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Your Underwriting Workbench: How to Set Up for Success

What key parts of the modern underwriting workbench help insurers succeed? Consider this advice on what to look for in underwriting technology, including the special role of underwriting AI.

The property and casualty (P&C) insurance space has seen significant changes over the last few years, with increasing competition and a growing need for more effective risk management. As a result, many insurers are turning to technology solutions to streamline their underwriting processes and help them gain a competitive advantage. A key solution is the underwriting workbench, which can help insurers succeed in the P&C space.

Today’s underwriting workbench is a powerful software tool that can significantly improve the efficiency, accuracy, and speed of the underwriting process. By leveraging advanced technologies to automate data ingestion, clearance, triage, risk assessment, and policy generation, underwriters can make more informed decisions, streamline their work, and stay on top of growing customer expectations.

At a time like this, amid economic uncertainty and exponential change, the right underwriter workbench is a powerful tool to help underwriters make more informed decisions, reduce risk, and deliver better results for their clients. The automated underwriting trend and demand for connected underwriting continue to grow. By the start of 2023, over 40% of life insurers had either already incorporated some degree of accelerated and automated underwriting into their new business processes or had imminent plans to do so, representing a dramatic increase from just 18% the year before, according to research from Celent. Additionally, 65% of insurance executives surveyed expected to increase spending on robotic process automation in 2022 while 74% planned to increase their investments in AI, a shift McKinsey says could revolutionize insurance by 2030.

Let’s examine the key parts of the underwriting workbench, what to look for in underwriting technology, and where AI fits in.

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

The modern underwriter workbench: 7 key components.

What kind of underwriting technology gives a strong workbench its power? Here are the top seven components of a cutting-edge workbench:

1. Enhanced data analytics.

The workbench is equipped with data analytics tools, including intelligent document processing (IDP), AI, and ML, to help underwriters quickly ingest, augment, validate, and analyze vast amounts of data from multiple sources. This includes exposure data, demographics and financials, claims data, and more, helping underwriters make faster, more informed decisions. Underwriters also appreciate the ability to integrate multiple systems in a data fabric that sources data from internal and third-party vendors. This allows insurers to view all data through a single pane of glass, eliminating the need to switch between systems to retrieve and analyze data.

2. Better risk assessment.

One of the key benefits of using an underwriting workbench in the P&C space is the ability to quickly and accurately evaluate risk. P&C underwriting can be complex, with many factors to consider when assessing risk. For example, an underwriter may need to evaluate the likelihood of property damage due to natural disasters, the probability of car accidents, or the risk of liability claims.

The modern workbench provides underwriters with the tools required to accelerate risk assessment with better, faster access to data on the applicant, previous claims history, and other relevant factors. These tools help underwriters better evaluate and assess the risks associated with a particular application and produce consistent decisions.

3. Integration.

Finally, the workbench is designed to streamline and automate the underwriting process, ultimately helping to reduce time to quote and deliver a better customer experience. By using intelligent algorithms and machine learning capabilities, underwriting workbenches can automate many of the repetitive tasks associated with underwriting, such as data entry, calculations, and document management. Integrating process mining and RPA into workbenches can ensure that workflows run smoothly and pinpoint inefficiencies like bottlenecks, delays, and duplicate steps. Beyond streamlining policy approval workflows, workbench automation also empowers underwriters to collaborate and approve policies in real-time.

4. Policy issuance and document management.

The underwriting workbench is a critical component of policy generation for insurers. It automates the underwriting process and uses real-time data and advanced analytics to accurately evaluate insurance applications and assess associated risks, resulting in more precise policy quotes, faster policy generation, and a frustration-free customer experience. Underwriting workbenches also include document management tools that let underwriters store and access important policy-related documents, client information, and claims data in one centralized location. This kind of digitization not only improves accuracy and accessibility but also accelerates document generation, ensuring that accurate and compliant policy documents are delivered on time.

5. Collaboration.

Collaboration is a critical success factor in underwriting, and workbench automation is a key factor in improving it. But collaboration is harder when brokers, agents, underwriters, and policy administrators can’t access the information they need when they need it. With automated underwriting, large files can be easily shared and worked on by multiple underwriters, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks. Workbench automation also allows underwriters to quickly track the status of submissions, which reduces duplication of work and keeps everyone on the same page. Ultimately, the collaborative advantages of automated underwriting offer faster, more accurate decisions and better outcomes for insurers and policyholders alike.

