In June 2013, global management consulting and technology services firm Accenture conducted a quantitative online survey of 559 insurance underwriters in the United States. The 2013 North American Commercial Insurance Underwriting Survey interviewed senior underwriters, department or product managers, and other underwriting executives. The respondents were asked about the importance of technological investments, major challenges that they face, and their outlook for the future.
93 percent of the insurance underwriters said investing in technology is the best approach to improve the quality of underwriting. Two-thirds of respondents believe that technology has significantly improved underwriting productivity. Ironically, 54 percent of respondents maintain that technology has increased their workload. Of this group, 81 percent said their workload has increased primarily due to a lack of data integration within their company. 67 percent indicated that a lack of process integration has increased their workload and 57 percent believe that insufficient training created more work for them.
Other Key Findings
* 77 percent of respondents say their companies have already implemented, are currently implementing, or planning on implementing mobile technologies for agents and customers.
* In order to improve underwriting performance over the next three years, respondents said they would invest in: process automation (57 percent), predictive analytics for risk evaluation and pricing (51 percent), and external data to evaluate risk (51 percent).
Technology has enabled insurance underwriters to improve the quality of their work. However, the challenge for insurance underwriters will be to find the balance between making efficient use of technology and not allowing technology to inundate them with extra work. “There is no question that technology has brought a step change in the quality of insurance underwriting in recent years. But the full benefits of technology investments in terms of productivity and efficiency cannot be achieved without broader data and process integration across the organization,” says John Mulhall, a managing director in Accenture Property and Casualty Insurance Services.