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Insurance Customer Experience: 7 Best Practices for Underwriting Success

Get strategies to solve underwriting challenges to improve the insurance customer experience. Here’s how leaders can improve the insurance customer journey and increase straight-through processing with the help of automation.

With insurance customers demanding faster and more convenient interactions, it's more important than ever for insurers to adopt best practices in underwriting. By automating key processes, integrating data, utilizing predictive analytics, and streamlining procedures, insurers can not only speed up the quote process but also improve the overall underwriting experience for customers. That’s why the trend toward automated underwriting and the demand for connected underwriting tools continues to grow.

What do companies that deliver a superior insurance customer experience do differently? Let’s examine the top challenges, best practices, and the special role of straight-through processing (STP).

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Today’s underwriting challenges in customer experience in insurance.

Looking at the future of insurance through the lens of customer experience, companies that do a better job of delivering a frustration-free customer experience in a profitable way—despite economic headwinds—will win out over insurers that don’t. Here’s a quick look at the key challenges insurers must overcome to survive and thrive.

Disconnected data.

Many insurance companies still grapple with disconnected data and cumbersome processes, making it difficult to provide a seamless and efficient customer experience. This might look like toggling between numerous legacy systems and wrangling data from umpteen different sources to provide customers with a quote.

Lack of personalization.

Clients today demand personalized experiences, and many insurance companies are struggling to keep up with this expectation. Providing a personalized experience means tailoring insurance products and pricing to meet the specific needs and requirements of individual clients.


Complex platform interfaces, disparate data sources, multiple versions of spreadsheets, and working with data across multiple systems can all overwhelm already thin underwriting resources. These things also add friction to the analysis and pricing processes, making it harder for insurers’ to quickly evaluate risks and offer competitive pricing.

Limited transparency.

Automated underwriting makes it easier for policyholders to review the status of their application and submission at their convenience, delivering the kind of control and transparency that today’s digital consumers expect. Transparency is essential to winning policyholder trust and growing lifetime customer value. The best systems automatically keep policyholders posted at every stage of the underwriting process, from application to quote to onboarding, while prompting brokers and managers for action and instantly transmitting information to policyholders.

Resistance to change.

Resistance to change is a major challenge facing the insurance industry. Insurance companies are often slow to adopt new technologies and processes, which can make it difficult to keep up with rapidly evolving client expectations.

In retrospect, insurers have made substantial progress in overcoming some of the challenges of disconnected data and processes, a lack of personalization, operational complexity, limited access to data, and resistance to change—but the industry needs to keep the momentum going to survive and thrive in the decade ahead.

7 best practices to improve the insurance customer journey.

Industry experts argue that it’s time to reimagine the rules of underwriting as part of a technology and platform strategy that integrates the policyholder perspective into the entire customer journey.

And this approach has caught on across the industry—from life to property and casualty insurers. Improving the customer journey is crucial for all lines of insurance, because it can help build trust, increase customer satisfaction, and drive growth and profitability. So, let’s take a look at seven best practices for improving the customer journey in commercial insurance.

1. Get to know your customers.

The first step in improving the customer journey in insurance is to get to know your customers in greater depth. This includes understanding their needs, expectations, and pain points, as well as the channels they prefer to use when interacting with insurance companies. For example, 48% of customers prefer opening a new account on their computer, while 34% prefer using a mobile app, according to an Accenture survey of the insurance market. In a recent Publicis Sapient survey, 34% of policyholders cited the hassle of filling out forms and providing personal information among their biggest pain points, while 15% reported switching insurers for a better digital experience.

2. Streamline processes.

Streamlining processes includes simplifying the application and underwriting processes as well as reducing wait times for policy issuance. By streamlining underwriting processes, insurance companies can provide a more efficient and convenient customer experience.

3. Use technology in holistic ways.

Technology plays an increasingly important role in the commercial insurance industry to improve the customer journey. For example, leading insurers are betting on data fabric, a unified data management approach, to solve their data silo problems. Data fabric can help insurance teams access and analyze data from numerous, disparate sources, ranging from policy administration to billing to CRM systems. Insurers are also modernizing legacy operations with the help of platforms for process automation that can digitize and automate manual underwriting processes. Finally, market leaders are finding their sweet spot with AI, machine learning, and other technologies to stay on top of growing expectations for personalized, convenient, data-driven solutions.

4. Personalize the experience.

Personalizing the customer experience is crucial for building trust and loyalty with clients. This includes tailoring insurance products and pricing to meet the specific needs and requirements of individual clients as well as providing tailored support and resources.

5. Provide more access to information.

Clients today expect information at their fingertips. That means giving customers real-time information about insurance policies, claims, and billing as well as access to educational resources and support.

6. Prioritize communication and collaboration.

Fostering communication and collaboration is a key component of improving the customer journey. Insurance companies should strive to build strong relationships with their clients and encourage open and ongoing communication. This includes providing transparent and regular updates about the status of policies as well as offering opportunities for clients to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement.

7. Continuously evaluate and improve.

Finally, it's important for insurance companies to continuously evaluate and improve the customer journey. This includes regularly soliciting feedback from clients as well as monitoring key metrics, such as customer satisfaction, to identify areas for improvement. Insurance companies that continuously evaluate and improve the customer journey will be well positioned to provide a positive customer experience and build strong relationships with their clients.

By focusing on these best practices, insurance companies can deliver a positive customer experience and boost customer acquisition and retention. But there’s one more secret weapon of customer experience winners: straight-through processing.

What straight-through processing delivers.

Straight-through processing (STP) is an automation strategy that allows insurance companies to eliminate some manual tasks and speed up the insurance underwriting process from end to end. In recent years, the strategy has caught on with commercial insurers as a way to improve the customer experience and offer faster service. Here’s how:

Increased efficiency.

One of the main benefits of STP is that it allows insurance companies to increase speed, consistency, and efficiency in the underwriting process. Automating some labor-intensive manual tasks, such as data entry and risk assessments, lets insurers reduce the time it takes to issue a policy from days or even weeks to just a few minutes.

Improved accuracy.

STP can also help improve accuracy in the underwriting process. By automating manual tasks and relying on data and algorithms to make risk assessments, STP can eliminate the risk of human errors like typos and miscalculations.

Increased compliance.

Insurance companies struggle to stay compliant with ever-evolving regulations and industry standards. By automating the underwriting process, STP ensures that all policies are issued in accordance with regulations and reduces the risk of policy cancellations due to noncompliance.

Enhanced customer experience.

By automating the underwriting process, STP provides a more convenient and efficient experience for customers, allowing them to receive policies more quickly. That makes them less likely to switch to a competitor.

Increased revenue and profitability.

By reducing time to quote, improving accuracy, and enhancing the customer experience, STP can open the door for an insurer to win significantly more business, retain more customers, and increase profitability.

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