The insurance industry often operates on slim margins. As a result, even seemingly small changes can have a significant impact on profits and losses. In other industries, companies can simply increase their prices to offset cost increases. However, for insurance carriers, agents, and brokers, state insurance departments often regulate pricing, limiting premium increases. To boost profitability, users instead need to focus on increasing efficiency to keep costs down and generate more business. Your insurance workflow can impact your operational efficiency, costs, employee satisfaction, and customer experience. That’s why we’re sharing these best practices to help you optimize efficiency and streamline your commercial insurance workflow.
Conduct a workflow analysis
Before you streamline your commercial insurance workflow, you need to identify the weakest links. Document your workflow and assess which areas are most and least effective. Then, consider how you can make improvements. Are most of your challenges internal? Could your organization benefit by expediting turnaround times for your customers?
A workflow analysis can give you clear insights into your most pressing needs. Does your workflow contain redundancies? How do you compare to your competition? Are they quoting faster than you or managing claims more efficiently? What do employees have to say about the existing workflow? These questions (and others) allow you to better understand which components of your workflow could be more efficient.
If you haven’t already ditched paper documents, the time to do so is now. An article published in Harvard Business Review states that “a thoughtful digitization program can deliver up to 65 percent in cost reduction, a 90 percent reduction in turnaround time on key insurance processes, and improve conversion rates by more than 20 percent.” If your insurance workflow involves printing piles of paper documents, you’re leaving money on the table. Going digital is a best practice for all insurance users, and will make life easier for you and your customers.
Lean into automation
Insurtech isn’t replacing humans anytime soon, but automation is key to making commercial insurance users more efficient. Workflows that rely on manual processes waste time, costing carriers, agents, and brokers. Besides saving money, automating parts of your workflow can help reduce the likelihood of errors. Instead of depending on a set of human eyes to review policy documents, let artificial intelligence (AI) do the work for you. It’s faster, it doesn’t get tired, and when used correctly, it’s practically infallible.
In addition to reviewing policy documents, there are several ways you can automate your commercial insurance workflow. For example, you can utilize a submission management platform. Adopting a submission management platform gives you 24/7 underwriting and the power to quote instantly. Another great way to automate your workflow is by automating claims handling. These automation tools help you increase efficiency while creating a better customer experience. It’s a win-win scenario.
Focus on customer experience
Your customers are capable of making or breaking your business. Content customers can help your business accelerate its growth, while disgruntled customers can hurt your bottom line. Building your workflow around providing a better customer experience can help you grow even faster. To most customers, insurance products are more or less identical. You can compete on price or change coverage selections, but the best way to differentiate your product is to provide a better customer service experience. A McKinsey article dubs a superior customer experience “the growth engine” for companies. The article also references an analysis of companies offering best-in-class customer experiences, showing those companies often grow faster.
Though your workflow might be your own, keeping your customers top of mind is undoubtedly a best practice. A superior customer experience might seem like the antithesis of increased efficiency. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. During the quoting process, customers want a quick answer. You know automation can help you get there, so let that dictate how you manage that part of your workflow. In dealing with claims, however, a human representative might provide a better customer experience and resolve issues more efficiently.
Prioritize employee training
A new workflow is only as good as the individuals who put it to work. That’s why a robust internal training program is so important. According to former AIG Chief Learning Officer Dan Lovely, “. . . One of the biggest challenges for the insurance industry will be determining how employers will design, develop and deliver professional training for their workforces. I believe that micro-learning, micro-assessments, adaptive learning, and AI technologies will all be required for us to be successful in the future.”
Another trend that seems to be gaining in popularity is workflow learning. Traditional training usually involves tedious lectures and never-ending PowerPoint presentations. Workflow learning, on the other hand, is integrative and productive. Workflow learning and micro-learning go hand in hand to create an effective, efficient means of promoting meaningful organizational change.
Test, retest, and refine
There’s no such thing as a perfect workflow, but that shouldn’t stop you from striving for perfect efficiency. If you want to change your workflow, try testing your changes before undergoing a full-blown organizational overhaul. Once you run a test, run it again. Trying to decide between two competing ideas? Perform a split test and let the results speak for themselves. Your insurance workflow will always be a work in progress. What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow, so you need to prepare yourself to make the necessary changes. Staying nimble and adapting to changes can help future-proof your insurance business. That’s why you need to continue reviewing and refining your workflow as you evolve and grow.
Streamlining your commercial insurance workflow can benefit your business regardless of size, profitability, or current processes. Even small improvements to your workflow can help increase your internal efficiencies and positively impact your bottom line.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to your insurance workflow, but there are certainly some best practices you can count on. For instance, if paper documents are still a major part of your workflow, it’s time to go digital. Once you’ve gone digital, you can take advantage of insurtech tools that help you automate your processes. Insurtech technology can enhance your workflow by streamlining submission management, underwriting, claims handling, and renewal processing.
Other keys to streamlining your workflow include focusing on your customer and providing employee training. By creating a better experience for your customers and equipping your team with the right training, you can reduce friction and potential hiccups in your workflow.
Streamline your insurance workflow and unlock the power of Wheelhouse with Talage. Sign up now to revolutionize the way you do business!