Guest blog by Ravendra Singh, Executive Vice President and Insurance Practice Head with Key Management Group (KMG)
Application intake for new business submissions is a central process of the insurance business. This process should be easy and scalable so that underwriters can quickly evaluate and assess risk exposure to help their broker clients write more profitable business.
Yet, in today’s time, the application intake process for insurance is inconvenient, highly manual and error-prone. While PDFs have substituted paper-based submissions and are shared through emails or a digital portal, the overall approach hasn’t changed much over the years. Underwriters and their staff still spend hundreds of hours performing swivel-chair data entry, scraping relevant information from applications, parsing through emails and documents for creating submissions as well as consolidating and enriching data. What if all this could be automated?
Automating submissions digitizes insurance applications, using robotic routines and character recognition to extract data from the PDFs, Excel files and Word documents sent with submissions. The extracted data is presented (or integrated) on an Underwriter’s desktop or submission portal in a form that is ready for processing – using APIs or additional robotic processes – until a quote is generated.
The automated intake process involves careful scooping out of data from structured and unstructured data sources shared by stakeholders such as policyholders, brokers and agents.
Usually, with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) tools, an automated process is put in place that takes this data through a multi-step process.
Automating the application intake smooths out the entire submission operation. When automation sets in, one can redirect manual efforts to more strategic areas, such as evaluating complex risk exposures and underwriting bespoke submissions.
There are multitude of benefits to automating submissions. Consider the following five reasons:
Stay ahead of competition
- Others are still doing manual submissions; that’s legacy and outdated – don’t be stuck in the past. Modern, automated, self-sustaining systems mean modern thinking, growth and client and employee retention.
- Start by digitizing a simple but labor-intensive process with high-impact use case; lower cost and higher return – compete on time and investment. Nobody suggested to start with a big bang. Start with one line of business, one intake form and lay the capability groundwork. Over time, expand to more forms and more lines.
- Catch-up with those who are already vying for your clients – you know there is always someone ready to eat your business for lunch. Automating document intake will create a moat around your business and help you keep your clients.
Exceed broker client expectations
- Digitize submissions giving faster turnaround to your broker clients. In this instant gratification economy, your broker clients are looking for faster processing and response.
- Improve turnaround time for ad-hoc changes. Help brokers provide quicker quotes to their clients.
- Build brand loyalty and a stronger base; win more clients.
Streamline submissions leading to more policy issuance
- Use automated rules to streamline submissions, which eliminates manual routing of submissions based on role, type, size. Instead let the automaton handle the routing.
- Build rules to provide maximum straight-through processing of more submissions.
- Turn on and off rules based on changing business appetite; no human intervention needed.
Reduce unnecessary costs
- Reduce per submission cost; do more with the same time and cost.
- Employees take breaks, go on lunches; robots don’t. Process more submissions per hour than a human can.
- Fewer mistakes, higher accuracy.
- Enable faster data access to achieve high operational cost savings; decisioning based on process goals.
- Help employees grow by giving them challenging assignments and the opportunity to learn new skills by taking away mundane tasks.
- Use technology and automation to support your employees’ desire to control their work-life balance, career and goals. Build loyalty, trust and long-term staff members.
Automated submission intake using robotic process automation is a welcome change, creating a wide scope for massive growth. Despite the existing challenges, the point is to increase throughput while being efficient from the very beginning.