Why Insurance Experts Should Lead Software Configuration

by Bob Cericola and Mark Nawrath

Adding products to legacy software or to new software system implementations has long been a challenge for insurance companies. While developing your insurance products and filing with the Departments of Insurance (DOIs) in the states where you write business, concurrently defining product requirements and setting up testing can be a considerable challenge if you are working with software vendors who have limited experience managing the complexities of insurance.

Partnering with actuarial and insurance technology experts helps you sidestep common pitfalls so you can bring your new products to market faster. When decades of experience providing actuarial consulting services meet proven insurance technology implementation support expertise, you end up with more accurate, useful insurance product requirement definitions that streamline the path to success.


Though insurance software products are all based on unique, carrier-specific requirements, many share baseline similarities that general software vendors overlook. For example, instead of building systems with the perspective that “this is a uniform product with deviations and company-specific information to match 51 jurisdictional filings,” many software vendors inefficiently capture requirements and re-build the same software 51 times. This lack of expertise slows implementation timelines and exposes your organization to compliance violations – all of which drain the project’s budget and impede speed to market.


Partnering with software vendors who offer “out of the box” software to meet insurance product requirements may seem like a good idea, but their lack of insurance expertise can easily cause misalignment of the system’s output with DOI filings, as well as a mismatch between the system’s back-end data and the real-world requirements of statistical reporting. When entering products into your company’s software, it makes more sense to work with experts who understand how product and workflow configuration impact compliance with statistical agents, rating bureaus and DOIs.

At Perr&Knight, we have established a proven process for defining requirements that is efficient, scalable and meets compliance standards for all 51 U.S. jurisdictions. Our subject matter experts possess the domain knowledge to expedite the configuration, testing and maintenance of carrier-specific insurance products for all rating, underwriting and policy administration systems.


The real economies and efficiencies in insurance product development occur when partnering with seasoned insurance experts from the outset. At Perr&Knight, our decades of actuarial consulting services experience inform our insurance product requirements definition, testing and maintenance solutions. Our StateFilings.com and BureauMonitor solutions are designed to integrate seamlessly with your existing software, empowering you with access to circulars, publications and carrier-defined workflows to initiate, monitor and archive DOI filings in a single repository.


Due to the complexity of insurance products, software requirements must emulate the insurance-specific product requirements from the start. Inaccuracies in product requirements and limitations in testing are common problems that plague companies partnering with vendors that lack insurance experience. Even more serious are the risks that quickly arise from an absence of comprehensive requirements that align with compliance mandates.

Insurance technology experts like those at Perr&Knight can bring spiraling software implementation projects back under control, even if your company has involved outside vendors for development or implementation. However, partnering with Perr&Knight from the start of product ideation and software implementation planning ensures you achieve the best possible economies of time and scale. Because our teams work with internal peers to efficiently develop requirements from the outset, and partner with our clients to define their product requirements to advance software implementations, our clients waste less time and resources moving their software implementation project forward and retroactively solving compliance and reporting issues.


Our insurance technology consulting department is the fastest-growing division of Perr&Knight. This is because carriers, program administrators and Insurtechs recognize the value of working with insurance experts for insurance product requirements definition and testing. Our technology team partners with our actuarial consulting services team to define insurance product requirements documents that truly match software requirements. The result is peace of mind that your implementation process will stay on track to launch your products quickly and begin writing business as soon as possible.

See how our experienced insurance technology consultants can streamline your new product integration. Contact Perr&Knight today.

Technology Tools to Optimize Your State Filings Process

By Patrick Light and Khushboo Jashnani

Though submitting and tracking state filings has improved dramatically over the last decade, many insurance companies are not yet taking full advantage of state filings software and technology that could further improve efficiency and visibility.

Many processes are still locked in emails and Excel spreadsheets on individual computers, decreasing visibility for business partners and other stakeholders. In addition, the lack of a standardized, centralized, and easily accessible repository for state filings increases the workload on insurance companies’ state filing teams.

As consulting and state filing support leaders for some of the nation’s top insurance companies, we have developed innovative state filings software to help our teams increase visibility and control. This industry-leading software, StateFilings.com, is available for our clients to license.

