How to Supercharge Underwriting

As the bedrock of insurance, underwriting has gone through a huge transformation over the past 10 years. Over the next 10 years, it will only accelerate. In recent days, I was delighted to join an impressive panel to discuss “Hidden Underwriting opportunities that can supercharge your business,” expertly chaired by Jesper Palmborg of Insurtech Insights. 

Naturally, the main thrust of our discussion focused on how insurers can further embrace new technologies to drive greater efficiencies, growth, and better customer outcomes. 

Underwriters are continually looking to reshape, enhance, and streamline their processes, and the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automated machine learning (AutoML) is enabling them to harmonise data and forecast models, identify fraud patterns, and implement operational improvements. 

What’s clear is that the successful underwriter of the future will need to be adaptable and employ the right tools in a timely manner, continuously evolving and optimising their craft, and subsequently the insurers’ performance. 

The “stargaze” question that was posed in our session was whether underwriting and pricing can be completely digitalised.

The consensus was that the human underwriter will still play a vital role in the mix. Whilst AI will allow for the eradication of more mundane tasks and provide the ability to orchestrate data to price with much greater precision, the experienced and ethical decision making aspects will remain with the human.

Almost immediately, though, the panel referred to the elephant in the room: legacy and modern-legacy technology. These were seen as massive constraints, limiting or eliminating innovation in underwriting and across the business, prohibiting underwriters from adopting new data and real-time sources, adapting models rapidly into products, and driving improved combined ratios. From thought to output, things remained slow and expensive and the model needs to change.

Whilst technology will not always be the answer, it’s clear that employing the right tech stack will be critical to harnessing the future, and this is where EIS and ambitious insurers will leverage EIS Suite’s value drivers, including:

  1. Cloud-native platform leverages the cloud’s on-demand, scalable and secure infrastructure. Nearly every other competitor is merely cloud enabled.
  2. Microservices, which improve resiliency and dynamic scaling
  3. Event-based architecture, which fuels real-time digital experiences
  4. API-first openness, which enables ecosystems and future-focused development
  5. Customer-first approach, which offers a 360° view across LoBs

What’s clear from the discussion is the digital twin of underwriter and machine is a potentially powerful one, but that this needs to be developed within a much-improved ecosystem. 

Ecosystems, it was largely agreed, enable underwriters to adopt and adapt technology and data, and drive better risk outcomes, new products, and improved customer experiences. They also offer ambitious insurers new growth potential in embedded, risk removing, and highly-adaptive new business models.

Paul Wishman, Senior Alliance Director (EMEA & APAC), is a transformational leader who constantly delivers results and finds innovative ways to improve performance and break new ground. He has a proven track record of founding successful start-ups and has turned around established businesses into industry-leading companies.

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