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Why Personnel is Still Critical in an Automated Underwriting World

By Joe Alberti, VP, Specialty Products & Programs, Fortegra

Joe Alberti, VP, Specialty Products & Programs, Fortegra

Over the past few years, machine learning-based systems have been ramping up across several industries, from manufacturing and healthcare to transportation, insurance, and much more. With great technological advancements, whether they will eliminate roles that require manual input and other administrative functions has become a major concern.

According to CareerCast, insurance underwriting is among the 10 careers most likely to experience attrition due to automation over the next decade. With a projected outlook of 11 percent, the anticipated attrition in the underwriting industry is attributed to automated software that’s been introduced over the past few decades—software that pulls data and assesses risk, creating policies without human input.

"Choose an underwriter that understands the importance of addressing customers’ individual needs to make sure the right solution is reached for everyone involved"

While the argument for automation is that underwriting processes can be tedious and time-consuming, the tangible benefits of a manual process shouldn’t be ignored. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of maintaining real-life personnel as the driving force behind your underwriting efforts.

1. Live Customer Service Shows you Care

Claims processing and administration can be confusing to customers trying to understand the underwriting language within their policy. Working through insurance claims can be complicated and frustrating for the end consumer as is; if the helpful person on the other end of the line is removed, the whole process becomes that much daunting.

A real human with real experience can help cut through the confusion, as opposed to automated messaging which can’t possibly anticipate every customer question and point of clarification that might come up. Want to ensure your business maintains that personal touch on customer claims? Partner with an underwriter and a TPA that understand the importance of real-time customer care. It shows you care about more than just the process and, instead, that the customer always gets the answers they need.

2. Customized Solutions Keep you Competitive

Automated underwriting that plugs in data and spits out rote solutions: that’s cookie-cutter, not custom. If you’re looking to truly cater to your customers’ needs—none of which will ever be exactly the same—customization is the way to go. But if you’re working with an underwriter that uses a plug-and-play model to produce coverage, why should customers choose you over another insurance solutions provider?

Set yourself apart with an underwriting partner that offers truly unique solutions based on industry insights and past experience. Choose an underwriter that understands the importance of addressing customers’ individual needs to make sure the right solution is reached for everyone involved. Do this and you can be confident you’re setting yourself apart from the competition, every time.

3. Innovation Takes More

You can’t customize if you don’t innovate. An automated underwriting system set to prioritize efficiency lacks the ability to think outside the box in order to find unique solutions. After all, two heads are better than one—that ‘one’ being the automated underwriting platform. How can genuine creativity take place when the ideas are coming from a machine with a one-track mind?

By contrast, an industry insider consistently providing underwriting expertise is what’s going to lead you to your next big idea as a business, and improved insurance solutions for your customers. Partner with an underwriter that prioritizes tapping into new resources and you’ll always be one step ahead of the current trends.

4. Inflexibility Can Lead to Poor Results

Taking a consultative approach out of underwriting may ultimately lead your customers to a solution that isn’t really a solution. Automated underwriting software relies on an input-output process to create its policies, which removes flexibility from the equation.

Why is this bad? Your customers are inevitably going to have their own ‘square peg’ needs that won’t always fit a ‘round hole’ solution. What’s right for a customer right now may change down the road, and having a manual underwriter adjusting protection for dynamic circumstances will ultimately be more successful than any machine-driven solution.

There’s no getting around it: machine learning is making its way into each and every industry, and it’s only going to accelerate from here. But the importance of personal touch and quality customer service is still invaluable—especially when it comes to insurance policy underwriting. Make sure to identify these important qualities in your underwriting partner to keep your customers priority one.