A Streamlined Workflow

StateFilings.com was designed by the state filing experts at Perr&Knight. This advanced, intuitive software streamlines the state filing workflow, enabling greater transparency, accessibility, and efficiency.

Here’s a process demonstrating how this tech-enabled workflow helps state filings departments:

Business Partner Creates a Project

Business partners have a designated role with specific permissions in StateFilings.com. Business partners are generally “read-only.” However, they can enter a new project and hand it off to the state filings unit. Business Partners cannot submit filings or add or edit any other data in the system. A business partner-specific view streamlines their ability to monitor multiple project statuses simultaneously.

Adding and Sharing Documents

Next, the business partner can add documents they want to hand off to the state filings unit. Using the project attachments feature enables the uploading of Word and Excel documents, which can be shared and edited by multiple users simultaneously. Business partners can also create a form template in the exact format that a filer would file it.

Sharing a template with business partners eliminates a manual handoff — the state filings unit can apply the template to a filing instead of re-typing the information into the system.

Read more: 5 reasons why state filings are rejected.

A Smooth, Instant Handoff

After creating the filing template and attaching relevant documents, the business partner changes the project’s status to “Submitted to Filings Unit.” From this point forward, the business partner can no longer edit the project — they are read-only. The system then automatically fires an email to the state filing unit. A state filing analyst can then accept the project and change its status to “Assigned” to begin their review.

Tracking Work in Progress

Once documentation is finalized, the state filing analyst can create filing drafts and change the project status to “Work in Progress,” indicating the filings have started. The analyst can apply templates to multiple filings simultaneously, saving time by eliminating the need to enter form data manually. The state filings software further streamlines the process by enabling analysts to submit numerous filings to SERFF at once.

Authors can include important information and track the status of each filing in real time. Each submission contains inputs for the following:

  • Filing requirements
  • Project expectations (TOI, form/rate/rule, etc.)
  • Peer review tracking and feedback notes
  • Filing submission dates
  • Objection tracking and corresponding follow-up and due dates
  • Approval communications and dates
  • And more

Automated Objection Handling

When an objection is received, built-in email functionality proactively fires an email to all authors, eliminating the need to proactively monitor SERFF. StateFilings.com stores all past objections, enabling data mining and specific information searches. Two-way integration with SERFF allows authors to issue a response directly from StateFilings.com. Consolidation of all filing-related communications saves time by eliminating the need to track down disparate emails.

Automated Approval Notifications

StateFilings.com automatically notifies authors when SERFF issues an approval. API integration enables companies to update external systems upon SERFF approval, further streamlining the workflow and supporting stakeholder visibility.

Advanced State Filings Software Improves Efficiency

Homegrown systems like Excel, email, and hard drive storage may have been cutting-edge technology in the past but are now outdated. Companies still using these non-centralized technologies compromise efficiency and increase the risk of crucial information falling through the cracks.

StateFilings.com consolidates all data to eliminate manual handoffs and improve tracking visibility. Collaboration in a shared platform enables business partners, analysts, and other stakeholders to keep current on all filings while working together toward a common goal.

See how StateFilings.com can improve your filing process. Contact the experts at Perr&Knight to schedule a state filings software demo.

Six Ways Experts Smooth the Transition to a New Policy Admin System

by Scott Whitaker and Bob Cericola

An aging policy administration system may prohibit your organization from reaching its full potential. Functionality limitations, the inability of your system to keep up with new products and terminated support for older systems all stifle productivity and may force your teams to rely on complicated workarounds that fail to hold up against regulatory scrutiny.

Switching to a new policyholder system creates opportunities to elevate efficiency, improve accuracy, and increase profitability. However, failure to adequately prepare may inversely lead to problems such as inaccurate ratings, incorrect forms or versions of forms, delays in implementation, rework and staff frustration.

Unfortunately, your system vendor’s implementation team may only get you so far. Yes, they possess deep technical expertise and know the software inside and out, but they often lack the depth of knowledge on insurance-related specifics and regulatory requirements that can cause trouble in the future.

