The Insurer’s Race: How to Stay Competitive with Intelligent Data Collection

Industries are grappling with innovation and how to introduce new technologies into old systems, and insurance is facing one of the most difficult challenges. As disruptors emerge, legacy behemoth companies with endless layers of management are struggling to keep pace in a race to integrate new tech. This race, however, has led to hasty adoption which in turn results in wasted money, poor products, and reliance on older technologies to maintain easy usability and workflow.

For example, huge segments of the industry are still using PDFs or clunky inflexible web forms to manage submissions. To solve this, some insurers have commissioned developers to build new, custom software from the ground up. These efforts are tangential to their strengths and goals as a company: to provide affordable, reliable insurance.

The data collection process is inefficient

One of the greatest examples of tremendous inefficiency is in the data collection process. In most cases, agents have to submit substantial amounts of information about an insured to get an accurate quote. Using PDFs, clunky web forms, emails, and calls to communicate accurate information or follow up on missing data is tedious and expensive.

Web forms with missing or inaccurate information can slow down submissions or render them ineligible. For example, a contract may not have been properly signed and dated. While underwriters don’t always require a signature, it might be necessary to show that the client has read the application. This can be done electronically but it still involves agent communication via call or email. The result is a fragmented chain of communication and endless data reentry to get complete records in a single system.

Prescreening—enforcing accurate information upfront in order to submit a request that would otherwise require back and forth communication—solves this problem. More on that in a moment.

Reducing “time to bind” also reduces costs

Incomplete or inaccurate data result in wasted time for the underwriter, the agent, and the insured who may need to be contacted again to get the necessary data. This lag not only leads to wasted paid employee hours but, from a sales perspective, 50% of won sales are closed in under 30 days.

This “time to bind” problem is exacerbated if the client needs coverage quickly. Legal issues can exist if, for example, there is no confirmation of a coverage rejected by the client. Missed updates regarding changes in exposure or limits, can be an issue if there is a claim.

At the root of the problem is inflexible and static data collection methods. They result in more time to bind and lost sales. Not to mention the huge costs to update when built with inadequate technology.

An added complication is the rapid acceleration of change in underwriting needs. The size of the account being insured and appetites for ever-changing risks and perils are all important aspects of the process. That’s why the ability to update and adapt submission forms easily and at low cost is crucial.

Configurable forms streamline the entire quote request process

Intelligent data collection using modern web forms and integrations provides effective solutions to these problems. Time and money is saved by reducing or eliminating back and forth communications to get complete data. Also, the agent experience and perception of the insurer is enhanced through automating data validation and underwriting. In the real world this means:

  1. Ensuring that required information is entered or auto-populated
  2. Automatically identifying ineligible submissions
  3. Evolving with the insurer’s underwriting needs

Surefyre is solving these problems with intelligent web forms that are easy to build and change over time. Integrated into our platform, they reduce the effort it takes to quote and bind policies by automating the submission, underwriting, and binding request processes while maintaining a single record of communication between the underwriter and agent. This method prescreens quote requests too, preventing submission until all needed information for a quote is entered and accurate to the insurer’s specifications.

The industry is evolving rapidly and underwriting needs change often. Being able to adjust submission forms easily and at low cost is critical for insurers of all sizes to stay competitive.

After all, the focus of insurers should be the placement of great insurance products with expediency and accuracy, not needless, time-consuming duplication, follow-ups, and paperwork.