If an underwriting workbench sounds like something you’d find in the garage, you wouldn’t be too far off the mark. In the physical world, a workbench holds projects so you can work on them. Think of shop class or Granddad tinkering in the basement.
An underwriting workbench is the digital equivalent. It lets your underwriting team work on submissions using powerful processing and business intelligence tools. And like a real workbench, everything an underwriter needs to complete a project is available at their fingertips. The tools, the data, the collaboration and the approval — all right on their desktop.
Underwriting is a critical but time-consuming function for surety companies, and too often it holds up the approval of a bond. If it takes days to make a decision on a project, who’s to say you’ll still have the customer’s business? You may lose them to a competitor who can get to “yes” faster than you can.
While underwriting is moving away from manual, paper-based systems, underwriters face a number of challenges, including frequent changes to underwriting rules, a high level of complexity in products and pricing, and inaccurate information that requires post-underwriting follow-up. And bond producers are apt to complain about too many processes and handoffs from application to quote and bonding.
Faster decisions, lower costs
Automating the underwriting process can lead to faster decisions, lower costs and greater profitability. In addition, automation allows companies to quickly react to market and regulatory changes. It also leads to increased agent and customer satisfaction.
Automated underwriting isn’t new, but too few insurance companies have integrated it into their business processes. ACORD’s just-released 2020 Insurance Digital Maturity Study of Top Global Insurance Carriers found that fewer than 30% of the top 130 insurers have truly digitized the value chain. Yet, the study found that companies embracing digitization significantly outperformed the industry and saw a direct correlation between digital maturity and total shareholder return.
Similarly, McKinsey & Company reports that the top digital performers in the property-casualty industry are growing twice as fast as their less digital competitors while delivering substantially better profitability.
Underwriting workbenches do more than just automate the process of capturing and analyzing data. Underwriters can efficiently analyze risk and determine pricing, collaborate with colleagues, communicate with agents and customers, comply with underwriting guidelines and track risk exposure in real time. Modern underwriting platforms also have configurable workflows and rules engines, and advanced business intelligence and analytics.
More accurate risk assessments
With new technology, underwriters are able to perform more accurate and more informed risk assessments in a fraction of the time it currently requires, KPMG says. This frees up underwriters to identify cross-selling opportunities, earn new business, retain existing customers, and increase underwriting profits while maintaining competitiveness.
When looking for a workbench solution, be sure it integrates with your management system and that everyone on your team can view the same data and collaborate on a single platform. Will it allow you to fully analyze your customers’ financials and work-in-progress reports? Does it have an easy way to upload and import submission data? Is there a forms library? Can you create and store proposals and other documents? Do the rules engines automatically apply across workflows?
There’s a lot to think about, but there are software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions available that can be tailored to your needs. Instead of making a substantial investment in new surety systems and waiting years for them to be built, an off-the-shelf SaaS system can be up and running in just a few months.
Contact Tinubu Square if you’re ready to stop underwriting manually and take it to the next level. Find out more about Tinubu eSURETY, a complete, cloud-based surety management solution.