Instead, consulting with experienced insurance technology and compliance experts helps your organization sidestep the common pitfalls that delay launch and cause budgets to be exceeded.

At Perr&Knight, we have developed robust operations and technology consulting and product design departments to help insurance companies manage digital transformation more smoothly. Here’s how we help our clients successfully transition to a new policy admin platform.

Clarify system requirements documents

A clear understanding and comprehensive documentation of your filings and implementation rules enables us to develop a plan for the appropriate configuration for your new system or to conduct an internal audit.

The complexity of defining requirements and upfront configurations varies greatly depending on whether you use a rating bureau program, an independent/proprietary program, or a mixture of both (which is common for some commercial programs). Clear and complete documentation defines the impact of forms, rates, and rules to your new product, ensuring the new system functions correctly for your organization.

A precise requirements document means everyone can operate from a shared roadmap. Our insurance technology consulting experts put together a comprehensive requirements document, surfacing and addressing any gaps in the process. The more information we have upfront, the better equipped we are to help you succeed.

Vendor selection consulting

Determining which platform best suits your needs is not always straightforward. Unfortunately, different solutions do not offer apples-to-apples comparisons, leaving you to parse through the details of various platforms to determine if they will be suitable to handle your requirements. What you don’t know that you don’t know may reveal itself after you have selected a vendor and implementation is well underway.

Consulting with insurance technology specialists before deciding on a vendor provides peace of mind. We dig into the details on your behalf, asking vendors pointed questions about your unique business requirements to ensure the proposed solution delivers the highest ROI.

Correct configuration of the new platform

This sounds like a given, but insurance companies often fall into this trap. Third-party vendors hired to manage the transition often lack deep experience in regulatory compliance. Because every state has subtle but important differences in reporting requirements, working with experienced insurance technology consultants ensures your new system is configured to meet compliance standards in every jurisdiction your organization does business.

Too many companies begin implementation and are confronted with a harsh wake-up call when the output is not what they expected from their new policy admin system. But front-end configuration drives the back-end data sets. Therefore, when configuring your new system, we consider the regulatory compliance demands required on the back end. At Perr&Knight, we have extensive forms, rate, rule, and regulatory compliance knowledge and the technical expertise to ensure your output is accurate.

Rating bureau data extracts that are mismatched with expectations are one of the signs of a problem with the new system. Unfortunately, we have seen these errors take insurance companies by surprise when suddenly facing a complaint, data call, or other regulatory inquiry. Of course, reactively remedying misalignment is always possible and often increases costs and delays implementation. Being proactive is preferable, more economical, and allows for a smoother and more timely implementation.

Make sure data is compliant before migrating to the new system

The data you input into your new platform has significant downstream implications. Data input into the policy system feeds forms, claims, statistical reporting, and so on. Inaccuracies in your input can quickly cause data drift that will negatively impact reporting, exposing your organization to increased regulatory attention, especially if the state(s) where you operate issue a data call or request for more information.

Too many companies shift their data over to a new platform without taking the time to determine whether their data is still “good quality.” Taking the time to make sure your input is compliant before migration saves the expensive time drain of trying to clean up data after the transition. Our insurance data specialists can conduct a full audit of your data to evaluate compliance before migrating to your new system.

Schedule a mock market conduct exam

With so many variables in play, a current assessment ensures your existing policy admin system and data are correct and ready for your new system. As part of our Compliance Operations Assessment & Training (COAT) services, Perr&Knight’s compliance experts evaluate rates, rules and forms produced from the current system.

Determining whether your existing policy admin system is accurate before switching to a new platform is a small upfront investment that pays off significantly down the line. This assessment protects you from unplanned and expensive updates to your new system, after all your data has been input and policies have been issued. In addition, it reduces the likelihood of consumer impact (e.g., confidence), unnecessary financial impact (e.g., interest due) and brand reputational harm.

Get ahead of the issues by partnering with experts

Trusting insurance technology experts like Perr&Knight during the planning phase is the most cost-effective way to manage a successful transition. Not only can we surface and address your current platform’s shortcomings, but we can also outline a plan to correctly configure your new system and ensure your existing data is clean and compliant before migration. That said, if you find yourself facing unexpected difficulties at any time during an implementation, we can always apply our insurance-specific technology expertise to help you get back on track quickly and cost-effectively.

