Insurance Blog | Accenture

In the first part of this series on the future of underwriting, we looked at how carriers are exploring new and improved channels of distribution. Leading carriers are moving beyond passively processing email submissions. Instead, they’re defining new and engaging experiences with their distribution partners or their customers to create competitive advantage.

Getting business in the door is great—but it’s just the first step in the underwriting journey. Carriers today need to quickly convert intake into insight by digitizing data, cleansing and supplementing intake information, and preparing the information for underwriters. In this post, we’ll look at how advanced tools are creating a new future for underwriting intake.

 A practice unchanged for decades

In commercial and employee benefit insurance, the basic process of intake is essentially unchanged in the last 50 years. The agent or broker sends the carrier a bunch of materials that need to be evaluated, cleansed, and set up before the underwriter can start their work. Along the way we have the usual problems to overcome:

  • 15-25 percent of key data from customers or agents can be wrong.
  • Submissions are often incomplete and missing key documents.
  • Information is in different formats or structure, requiring effort to organize it.

To address this, carriers most often use lower-skilled workers onshore or offshore to enter the data or play phone tag with their brokers. But in most cases, the carriers still end up with an incomplete view of the submission.

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The power of “human+” intake

It doesn’t have to be that way. This is the first stop on the underwriting journey with exciting opportunities to blend human and machine workforces to dramatically improve results. Today, there are intelligent tools that can completely transform the intake process.

  • Application programming interfaces (APIs), portals, and robotics can replace a significant portion of email as the submission source.
  • Natural language robots can read, classify, and initiate submission processing from email.
  • Data vendors and platforms such as PLANCK, Enigma, and Carpe Data can supplement and validate key data on the submission, leading to increased accuracy and reducing the data needed from the agent, broker, or customer.
  • Data validation and manipulation tools can evaluate, adjust, and conform list data from processing, including locations, vehicles, or employees.
  • Deep learning solutions can evaluate benefit plans, medical records, or other long documents to quickly extract key data from cumbersome records.

In short, collections of intelligent tools can become indispensable assistants to underwriters by helping them to prepare and manage submissions for processing. These tools can not only prepare the data that’s used today—they can also supplement it with third-party data that the underwriter can use to work more efficiently and effectively.

The result is that submission information will be higher quality, more complete, and more cost-effective than today’s processing.

The icing on the cake is that all of the tools needed to make that happen are already market-tested and proven. There’s really no excuse to cling to traditional underwriting intake practices that haven’t changed in decades. In fact, those that do are likely to face significant headwinds in the market as their competitors transform their intake with intelligent tools.

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