Whether writing small, medium, or large-group medical business, the process through which agents and carriers work to underwrite cases can often be arduous and imprecise — but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Carriers differ somewhat in their underwriting philosophy and methods when working with agents, but generally the effectiveness of the process depends on cooperation and close collaboration between agents and carriers, along with the use of high-quality and complete data to accurately measure risk and liability exposure. The more confident an agent is in this regard, the better, particularly when it comes to fundamental facts such as historical and current employee participation, employer contribution, carrier tenure, and rate history. It is also critical to understand large cost claims and the resolution of these claims with regard to ongoing expense.
Without a doubt, cost and claims play a major role, but it is also about the quality of the relationship and the win-win-win results for the agent, client, and carrier. To drive a high-performing, efficient, and effective underwriting process, agents need to do the following:
1. Know the facts of your case – In addition to the underwriting criteria discussed above, agents should gather as much additional employee health and benefits data as possible — along with company financial and industry information — to promote why their case is a good fit for the carrier. Ultimately, agents should make sure they understand the data and presentation format desired by the carrier, do their homework, and submit a high-quality proposal request along with complete and accurate data.
2. Establish and maintain a relationship with the account executive – Agents and the carrier representatives upon whom they rely to quote and renew business share a common bond in that both want to write and retain the business. Frequently, the carrier representative has to have the relationship with the agent to write business, but just as often, the agent has to take the initiative to develop a genuine relationship with their carrier representative. The carrier representative can be a valuable coach in helping to position and present the case to underwriting.