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Advanced underwriting workbench – the path ahead

by Jai Kumar

An underwriting workbench is a single digital control panel that acts as a central hub for all underwriting tools and processes. The complete underwriting process, from submission to quotation and bind, is supported by an underwriting workbench. It helps underwriters with accurate risk assessment, improved operational efficiency, improved underwriting quality, and increased underwriting profits. Such an underwriter workbench is designed with data at the center and a platform approach. Insurers with more sophisticated data and analytics-based underwriter workbench outperform the market by quickly choosing better risks and managing their portfolios.

A contemporary workbench:

  • Integrates innovative automation technologies and top data sources with an emphasis on data optimization. The platform gathers, harmonizes, and organizes massive amounts of structured and unstructured data from different sources, including legacy systems.
  • Allows underwriters to analyze risk using an AI-powered platform that consolidates data across the company and third party into a single window view in real time. 
  • Enables automatic receiving and processing of risk & asset schedules and bordereau/slips from multiple distribution channels. 
  • Scripts underwriter rules and provides prescriptive intelligence to improve end-to-end policy lifecycle efficiency. 

What are the characteristics of the best-in-class underwriting workbench?

A best-in-class workbench solution will have multiple vendor-licensed systems, often built internally. Depending on the type of business, the architecture and system choices may vary, but the underwriting workbench typically includes the following features:

  • A customizable workflow to efficiently lead underwriters through the policy lifecycle processes
  • Role-based access set up with internal permissions
  • Integrated systems to ensure smooth data flow without double keying
  • Automate processing of risk & asset schedules and bordereau/slip inputs with pre-configured risk appetite, criteria, and tolerances
  • Flexibility to scale up or down the infrastructure to cope with peaks and cribs of usage, typically achieved using cloud computing
  • Automated document extraction and document generation across the policy lifecycle processes 
  • Dashboards and reporting layers to analyze the portfolio, perform benchmarking, derive prescriptive insights, build personalized UI, etc.

Why should re/insurers care about advanced underwriting workbench? 

A best-in-class advanced underwriting workbench would pay a long-term dividend to re/insurers across these areas:

  • Better risk selection: Improved data collection to gain new insights and enhance underwriting
  • Underwriting automation: Increased underwriting efficiency and effectiveness
  • Process automation: Eliminating manual duties frees up time for activities that bring value, including creating new business
  • Portfolio improvement: Enhanced information aids in deciding the best business mix and fine-tuning pricing, lines, and net positions
  • Superior client proposition: Data-driven services, such as detailed exposure data enables risk selection, aggregate analysis, and portfolio analysis

The advantages are obvious but having a clear strategy and structured plan to move the underwriting workbench development/deployment journey ahead is essential for success. To determine the future state of the underwriting workbench, re/insurers must first gain a thorough understanding of the current state of their underwriting workflows and policy lifecycle processes. Subsequently, these organizations may choose suppliers/partners to assist in the creation of fresh or licensed yet integrated systems.

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Jai Kumar is VP, digital transformation at Xceedance

April 06, 2023