As a product development specialist in the insurance technology space, I spend a lot of time thinking about our customers’ problems and how we can meet their needs through innovation and creativity.
Take, for example, the experience of writing and building E&S insurance. Independent insurance agents tell us that this is a very difficult concept these days; Our research shows that agents expect their biggest challenges this year will be finding markets and making efforts to get records. When we recently surveyed our independent businesses about their expectations for 2022, these agents told us in depth that they expect more opportunities to grow and make their business easier to find. This includes the ability to expand through market and simplification, as well as the ability to acquire businesses.
The answer to the first item on this list, reducing the friction to find documents, lies less in the technology than in the acquisition. This can be solved by connecting with the right markets. Finding affiliate markets that can provide agents with digital information such as taking quotes automatically when you ship is essential to improve sales and engagement.
In order to address the second problem mentioned by supporters, obtaining E&S quotes, we need to start by examining what the term looks like today. In the E&S environment, there is more to a carrier’s need to underwrite risk than is available in the legal market. This is understandable; if the risk is decreasing and the market is accepted, carriers will want to understand and capture more information to ensure that they are prepared to deal with the risk. But it’s easy to see why it leaves a bad taste in sponsors’ mouths when they think about the E&S market if they’re used to high leverage and perpetual returns. For smaller value systems in particular, the length and breadth of the project and the back and forth communication to get it right can be very difficult and expensive to support.
This is an area where technology can make a real difference. If the appropriate steps are recorded in the submission process as part of the application, even after the submission is submitted, the author already has the information they need to verify. This means an increase in speed and simplicity; not just within seconds for threats that can be reported automatically, but within hours without back-and-forth on threats being sent.
The key to using technology to improve this process is to ensure that needs, requirements, and reliability can be met. Agents often complain about compliance and the flexibility to change their writing policies with passion.
Making carriers comfortable with receiving the information they need includes guiding them through FAQs and using dynamic feedback from previously answered questions, eliminating the need to ask many direct questions in the process. In addition to optimizing the flow of questions to collect data, the control of products to show additional transparency on what is included or not included, and the appropriate details and ISO groups that are visible within the application. Carriers note that this is not an automated check, but rather a process that allows operators to check the actual class codes, see what is included and what is excluded, and make the right decision. This goes a long way to building confidence in the shipping process.
Additionally, there are a variety of interesting things that companies are doing to reduce their reliance on third parties to provide data. For example, when verifying that they are in danger, the agent enters the address of the place, where we can get information such as the roof was changed by using forms that analyze publicly available data or satellite images. We are calculating the distance to the beach in this way today, but there is an opportunity to go beyond this, using other people’s tools or platforms. The increased ability to retrieve relevant information is also attractive to carriers who need it and to independent agents who don’t want to waste time providing it.
As insurtechs look to solve industry problems through technology, understanding the needs of stakeholders is a key starting point. There are many ways to improve the power of technology and the availability of human knowledge to improve processes and products. Listening to customers is always a good place to start.