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Understanding Underwriting in a New Era of Workers’ Comp

By and 01.20.23
Reading time: 4 minutes

Workers’ compensation is the most highly regulated line of insurance, especially when it comes to underwriting policies. The pandemic exposed many outdated regulations, such as requiring paper documents that are physically signed or using checks instead of electronic banking or debit cards.

Another challenge of the pandemic was rethinking the definition of workers’ compensation. It was originally designed to cover risks particular to employment, from traumatic injuries to occupational diseases. A global pandemic was not on the minds of regulators. However, many states have enacted presumptions that COVID-19 is work-related under certain conditions, and have taken steps to expand compensability beyond COVID-19 to include future disease outbreaks. 

All these changes in the insurance industry have resulted in increased efforts to ensure that new data points and pricing logic can be leveraged to maximize outcomes. This means that insurance underwriting processes need to transform.

By combining both engagement and transactional capabilities within a single platform, insurers can improve time to value and increase tactical and strategic agility. In order to achieve these business goals, it’s crucial to use a platform that can adapt.

Salesforce is the answer for cutting-edge underwriting solutions. 

Why Salesforce?

Salesforce’s engagement technologies are now infused with Salesforce Industries’ (formerly Vlocity) core underwriting capabilities, including: 

  • Rules engine based off of the Insurance product catalog
  • Underwriter Workbench tool
  • Guided process flows

When combined, these capabilities improve user and customer experience while increasing transaction speed, which, in turn, positively influences customer satisfaction.

Configuration meets customization

Oftentimes, industry standard processes and workflows can be downloaded from the Salesforce Process Library to speed up implementation times, providing the most value in the least amount of time. These technologies are almost always configurable, which enables the business to control their deployments as much as IT.

With common configurations in place, users are empowered to customize their Salesforce instance to streamline their underwriting process. 

A few standard strategies include:

  • Leveraging the product catalog to drastically reduce Not in Good Order (NIGO) documents
  • Introducing automated underwriting for the most manual underwriting requirements, prioritized by business value
  • Including underwriting follow-ups into external portals to be consistent with the rest of the broker or insured experiences
  • Setting up the group policies features seamlessly in the enrollment system 
  • Leveraging captured data, including those from IoT or other third-party sources, to decrease cohort size to more precisely align risk and price
  • Increasing communications between underwriting and brokers in a seamless channel

For insurers who have technology solutions that lack any of the capabilities listed above, the architecture can be modified to leverage your existing investments. 

It’s all relative

Oftentimes, the underwriting process features older pricing logic that doesn’t factor in some of the latest safety features and types of businesses being insured, which brokers then have to augment. Digital underwriting can automate many of the workflows that include the number of variables present in commercial lines businesses.

With all the complexity around required data capture, we’re finding that many insurance organizations have not digitized the experience. In many instances, the Acord 130 form doesn’t feature a place to gather information about vehicle types, rig setups, etc. Digitizing the intake of data has the benefit of reducing the back and forth between the carrier and broker, ultimately reducing cost for the carrier, shortening the duration for the broker, and increasing your ROI.

Rebuilding SIF’s quoting process for efficiency and visibility

An example of an automated approach for the quoting process is Silverline’s partnership with SIF, Idaho Workers’ Compensation. This company has been the reliable and stable source of workers’ compensation for Idaho since 1917. But processes hadn’t changed to keep up with the transforming marketplace.

The entire mechanism for requesting a quote was outdated and had to be overhauled. Agency staff would submit paper/PDF applications via mail, upload, or email, an outdated process with no visibility into the quoting process after agency staff requested a quote. If there was missing information on an application, an underwriter would need to follow up to track it down. On average, it took six days to issue a quote, a window of time that was unacceptable in an increasingly fast-paced world. 

Through the partnership, SIF created a solution that was new within the Salesforce Industries ecosystem: a broker-facing portal with automated quoting and underwriting for workers’ compensation insurance. SIF’s setting among Idaho’s great outdoors brought about the concept of a “Touch Tree.” In the wilderness, it’s a place to come back to, a compass for direction. The “Touch Tree” became an application navigation module that breaks down each part of the application process. No matter where one moves around the application process, there is a “Touch Tree” to come back to and guide the user to the next step. 

In the past, a substantial number of submissions were abandoned with form processing. Incomplete submissions, requests for additional information (without response), and extended time-to-quote duration were among the primary causes. Much of this is mitigated with SIF’s quoting portal: SIFQuote. With automation of small business submissions and quoting, underwriters can focus on more complex risk decisions. This results in better scalability and overall improved response times. The average quoting duration has gone from six days to under an hour, often providing a quote in minutes. 

Accelerate your underwriting processes with Silverline

Insurers who provide the right tools for their underwriting teams help ensure decreased risk, improved ROI, and increased customer satisfaction. This allows a shorter time from quote to policy by removing paper processes and poor communication channels, and automating standard flows. With all that in place, it becomes easier than ever to maximize outcomes.

At Silverline, we have a strong core of consultants with experience across the insurance industry, including workers’ compensation. This deep industry knowledge, paired with proven Salesforce expertise, positions us to best help your company drive digital innovation. Find out how our experts can transform your underwriting processes.

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