Evolving insurance with digital efficiency

How Applied Systems developed solutions to streamline commercial lines

Evolving insurance with digital efficiency


By Mallory Hendry

This article was created in partnership with Applied Systems.

Raghav Tanna (pictured), SVP of commercial lines at Applied Systems, recently needed a new charging cord for one of his kids’ toys. He didn’t have to drive out to a store to pick it up, he simply ordered it on Amazon and it arrived four hours later. He equates this to how he feels the insurance industry should operate. People can call agencies for advice or to ask what types of coverage they have but to simply get information to them, they can send it online — or that’s how it should work, at least.

“As a consumer of insurance, I would much rather send everything digitally and have them call me to say, ‘Here are your options, let’s discuss what’s best for you’,” Tanna says. “Consumers don’t need handholding; they need to be told what’s important. The real agency approach is consultative.”

As Amazon’s same-day delivery shows, the push to online is real and it seems everything other than insurance is now done digitally. But increasingly it seems that’s how consumers want to buy in this industry as well, and agencies need to be willing to deliver.

Building a digital roundtrip of insurance

For brokers, planning for the future is about more than growth, it’s about adapting to the changing needs of the buyer. To that end, Tanna says Applied’s goal is simple: to build a digital roundtrip of insurance.

“Starting from submissions to policy downloads, to information gathering, to quoting carriers and integrations, we want all our pieces to connect,” he elaborated. “Everything should come full circle.”

Providers of cloud-based insurance software and agency management systems for independent agencies, Applied recently realized that commercial lines needed to be more effective and efficient, especially in this hard market. For agencies, small business commercial lines hasn’t been all that profitable and, overall, they found they had to go more to excess and surplus which makes things more challenging. As the industry migrated away from straight-through processing to more full-service applications, Applied realized the workflow needed to encompass all commercial lines and got to work applying that roundtrip mindset.

Applied integrated the application process for small business, mid-market, complex submissions to make the agencies’ lives easier while also ensuring that carriers are getting all the data points they need to properly assess a risk — essentially creating “what all our agencies have been looking for, for years,” Tanna noted.

“We want to make sure that if it touches commercial lines at all it’s in a single workflow where it’s seamless and easy to get data to carriers, and for the carriers to respond to those agency applications.”

Agents operate with two buckets: new business and renewals. For new business, Applied created Tarmika Insured, a solution that allows brokers to compete with direct-to-consumer partners. Embedding the code to the agency website for lead capturing purposes, the data it collects populates an application and allows brokers to submit it to a carrier. Brokers can drive leads to their website or to a link that prompts potential clients to pre-fill their own information.

It can be set up to either get the person a quote then and there or, for those who prefer a more personal approach, it can be submitted directly to the broker. As the expert advisor, the broker can call the interested person armed with a variety of quotes and talk them through some options.

Applied also has a renewal workflow tied to the Applied Epic platform. Within it, agents can remarket to any existing carrier within the Tarmika platform and receive quotes from them with a few clicks of a button.

“If a client is up for non-renewal, if there are any issues, agents can simply remarket,” Tanna summed up. “Or, embed our code on your website and get quotes and data to the right places.”

New or renew, digitally connecting commercial lines delivers ROIs

Submitting applications to carriers through a portal takes an average of 20-30 minutes per carrier. With a rating application like Tarmika or the version available in Applied Epic, one application can be done and submitted to five, six, or seven carriers. If a broker is doing 10 commercial applications a week, they’ll save well over an hour per application. With time savings consistently a top-of-mind issue, using a solution that maximizes efficiency in this way boils down to a full workday of time back to focus on more important items.

If a broker is looking to simplify and streamline processes, there are three steps to winning in commercial lines: plug into technology that connects with your management system, get expanded access to carriers, and embrace automation and connectivity. But critically, Tanna noted, understand that while tech is a definite asset, one solution can’t solve everything.

“Everyone thinks if they have tech in their office that’s the answer, but it’s a tool – you have to know how to use it, and use it in the right way,” Tanna said, using the example that if you need to screw something in, you’re not going to use a hammer. Similarly, using the wrong piece of technology won’t be effective.

“The best way to approach it is to ask yourself, what’s the issue within my agency? Then do research to guide you,” he adds. “You really have to hone in on those problem statements and then thoughtfully integrate the tech solutions that will help solve them.”

Applied Systems can help you get your technology on track. Reach out today for more information.

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