ArticleData Insurance

What is an underwriting workbench?

Anna Burge
Anna Burge22-Nov-2021

Underwriting workbenches are being adopted by underwriters around the world who want to streamline workflows and integrate existing technologies with the latest in AI automation and data-driven decision-making.

Artificial: What is an underwriting workbench?

Underwriters use a wide range of tools on a daily basis, most of which often reside within different parts of an insurer’s tech ecosystem. An underwriter's workbench combines all of these tools together into a single, streamlined interface.

It's important that contemporary underwriters understand what an underwriting workbench is and how it can be used to save time and improve quality for customers. In this article, we'll explore what an underwriting workbench is and why they're becoming increasingly important in today's highly competitive insurance market.

What is an underwriting workbench?

An underwriting workbench is a single control panel that serves as a one-stop shop for underwriting tools and processes. An underwriting workbench supports the entire underwriting process, from the submission stage all the way through to quote and bind.

The workbench is home to various data points, decision-making tools, and documentation that provides a single place for underwriters to manage their entire workload. By opting to use an underwriting workbench, underwriters can ensure a fully integrated experience across multiple devices which further enables simple and convenient working on the go.

An underwriting workbench is not just a tool that underwriters can use to streamline operations and manage their own workloads. It can also empower underwriters to collaborate with others within their company, increasing the quality of underwriting, improving productivity, and transforming the way teams work together.

What are the features of an underwriting workbench?

No two underwriting workbenches need to look exactly the same; in fact, part of the appeal of an underwriting workbench is that underwriters can tailor the design of their workbenches to the needs of their line of business. It's easiest to define an underwriting workbench by illustrating some of the features of a contemporary workbench:

  • A single user-focused dashboard

  • Advanced AI and automation tools

  • Audit and compliance control

  • Secure, cloud-based SaaS technology

  • Real-time MI and operational reporting

  • Full API library

Many underwriting workbenches are cloud-based and AI-assisted, which means they're accessible from wherever you are and capable of automated technology that can reduce an underwriter's workload and increase insurers' capacity for adding value to underwriting services that are then passed onto customers.

Why adopt an underwriting workbench?

The reasons why forward-thinking underwriters should be adopting an underwriting workbench are numerous. When implemented correctly, workbenches link the existing systems and tools together into one seamless control panel, revolutionising the way underwriters work.

A good workbench should integrate easily with legacy systems, meaning insurance companies  needn't overhaul their entire operation just to install an underwriting workbench. Adopting such a tool allows users to quickly switch between individual elements of their work without having to change screens, and individual aspects of the process - including case information and documentation - can easily be viewed at once.

An underwriting workbench can also contribute to discipline and consistency within an insurance company. Installing a workbench can help to standardise underwriting practice among underwriters and even aid the training of new underwriters in a simple and easy-to-follow interface.

A workbench can also be used to inform data-driven decision making by processing data and presenting key takeaways in an easily digestible format. Underwriting workbenches can be customised to incorporate those data sets that insurers are most interested in and paired with AI software to partially automate the underwriting process.

Your workbench should also incorporate standard workflows into its basic interface. This is part of fostering consistency among underwriters, and it can also help to ensure that missing information is flagged and underwriters aren't overburdened with liabilities.

Senior underwriters can also use a workbench to more effectively manage a team, including allocating cases and tracking the performance of individual underwriters. This data can then be used to optimise workflows, mitigate risk, and improve performance and satisfaction among staff.

How to implement an underwriting workbench

Insurance companies wanting to implement an effective underwriting workbench can take a measured approach to its introduction. It's important to consider the ultimate goal of adopting a workbench in the first place. For some insurers, this might mean profitability, for others it might be efficiency or even scale of distribution.

Once the priorities of the underwriting workbench have been established, underwriters can make important decisions on which elements of the workbench are key to these changes. Insurers can design custom workbenches that revolve around their own underwriters' needs by mapping out the underwriter's journey and considering how these user journeys can be improved under a new system.

While workbenches can be built flexibly, it's important that insurers do what they can to ensure that they are truly taking advantage of everything that such a tool can offer. A good workbench joins an insurers tech ecosystem together. It will integrate with existing systems and pull information from real-time external data sources to enhance and support analytics and decision-making on a daily basis.

Are workbenches an insight into the future of underwriting?

An underwriting workbench is not a single technology; instead, it's a place where all of the most cutting-edge underwriting technologies can come together in a single dashboard. There's no doubt that adopting a tailored workbench is a simple way that insurers can streamline workflows and reduce downtime for underwriters, but the tools of the workbench itself are what will change over time.

Contemporary workbenches focus on those aspects of insurance that are currently undergoing reform: data optimisation, digitised documentation, automated workflows, and AI-supported decision-making. Every year, the number of tools in an underwriter's arsenal is expanding, and workbenches will adapt and grow with these changing technologies.

For insurers thinking about what's to come, the workbench should be seen not as a glimpse into the future but as an insight into the present. In today's ever-changing marketplace, it's increasingly important that insurers embrace the latest technologies in order to prepare themselves for the challenges of tomorrow. A seamless ecosystem is now table stakes in the insurance industry.

To hear about Artificial's underwriting workbench tool, get in touch with us.

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