Evolving Risks Require Specialized Underwriting Talent

Evolving Risks Require Specialized Underwriting Talent

See why technology and underwriting talent are key to an insurance carrier’s success.
From rapidly changing technology to evolving risks and a growing talent crisis, insurance carriers need to continuously adapt their model of doing business.
Technology has transformed society and the way companies do business. Carriers apply innovative technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to simplify and automate processes. This makes it easier to do business with them. Carriers are also applying data to better understand risks, allowing for more specialized underwriting.
The combination of technology and data also help to create a more engaging work environment, which could be used to attract the right talent.

Talent Is the Key to Success

Technology and data are key to thriving in the insurance industry, but to be successful, organizations need to:
  • Have the right talent in place
  • Provide opportunities for development and growth
  • Foster a culture to retain employees
As society and technology change, so do risks. Underwriting these risks requires specialized expertise. Underwriters need to continually build up their knowledge of evolving risks and how to underwrite them. The good news for carriers is that this provides a unique opportunity to keep new and tenured underwriters engaged in solving real-world challenges.
“At The Hartford, we believe it’s critical to expose our talent to all aspects of how we’re evaluating risks. This includes ensuring they have a full understanding of data and analytics and how to use them in the decision-making process. It’s about how the art and science intersect,” said Tracey Ant, head of field operations and general industries at The Hartford. “Intellectual curiosity is important when we bring in new talent to The Hartford. Industry models are changing and customer expectations are high. We have to be able to adapt as well as be nimble and be open-minded.”

Empowering Underwriters for Success

In order to adapt to the constantly changing marketplace, underwriters need to be given the right tools and development opportunities. A learning culture that uses the latest technology in adult education is critical to success. This type of culture not only keeps talent up to date on the latest trends, but it also helps keep them interested and engaged in work.
“We invest in ongoing, contemporary learning opportunities to help empower our underwriters. Given the dynamics of risk and how quickly the world changes, we make sure our underwriters are given learning opportunities throughout every stage of their career; all the way up to our leadership team,” Ant said. :We believe learning is important, which is why it’s engrained throughout all levels of our organization. Our learning mission is tied directly to our business goals.”
Learning needs to be an ongoing process to help employees be successful early in their career and then support them as their career advances. The Hartford offers different level of learning and development for new underwriters, as well as those who are more seasoned.
New underwriters are set up for success right away through the company’s structured certification program. It includes:
  • Classroom teaching
  • Coaching
  • An apprenticeship
Underwriters also get ongoing, customizable learning opportunities through innovative technology, like:
  • On-demand training
  • Transmisiones Podcast
  • Gamification
  • Interactive video activities
Having the right talent in place with the right level of expertise means a better experience for agents and insureds. Expertise also needs to be combined with the authority to make decisions. Underwriters have to be empowered to make decisions quickly and this requires a nimble organization structure with the right coaching, technology and processes in place. It also comes back to understanding the different aspects of risks.
“We make sure our underwriters have what they need to be responsive to the marketplace and provide the level of service our agents and brokers expect,” Ant explained. “We’ve heard directly from our brokers that we’ve set ourselves apart through our local connection with them, our in-person sales discussions and product expertise. We continuously go out to the market to solicit their feedback on our performance and capabilities, then we adjust based on what we hear.”

Investing in Underwriters Makes It Easier To Do Business

In today’s digital, data-driven world there’s an expectation for companies to apply innovative technologies to become easier to do business with.
Insurance carriers and brokers are using technology, such as robotics, to automate manual processes and improve turnaround time to insureds. Simplifying processes give underwriters more time to better understand risks and to build up stronger partnerships with agents.
“We’re building capabilities to respond to agents far faster than what they experience today,” Ant said of The Hartford. “For example, we recently completed a pilot program with the workers’ comp submission process where we go from submission to initial guidance in just a few hours instead of five days. This makes it easier for both agents and underwriters. And that’s just the beginning.”
Ant highlighted how The Hartford has implemented more than 200 system improvements to improve the speed from submission to quote. She also noted that they’ve built a third-party data factory, so underwriters have the data they need at the fingertips. This creates faster and more accurate risk evaluation.
Investing the right tools and automating processes frees up time for underwriters to act more as a consultative partner to agents. This translates into better, more customized product solutions for insureds. The Hartford is also focused on advancing its prospecting tools to enable underwriters to engage with agents earlier in the sales process to better understand clients’ needs. According to Ant, this allows underwriters and agents to collaborate with new businesses.

Creating Specialized Expertise

Carriers and brokers are using data and technology to help build up their specialized expertise, but talent remains at the forefront of truly building up this muscle. That’s why companies such as The Hartford put so much emphasis on ensuring employees have the tools, coaching and learning opportunities needed to be successful throughout their career.
“In the ever-shifting insurance industry, sales and underwriting must have a specialized focus. They need to not only adapt with the insurance industry, but they also need to understand the ins and outs of our insured’s businesses,” Ant said. “At The Hartford, we’ve structured our organization around empowering our underwriters, so we can deliver a differentiated experience through expertise, responsiveness and quality.”

All About Making It Easier To Do Business

Change will continue to evolve at a rapid pace and carriers must have the right model in place to adapt. Capabilities and expertise must be combined with efficiency and quality, but talent needs to be at the center of the model. Those who do not evolve and take advantage of data and technology will be left behind when it comes to winning new business and attracting the right talent.
The Hartford has brought together technology, tools and talent in a way that allows it to adapt as the industry changes, delivering what agents want and insureds need to protect their businesses.
“Our goal is to become the easiest carrier to do business with,” Ant said. “We continue to invest in our capabilities, processes, tools and most importantly, our talent, to help our agents meet all the needs of their mid- to large-size and specialty markets.”
Find out more about The Hartford’s large business insurance expertise and specialization.
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The Hartford Staff
The Hartford Staff
Our editorial team spans writers, researchers, product specialists and subject matter experts. We cover the intersection where best practices and business insights meet.