The insurance quoting process has changed shockingly little across the history of the profession. Back in the 1800s, carriers would deliver quotes via mail or messenger. Later we moved to overnight packages and faxes. Today, we use email.

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Other than the fact that the document is now digital, most companies’ delivery of the proposal is the same “toss it over the wall” technique we have used for hundreds of years. This is usually followed by a game of tag and emails as broker and underwriter trade messages back and forth to refine the proposal if needed.

Today we’ll continue our exploration of the future of underwriting by looking at how we can do better.

Making collaboration easier

The quoting process doesn’t have to be stuck in the past. In fact, in some parts of the industry it isn’t.

For example, when you get an auto quote from Progressive, their “name your price” tool allows the customer to play with deductibles and limits in a collaborative proposal environment that allows the carrier and the customer to easily work together to finalize the solution.

Inviting the customer into the quoting process like this means that when there is a need to adjust, negotiate, or address issues, it can be done quickly and efficiently. This creates a better customer experience and better policies, both of which are in the long-term interest of carriers.

Now, that specific model won’t work for a more complex risk or business, but there are plenty of tools that enable collaboration between carriers, brokers and customers. For example, many companies use Microsoft Sharepoint or Teams to build documents together. Google Docs can also modify documents and share commentary. Extending cloud-based collaboration to the customer in a secure and inviting way is clearly possible.

With a little imagination, we can also envision a completely different sales close and quoting experience.

  • Once the quote is ready, the broker is sent a link to the proposal. The proposal includes data and analytics they can share with the customer that explains the price, videos or marketing materials on the unique value of the carrier, and a collaboration portal where the broker can connect with sales and underwriting to make changes to the document. It also includes a scheduling function connected to the team’s calendar loaded so the broker can easily set up a finalist presentation.
  • After a customer has agreed to go with your proposal, the broker and customer are provided access to a customized onboarding portal customized. They have access to FAQs and videos about how the company works and a collaborative checklist where they can update, complete, and verify the information needed to get set-up with the new carrier. Every step along the way, they know what they need to provide or what to expect from the carrier to have onboarding going smoothly; offering a great experience.

A question of will

The landscape of today’s quoting practices brings to mind the old saying that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Because nothing but the medium of quote delivery has changed much over the years, there are huge opportunities right now for carriers willing to try new things to stand out in the market. Making proposals more collaborative and informative will drive efficiency and boost acceptance rates.

Carriers simply need to be willing to take it to that next step and move beyond the approach we have been using for more than 200 years.

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Michael Reilly

Managing Director – Insurance, Underwriting Community of Practice

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