing customers, expedited exception handling, automated customer emails, follow-ups, and more.
  4. Data enrichment: Open integrations and APIs with existing claims and policy admin systems, easy integration with third-party data sources, and quick quote and bind capabilities.
  5. Collaboration: Better cross-functional collaboration between underwriters, actuaries, and other stakeholders for a seamless underwriting process.

Clients expect quick quotes and seamless digital experiences, and by automating core elements of the underwriting process, integrating data, and simplifying procedures, insurers can speed up the quote process and enhance the overall underwriting experience.

[ How did commercial insurer CNA improve underwriting processes and realize a 60% time savings? Get the case study. ]