In a world of automation and artificial intelligence, how much does the relationship between the agent and underwriter matter? It’s true – automated underwriting is becoming increasingly popular. Once reserved primarily for auto, renters and property insurance, the automated process of evaluating risk is predicted to grow as InsurTech companies continue to pursue lucrative opportunities in this area.
Yet underwriters maintain a critical position in any insurance agent’s path to success. A symbiotic relationship, agents rely on underwriter approval to quote and bind business, and carrier underwriters rely on agents to submit business that will result in them writing more good policies. By understanding and investing in a highly functional working relationship with their underwriters, agents can improve their chances of receiving a competitively priced proposal quickly, and building more profitable books of business for their agency.
- Make complete, accurate submissions. Underwriters are extremely busy and making extra work for them is not going to put you in good favor. The more you can do to compile a complete picture of your prospective accounts, gathering and verifying information ahead of time, will convey respect for their time and an overall competence on your part.
- Understand the appetite of your carriers. If you don’t’ know, ask. Again, you want to avoid wasting everyone’s time, and having a policy declined. Getting a clear window into what your carriers are looking for can also help you better define what your ideal prospect looks like.
- Don’t make everything urgent. To the extent that your submissions can be packaged and submitted in a timely manner, do so, and save those quick-turn requests for when you really need them.
- Communicate your pipeline and goals. Once in your corner, regular communication with your underwriter can help you earn more of that new and renewal business. Your carrier underwriters usually hold a lot of intel that could make the difference in winning that big client. The more you and your underwriters can become marketing partners, the better off you will be.
- Repeat steps 1-4 with other underwriters in the office. There is a lot of job movement among this part of the industry. Investing in relationships across, up and down the ladder will help maintain your status should your underwriting partner leave for another position.
Don’t underestimate the value of a solid working relationship with your underwriters. Taking the time to understand their needs and goals can lead to faster turnaround times, fewer declines and better pricing – a win-win-win for you and your agency, your carrier partners, and your clients.