The underwriter of the future is here, now

by Jen Smoldt on January 18, 2018

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about technology, innovation, and the “underwriter of the future.” Well, the underwriter of the future is here, right now in 2018. The technology to streamline and automate property underwriting exists now. And, the hazard data and advanced analytics to select and assess risk with a new level of confidence and precision exist as well. If you’re like me, however, you may sometimes put off trying something new (and better) in favor of the status quo. So, what gives?

I think I know the answer. This year my husband gave me a “Bkool turbo trainer” for Christmas. It’s the latest in cycling trainers, providing a “virtual cycling” experience. Brilliant, I know. I can now climb Alpe d'Huez without even leaving my home gym. Problem is, this new piece of technology just sat there taking up space while I reverted to my old spin bike for training sessions. After numerous passive aggressive comments from my husband about wasting money, I finally had to ask myself, “Why am I resisting trying this?” Answer: time. Time is the problem. I wasn’t willing to take the time to learn something—even if it promised to be better than my old spin bike.

This same problem can be applied to underwriting practices and technology. You know there may be better ways to select risk with more precision and intelligence—but the current way is familiar, “good enough.” Here’s the thing, technology is changing so rapidly it’s hard to say what insurance will look like in 10 years. The business models we know today may be drastically transformed—and that is the future. The here and now, however, presents the opportunity to engage with value-added technology, like my Bkool, “no assembly or calibration required.” 

New generation of underwriting software is enabling on-demand intelligence

Speed to intelligence is a commodity, particularly with hazard risk. And, a new breed of underwriting software is putting up-to-the-minute intelligence into the hands of property underwriters. As Seraina Macia, Executive Vice President and CEO of Blackboard (an AIG company), recently commented, “We want to leverage emerging technology and data science to transform underwriting and claims by providing new tools and better information to the underwriter and claims adjusters to make better and faster decisions.”

Underwriting will continue to evolve just like everything else, and it’s going to continue to get more difficult to keep up unless thoughtful and deliberate steps are taken now. The catastrophes of 2017 serve as reminders that the world is changing. And while we must adapt, we must also recognize that some things are inevitably uncertain (like catastrophe risk, terrorism and political violence), requiring agile and responsive technology to keep pace. Last year’s losses, now the costliest on record for the U.S. at $306 billion, will put pressure on insurers to create competitive advantage through enhanced external data and advanced analytics platforms, like SpatialKey.

I thought my Bkool would be hard and time consuming to get going on. It took me exactly 9 minutes and 37 seconds to create my profile and start pedaling. Don’t be like me and resist trying something new because you don’t have the time or inclination.

Be the underwriter of the future today. Take our underwriting app for a spin (no assembly required). Try it now free for 30 days or 150 location look-ups. 


Topics: Underwriting, property underwriting, underwriting software

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