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Enabling the future of underwriting

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Article Synopsis :

With the insurance industry awash in data from a variety of sensors and devices, underwriters are under growing pressure to collect and combine just the right mix of available data and use it to assess risks accurately, personalizing the customer experience, issuing policies in less than a day. “Enabling the future of underwriting” from KPMG delivers a digital road map for carriers keen on meeting this challenge.

 The Digital Insurer reviews KPMG’s Report on Enabling the future of underwriting

The underwriter of tomorrow will be purely strategic, with all of today’s mundane tasks automated

The report is structured in five parts:

  1. Market dynamics: Customers increasingly expect insurers to provide personalized offerings through a variety of digital channels. Insurers in general, and underwriters in particular, must respond to these challenges.
  2. Role of technology in the underwriting process of the future: Technology will continue disrupting the underwriting value chain in unprecedented ways. Digital labor, data analytics, and behaviour-driven models are likely to be the leading drivers (a deep-dive, including industry examples, is included on each).
  3. The underwriting value chain continues to evolve: Insurance underwriters can leverage disruptive technologies to bridge various legacy policy administration systems, automating manual processes to eliminate duplicity of information.
  4. Underwriter of the future: The underwriter of the future will play the role of a ‘collaborator’ of an end-to-end process, completing policy decisions quickly, accurately, and in a more cost-effective manner. Think: integrator, more than task-performer.
  5. Getting there: An action map for insurers:
    1. Educate yourself about the disruptive potential of new technologies to bring more efficiency across the underwriting value chain.
    2. Analyze use cases with the greatest possible impact on underwriting and profitability.
    3. Build a strategy and road map for improving the underwriting function.
    4. Evaluate existing processes and platforms for potential capabilities—as well as gaps.
    5. Modernize platforms and applications via in-house technologies and/or strategic alliances.
    6. Identify vendors that fit your organization’s structure and promise operational benefits and savings.

Big data, data analytics and digital labor can revolutionize the underwriting function. In exploring these technologies, it’s vital to know which technologies can be built in-house and which require an outside partner. The acquisition of InsurTechs shouldn’t be overlooked as a means to quickly acquire breakthrough tools and platforms. Partnerships with third-party data vendors and analytics firms can help mine enormous amounts of data and incorporate predictive analytics to improve risk selection and target the right customers for new business development.

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Digital Insurer's Comments

Today’s underwriter, burdened with collecting, combining, and reviewing documentation for submissions, typically spends a small fraction of their time actually assessing risk. Manual tasks leave underwriters little or no time to think strategically—for example, considering new sources of data, or new approaches to historic data.

The underwriter of tomorrow, as envisioned in this article, is almost purely strategic, managing processes and P&L in a more efficient workflow where all the mundane stuff is automated. Underwriters will be able to identify cross-selling opportunities, driving retention and profitability, as well as new business opportunities, adding significant value to the business.

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