Insurance technology and the future of underwriting

Improving the underwriting process

Over the past decade, many underwriting organizations recognized the need to transform their business operations to improve efficiency, increase sustainability, reduce cost, and meet evolving customer expectations. Learn how insurers can transform their underwriting to be more purpose-driven, enabled by enhanced business models and technology solutions.

Rise of the exponential underwriter

Driven by the need for efficiency and evolving customer expectations, most insurers have been moving steadily to greater levels of digitization. Underwriting has been an area of focus, with insurers adding advanced tools and data sources to their quiver. Those on this journey recognize that achieving meaningful transformation may not be easy or quick. True modernization will likely require insurers to change their operating model by rethinking traditional, siloed ways of working and integrating data and technology across the insurance value chain—becoming exponential underwriters.

This shift can free up underwriter bandwidth and augment their decision-making capabilities, allowing them to focus on value-generating activities. This evolved underwriting function can broadly align with the five personas of an exponential underwriter: technology trailblazer, data pioneer, deal maker, portfolio optimizer, and risk detective. Insurers can identify the unique mix of personas that their underwriting workforce will likely require based on their product mix, customer base, and distribution model.

Enabling the exponential underwriter through business and technology advancements

Accelerated underwriting transformation

With the rise in understanding of underwriting profiles and advancements needed to take the underwriting function into the next era, how and where can insurers accelerate the ability to deliver tangible value? Focusing on the three pillars below can help achieve business value by enabling an adaptable organization, designing intelligent processes, and developing a connected technology ecosystem.

This balanced approach provides transparency and unified delivery and avoids one pillar being prioritized, which would hinder the success of the integrated transformation program.

Adaptable organizations: Align on key objectives and value proposition for transformation, and promote digital-friendly culture.

Streamlined processes: Design and implement the target state of the underwriting organization, and transform it to be “digital enablement ready.”

Connected technology ecosystem: Explore platform solutions that enable a single source of truth to effectively manage end-to-end business processes and increase access to real-time reporting for actionable insights.

Where to start

The steps to begin the underwriting transformation can be broken down into small-scope components for an initial pilot of the solution before scaling more broadly across the enterprise.

  1. Agree on scope of pilot: Decide the aperture to identify the focus area of the pilot depending on business impact and need.
  2. Identify opportunities: Perform outside-in assessment and inside-out analysis to determine current maturity and identify improvement areas.
  3. Reimagine UW enablement: Identify solutions and define plan of action for selected areas via technology and process proof-of-values.
  4. Pilot digital UW solution: Develop a prototype of the future-state ecosystem and gather stakeholder feedback.
  5. Develop full road map: Outline the sequenced road map and execution approach based on business value from the pilot.

The underwriting transformation through business and technology will likely be a multiyear journey with several interconnected and interdependent parts. New data sources and advanced technologies will increasingly supplement and augment human underwriters.

Insurers that invest in modernizing their underwriting function with new data and technology while equipping their talent with “exponential” skills and “bionized” processes could experience a virtuous cycle of sustained profitable business, loyal agents and customers, and an energized underwriting workforce—in short, a competitive advantage that is hard to emulate.

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