While there are many good reasons to invest in underwriting technology, for Stonetrust Commercial Insurance Company there is really just one primary driver behind everything that we do and that’s delivering exceptional service.
Executive SummaryMichael Dileo, senior vice president of Underwriting and Claims Operations at Stonetrust Commercial Insurance Company, describes why his company invested in modern underwriting technology and how the workers comp carrier leverages the technology to maintain its reputation as a responsive business partner for producers and customers.
Stonetrust is a mid-sized property/casualty insurance carrier, based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Working with more than 350 independent agents in five states, our company writes workers’ compensation coverage for a broad diversity of business classifications. Providing the best possible service to agents has always been our top priority. Our company strives to build and maintain excellent relationships with our producers and we enjoy our reputation as a very responsive business partner.
Recently, however, Stonetrust management recognized that in a fast-changing industry and amid the evolving expectations of a digital economy, conventional workflows, procedures, and tools were often constraining our company from providing the exceptional levels of service that producers and policyholders had come to expect.
In the past, our underwriters were getting overwhelmed by manual processes as most submissions were initiated and addressed by email or fax. We had no way to capture or sift through all the required data at the front end of the application process and our underwriting staff was receiving applications through one automation tool and communicating about them through a separate email platform. Because our underwriters relied on multiple platforms for the intake process and a variety of risk evaluation steps, we had no good way to collaborate with our agents and brokers, or even among our own teams.
To maintain our hard-earned service reputation and to level the playing field with larger carriers, we realized the strategic need to upgrade our entire underwriting process—from the initial point of receiving and evaluating applications all the way through to the quoting, binding, and issuance of policies. In assessing options to become more efficient and responsive, our leadership team wanted to do more than simply catch up with the industry. Driven by a tradition of service excellence, our goal was to be at the front edge of underwriting innovation, supported by technology-driven best practices.
Ultimately, we recognized the need for change as a competitive advantage, and a key differentiating element centered on making our underwriting processes more efficient and timely. In doing so, we would be able to continue delivering distinctive service to our agents, to remain their carrier of choice, and to also gain additional market share.
To realize our vision, we embarked on an underwriting transformation initiative and implemented a modern underwriting workstation solution and agent portal for our underwriters and distribution partners. It is a strategy that has made a world of difference. With a single, flexible underwriting workstation across the enterprise, we are able to proficiently manage and grow the business.
By introducing a new agent portal, our agents gain a streamlined path for submitting applications to Stonetrust. In the past, 75 percent of applications were received through email and then keyed in by underwriting assistants. Today, the adoption of a low-touch, straight-through processing environment means that 80 percent of applications are uploaded directly into the underwriting workstation. Consequently, the application process is much more efficient, eliminating data entry errors and capturing all pertinent information at the outset of the application process.
The company is also leveraging the data-driven capabilities of the underwriting workstation solution to further introduce analytics into our process. The goal is to score submissions based on class to identify more opportunities to write qualified business. Work continues on tapping the system’s expansive potential for analytics. Meanwhile, we have significantly upgraded the abilities of underwriters to access data and to build accurate profiles for thorough risk evaluations, without needing to slow down and locate disparate information. For example, all information gathered for each application is accessible from the same screen as an attachment to the application.
Noteworthy too on a practical level is that a relatively small, cross-functional team of business experts and IT professionals was able to implement the underwriting workstation solution in a matter of months. And the workstation platform integrates seamlessly with our existing policy and financial systems.
Through the implementation of a dedicated underwriting workstation and agent portal solution, the company has optimized underwriting workflows, making the entire risk assessment process more centralized, more efficient, and more interactive. With this technology platform in place, Stonetrust is growing and continuing to exceed the service expectations of both producers and policyholders.