Perspectives from the Underwriting Desk
Samantha Cowley, Director of Underwriting Operations at the International Transportation & Marine Agency (ITMA), sat down with Insurance Quantified for an insightful discussion on how SubmissionIQ has contributed to increased efficiencies across her team and material improvements to their daily work.
What business and workflow challenges were you facing before Insurance Quantified came into the picture? How were they affecting your business?
At a high level, our biggest workflow challenges stemmed from an overreliance on manual processes. For example, from the time I joined ITMA, we had used email as our main way to share information and communicate around quoting risks. We had developed a good rhythm, but we were concerned that it would become unmanageable as we grew. We were always worried about people being out, missing an email, and we were spending too much time on logistics around getting the information into the right hands. In addition, our evaluation process was not standardized nor scientific. For me, it always involved a lot of mental math – a rough Excel sheet was about as technical as we got. We have a great team in place, so we were able to be successful even with these challenges, but they made it difficult to stand up repeatable processes and uninterrupted workflows.
How does SubmissionIQ solve these pain points? What specific features have been the most useful?
When we engaged Insurance Quantified, we were looking for a system that could ingest submissions and enable our underwriters to quote it, gather information, ask questions and ultimately send the terms back to the producer – almost like a central hub for corralling all quotes. SubmissionIQ has served as exactly that, giving us access to a ton of innovative features that ease our workflow. For example, we now have a systematic process for analyzing and rating submissions as they come in – instead of estimating and performing calculations on the fly, our underwriters can make decisions based on consistent weights for all datapoints. Eliminating those variables gives me a ton of confidence that my team has the information they need to make the optimal decision for our business, regardless of the specific decision-maker. Similarly, we now have the ability to flag high- and low-risk accounts based on specific criteria, enabling us to work more efficiently when carrying out mission-critical processes like assessing new drivers.
What has been the impact from a talent perspective? How has the new technology enabled you and your team to budget time more efficiently?
This has been one of the most powerful benefits Insurance Quantified delivers, and it really goes back to that confidence in decision-making I mentioned. My role is meant to encompass overseeing operations and operational strategy from a high level – I’m not really supposed to be getting into the weeds of the underwriting process, and I was doing far too much of that. Standing up a repeatable, data-driven underwriting workflow means my team is able to function more independently. That frees up more time for me to contact new producers, check in with current producers and ultimately win new business. On a personal note, I’ve also been able to take more vacations! That’s a small thing, obviously, but it drives home the fact that the right technology can do more than just boost efficiency – it can improve employees’ lives across the board.
Can you identify any specific instances where SubmissionIQ has really proven its value? What has been the real-world impact?
One example that comes to mind happened right before we began with Insurance Quantified. We had just signed a new broker that was generating a lot of new business for us, submitting quote after quote. But at some point, they slowed down to the point where they weren’t giving us any business at all – and it took me an entire month to notice. With so many submissions from other brokers coming in, we didn’t catch that this particular producer had gone dark on us – email inboxes simply aren’t built for that level of insight.
Eventually, business picked right back up. But the point is that the 30 days between their most recent submission and my team’s noticing the gap was valuable time we could have used to demonstrate how much we care about their business. With SubmissionIQ, we now have access to the performance manager, enabling us to easily see which brokers are giving us the most business, which are declining and proactively spot any emerging issues so we can take action. It’s a one-stop shop for key information on producer health, giving us the intelligence we need to provide superior service and optimize our business to the greatest extent possible.
How has SubmissionIQ streamlined reporting processes?
Reporting is such a big part of my job – whether it’s to clients, other internal teams or auditors – and we’re now able to do so more efficiently than ever. Before, questions on our performance within a specific region or product line required manually pulling and poring over all relevant submissions, and even then there was a fair amount of guesswork involved. With SubmissionIQ, I can easily navigate to the performance manager, apply the proper filters and instantly gain quantifiable intelligence based on any criteria. Having this level of insight at my fingertips has accelerated reporting by an order of magnitude. I honestly don’t know how we got by without it.
What was the implementation process like? How did it align with your expectations? How did it differ?
In the past, I’ve been through implementation processes that were really painful – they took a long time, and communication was poor. As a result, I was very hesitant to take the plunge with Insurance Quantified. They completely exceeded my expectations in every way. Throughout the process, their team listened to our every need and was committed to not just explaining their progress, but showing the functionality they were building while other tasks were in flight. To this day, SubmissionIQ is the only product in our office that is specific to our specialty insurance. That adds up to a powerful offering made even more powerful by outstanding client service and attention to our needs.
International Transportation & Marine Agency (ITMA) means International Transportation & Marine Agency, LLC, a subsidiary of MS Distribution Holdings, Inc., a US holding company.