6. Workflow automation.

A workbench should be designed to streamline and automate underwriting workflows, ultimately helping to reduce time to quote and deliver a better customer experience. By using intelligent algorithms and machine learning capabilities, underwriting workbenches can automate repetitive tasks, such as data entry, calculations, and document management. Underwriting workbenches can also automate policy approval workflows, making it easier for underwriters to collaborate and approve policies in real time.

7. Extendability.

One size doesn’t fit all, so it’s critical to be able to extend the capabilities of your underwriting workbench to suit your business operations. This calls for a workbench with flexible configuration capabilities and a modular architecture that can give you the next-level agility and speed required to adapt to the rapidly evolving requirements of insurers, partners, and customers—now and in the future.

Underwriting technology: 5 things to look for.

The insurance industry is constantly evolving, and underwriting automation technology is one of the key trends driving this transformation. Yes, automation technology can significantly improve the efficiency, accuracy, and speed of the underwriting process, but there’s a flip side to it. With so many options to sift through, it can be challenging to identify the right underwriting workbench for your organization. Here are five key selection criteria insurance professionals should look for when evaluating a platform for underwriting process automation:

1. Integration capabilities.

Look for a solution that can integrate with your existing systems, such as policy administration systems, claims management systems, billing systems, broker portals and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

2. User-friendly interface.

Make sure the underwriting automation system you choose is user friendly, with an intuitive interface that is easy for underwriters to grasp. This will help to ensure that underwriters can quickly and efficiently use the technology to make more informed and accurate decisions. By contributing to a frustration-free employee experience, underwriting technology with a user-friendly interface can help insurers attract and retain top talent, which is of growing importance as the market continues to favor job seekers.

3. Data analytics capabilities.

Look for a solution that provides you with access to real-time data, including claims data, financial data, and demographic data, so that you can make informed decisions. A process automation platform with data fabric capabilities can unify data silos across the enterprise, giving underwriters a real-time view of all the information they need in one place. By unifying data from disconnected sources and automating data entry and data ingestion processes, you’ll increase transparency and maintain data consistency across your organization.

4. Customization options.

Make sure the underwriting automation system you choose is flexible and customizable. The best solutions will let you tailor the system to your specific requirements and operate at the highest level of efficiency, allowing insurers to manage risk more effectively and improve their bottom line. A flexible and customizable solution also enables insurers to quickly adapt to changes in the market or regulatory environment, stay compliant, and outmaneuver the competition.

5. Technical support.

Finally, look for an underwriting solution that offers robust technical support, including training, implementation, and ongoing maintenance. This will help you quickly and effectively get up and running with the right technology and ensure that you have the support you need to make the most of the solution and achieve a faster ROI.

By looking for those five criteria, you can be confident that you’re making a smart investment in your digital transformation journey. Now, let’s explore one last capability every modern underwriting workbench should deliver: artificial intelligence (AI).

Underwriting AI: What it adds to an underwriting workbench.

AI is helping insurance companies beat some long-standing challenges by improving the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of the underwriting process. Here’s a closer look at how AI is transforming the underwriting workbench in the commercial insurance industry.

  • Improved risk assessment: AI-powered underwriting workbenches use advanced data analytics and machine learning algorithms to analyze vast amounts of data, including financial, demographic, and claims data, to provide underwriters with a comprehensive view of an applicant's risk profile. This lets underwriters make better-informed decisions and accurately price policies, reducing the risk of loss for the insurer.
  • Streamlined underwriting process: AI-powered underwriting workbenches automate many of the manual processes involved in underwriting, reducing the time and effort required to complete tasks such as data collection, document management, and policy issuance. That means underwriters can focus on higher-value tasks and make faster, better decisions.
  • Improved customer experience: AI can help improve the underwriting experience for both insurers and customers in several ways. By automating many of the repetitive tasks associated with underwriting, such as data entry and document management, AI can reduce the time and effort required for underwriting and expedite speed to quote. This allows insurers to process applications more quickly, improving the overall customer experience. Additionally, AI can help underwriters make more accurate risk assessments and pricing decisions, ensuring that policies are priced correctly. This helps to build customers’ trust, improving the overall underwriting experience.
  • Enhanced fraud detection: AI-powered underwriting workbenches can analyze large amounts of data to identify potential fraud, reducing the risk of loss for insurers. By using machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and anomalies in data, AI can quickly detect and flag potential fraud, enabling underwriters to take appropriate action.
  • Predictive analytics: AI-powered underwriting workbenches can use predictive analytics to forecast future trends, identify potential risks, and make informed decisions. This can help underwriters better understand their clients' needs, anticipate future trends, and make more informed decisions, reducing the risk of loss for the insurer.

AI already brings so much to the modern workbench for insurers—and it will play an even bigger role in shaping the future of the underwriting process.

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