Have you ever wondered if an insurance agent would obtain better results from their underwriters if they submitted a “higher-quality” submission, rather than a “bare-bones” submission merely to block the market?
Do underwriters have favorite agents they work harder for or will bend over backwards for, because they know the agent is doing (and has done previously) a superior job?
Can an agent obtain “more credits” for an insured if he/she includes superior claims data, loss control data, etc., in their submission, versus other agents who never think to add that information?
I think so, but what do you think?
A few days back I posted a question on LinkedIn to the many underwriters I’m connected with on that social media platform. Frankly, their responses were awesome, fascinating, and pure gold to any agent or broker who wants to apply these truths to their prospecting efforts.
(PS: To those of you on LinkedIn who took the time to reply, we thank you very much. Your answers will help agents and brokers step up their game and submit more complete submissions going forward! So thanks!)
Here is the question I proposed and below that are answers I received from underwriters and other carrier/industry professionals.
Let me know what you think!
Out of curiosity, do you think there is a correlation between the “quality of an agency’s submission” to you and your “desire” to quote the risk?
What about even offering “more credits based upon a superior submission” that answers all of your questions about the insured’s exposures?
Tony Canas replied with this answer:
“Absolutely. Biggest thing for the broker to remember is that we WANT to write business (and now a days we have growth goals). but we have to justify our decisions. The more info you give us and the easier you make it to give you the decision you want the more likely we are to be able to do it and create a win/win solution.”
Sheila Eskue replied with this answer:
“If a submission is complete (when I was underwriter) it will cause you to go to it first. I would not have given a credit because it was ‘good” submission but the likelihood that a person who provides a complete submission would also provide the U/W with all the information and that would increase the probability that the U/W could do better and more accurate pricing..Flying by the seat of your pants and guessing don’t equal best pricing.”
Janica Arrington replied with this answer:
“When I was an Underwriter, complete apps were typically worked quicker and issued faster because I had what I needed and could move it along quicker. The quality of the submission had no bearing on whether I applied credits or more credits to it. Sometimes I would write an agent and let them know that I appreciated how accurate the app was.”
Susan Ariza replied with this answer:
“Yes I agree with complete submissions you naturally go to the top. I was able to quote and bind a chain of ihops in the Midwest in an hour just because agent gave me all information. But that goes for every industry, if you give half of the information you are not going to get good results.”
Patrick Wraight replied with this answer:
“When I was an underwriter, there were three big factors that would impact my willingness to write a risk. 1. Do I know the agent? If I’ve worked with the agent for a while, I already knew what the submission would look like. There were several great agents that I knew would provide a complete submission with additional detail that they knew I would ask about. There were others that I knew I wouldn’t want to deal with, so their submissions may get scheduled for later review. 2. Did they give me a reasonable need by date? ASAP always means (to me) As Soon As I Please. If I don’t get any date, it goes to the bottom of the pile. If I get a short date, that’s a phone call to discuss. 3. Did I get any attitude? I know I shouldn’t, but when someone acts like they’re the big person on the block, I tend to buck against that. That usually generates a phone call when I don’t give them what they have demanded.”
Scott Bonds replied with this answer:
“There sure is! If we don’t have the information we need even to provide a quote, it’s a waste of time and we end up declining it. I will echo Tony’s comment that underwriters WANT to write new business. Now in terms of additional credits, I’d say that it depends on the risk. There’s only so much credit available if the account has high losses. However, if the agent can justify why the account warrants higher credits, that absolutely helps!”
John Talianis replied with this answer:
“Very good answer! I don’t get the people that say that no credits or debits every apply! If it was that simple then a robot would do it! There are always things in the data that one underwriter can see and determine that some additional credit is justified or the rater is not producing a sufficient rate so debits are needed. This is where a quality underwriter with good judgment is needed. If you document everything there is nonthing wrong with it and its in the filing as well…it’s called underwriting discretion. I agree that complete quotes with accurate info, specific deadlines from brokers who answer the phone and go the extra mile go on top of the pile. If I know that historically accounts from this broker are running favorably I will take that into consideration. That means that the broker spends time explaining to the client why it is best to have steady rates. Some brokers always market accounts to squeeze every penny and send sketchy data. Why wouldn’t I load that bad account and credit the good ones? if you have to follow minimum loss ratios you need to have real partners that will help you with the rate you need especially upon renewal.”
Justin Liek replied with this answer:
“Higher quality of the submission = faster turn around and more accurate and typically lower pricing. Ease of doing business works both ways and helps to increase business relationships.”
Jason McGirr replied with this answer:
“Charles Specht, I completely understand how some information can be misunderstand. But simple things like a property address with the unit number, what floor location they are located on, who owns the property, etc. Once I get the application and find discrepancies, I become the bad person for changing a rating factor or finding a loss that wasn’t picked up because the information was incorrect or missing. I give agents the benefit of the doubt until I consistently see this happen over and over even after we have discussed the importance of the information being complete and accurate. Just today, I worked a file that was submitted as having a lapse. I picked up the phone and called the agent to verify the information. After I told the agent who I was and asked how his day was going, his response was “what do you want.” I know this isn’t normal and most agents do try to do the right thing and treat their carriers with respect, I was floored by his response.”
Mark Kinder said this:
“Discretionary credits/debits (e.g, filed schedule rating plans, IRPM, etc) apply based upon the policyholder’s exposures and controls only. I get your point, but the agent is just a messenger,not the source of the information the Underwriter uses to analyze the risk and determine price. The quality of the agent and its submission might persuade me to offer a quote, but the price should not be influenced by who the agent is or how good/poor the submission is. The underwriter uses lots of information about a risk that doesn’t come from the agent.”
Noel McMurray has this to say:
“Like the old adage of location, location, location within the world of real estate; underwriting commercial business, may be best served with, Data, data, and even more accurate data! Beyond Acord forms, having detailed risk profiles, including historic loss ratios and an overall survey of the business accompanied by in-depth detailed descriptions of operations. Especially important is comparing with the insured their actual operations versus what their website claims, as many websites can be ‘overly ambitious’ and on occasion likely deter or dilute an underwriters enthusiasm. From my own personal experience, I have found using video [and photos] to be highly advantageous in garnering a carriers interest. As far as credits go; that’s in the hands of the underwriter. If the carrier has a strong appetite for the risk, and everything checks out, then with a comprehensive albeit superior submission, I would think most underwriters would apply full credits so as to acquire the business. Keep in mind the above process takes a tremendous amount of time, effort and patience with all parties and as such my own personal opinion is that ahead of taking this major task on, the producer needs a commitment from the insured. Namely being awarded the Broker of Record letter.”
Chuck Hall replied with this answer:
“A quality submission helps build a rep with UW’s. If an agent consistently submits good business with good info, their submission usually ends up at the top of the pile. Pricing should always be based on the risk and not the submission.”
Carly Burnham had this to say:
“Looks like I’m late to respond on this one! The only thing I can possibly add is that in addition to clear, detailed submissions, an understanding of the product and how it’s rates are created can help an agent in providing the kinds of information that will help an underwriter price an account. If the agent knows what the company considers “average” for a class, it is much easier to justify credits or debits.”