In our last article we discussed how underwriting responsiveness impacts the value of technology transformation.
Underwriting Responsiveness remains the #1 opportunity for P&C carriers to improve their agents’ ease of business experience. In 2020, only 38% of the carriers named in our surveys improved their responsiveness. The others either had declining responsiveness or made no progress.
There is a tremendous opportunity for carriers to innovate and improve in this key relationship factor. However, improvement will not come until P&C leaders intentionally nurture the proper behaviors.
What Is Responsiveness?
When thinking of responsiveness, agents tend to hone in on three overarching behaviors:
First and foremost, agents want quick and easy access to the decision makers that allow them to get their deals done.
Agents need carrier responses to be accurate, complete, and decisive the first time around, or the timeliness of the response means nothing.
Agents who feel as if their carrier contacts care about them perceive those carriers as being more responsive.
Examples of Excellent Responsiveness
The following are representative quotes from agents asked to describe top-performing carriers. These verbatim comments give us insight into what Top Carriers provide as a responsive experience.
“Issues policies and change requests promptly. The policy and endorsements are usually in my email within minutes. Our underwriter usually answers the phone or returns VM or emails promptly.”
“We know who to call when we need to get something done.”
“Accessibility to an underwriter that you can establish a relationship with and call on.”
How to Nurture Responsiveness Among Your Team
First ask yourself, “Does my team always provide the experiences these agents are describing?” If not, you are missing opportunities to attract profitable business. You and your team need to make changes.
Share accountability for responsiveness to agents between yourself and each member of your team. Challenge them to help you set and meet goals. This will increase their engagement in improving a factor that can dramatically impact your agents’ desire to place business with you.
Begin by asking your team to discuss questions such as:
- How does the experience we provide compare to those carriers that are already providing exceptional responsiveness?
- What are the areas of excellence within our company that already provide exceptional responsiveness? How are they doing it?
- What are we doing now to support excellent responsiveness?
- What are the obstacles preventing us from providing excellent responsiveness?
The answers to these questions will point to many ways for the team to make improvements. However, it is very difficult for a team to make lots of changes at once. You can guide them by helping them select 1 to 3 key changes they can make now. Focus them on these first.
Key Take Away
Nurture responsiveness in your team by setting improved responsiveness as a priority, involving team members in identifying opportunities for improvement, focusing on a few key changes at a time, and helping them remove hurdles to success.