Switching to a new policy admin system will always be complicated but partnering with experts means it doesn’t have to be a headache.

Contact the insurance operations and technology specialists at Perr&Knight today to discuss how we can help you make change more manageable.

Managing State Filings Just Got Easier

Updating and tracking filings in the System for Electronic Rates & Forms Filing (SERFF) has always been a tedious, time-consuming process for state filings departments at insurance companies. Manual data entry runs the risk of human error and creates the potential for information loss. Both of which can slow the filing pace or set the whole process back to zero with a disapproval.

When Perr&Knight introduced our proprietary StateFilings.com software in 2015, we knew the ability to submit and track filing information from a single, real-time cloud-based platform would save state filings teams a significant amount of time and guard against the minor errors that can negatively impact approvals. For years, companies were manually downloading filing documents from SERFF, entering the filing details into their state filing management system, and sending out filing status reports to interested parties. Those days are over. All of this has been automated through StateFilings.com. Filings departments have been freed to dedicate more time to addressing DOI requests and objections, which helps speed up the time to approval for filings and has a direct impact on a company’s bottom line.

Two-way communication with SERFF is here

Though the initial version and subsequent updates of StateFilings.com was a massive time-saver and a huge help for state filings departments, there was just one piece missing: the system only worked in one direction. Filings departments could use StateFilings.com to monitor information coming from state Departments of Insurance (DOIs) but initiating new filings and uploading information to SERFF still required lengthy manual processes on SERFF’s cumbersome website. Now, we are excited to say that the 4.0.0 release of StateFilings.com has solved the communication challenge by enabling two-way exchange functionality with SERFF. This update streamlines the filing process for insurance companies even further.

StateFilings.com’s recently launched system upgrade uses a two-way API to push data into SERFF, so users are no longer required to access the SERFF website directly. Instead, the entire scope of state filings management can be handled on a single platform via a streamlined, intuitive interface.

A recap of StateFilings.com’s capabilities

As mentioned above, we developed the StateFilings.com software to accelerate the filing process by streamlining workflows for insurance company state filing departments. Because we used this software internally for many years before licensing it to our clients, we knew the platform provided measurable value.

In place of the time-consuming manual processes most state filing departments relied on, our software harnesses the power of technology to manage and automate many mundane (but crucial) state filings tasks. Here are some of the system’s key features and benefits:

  • A cloud-based system enables 24/7 access
  • User-level security and role-based permissions protect sensitive data
  • Filing management (including status)
  • Objection and response library
  • Forms libraries for document management
  • Real-time information updates

More useful features

This year’s upgrades to StateFilings.com build on all the features and functionality above, further streamlining the filing process. Here’s how:

Work while SERFF is down

Users can continue to access and review filings, even if SERFF experiences problems.

‘Note to Reviewer’ improvements

Users are now able to submit notes to DOI reviewers en masse across multiple filings and projects. Editable temple language ensures consistency and cuts down on time spent drafting emails.

Filing cloning ability

Users can create a single countrywide draft and with one “save-as” clone for all 50 states, instead of one by one. When submitting to more than one state, generating multiple clones of one filing with a single click eliminates the repetitive process of filing initiation.

Scheduled item template enhancements

Create and update your scheduled item templates for each project and then save time by applying a template to multiple filings at once instead of having to import the template into each individual filing.

Developed specifically for insurance companies

The SERFF system was a major industry breakthrough for insurance companies who were accustomed to filing paperwork via mail or fax. However, as times have changed, state filings departments have increased the demand for a streamlined, user-friendly experience that mimics many of the other digital tools in the modern office suite.

We applied our decades of experience providing insurance support services for products in every line of business to develop a straightforward but powerful tool based on the realities of companies’ state filing department workflows.

The updated StateFilings.com is the latest advancement to accelerate the filing process, enabling insurance companies to be more efficient with their time and more cost-effective overall.

Interested in learning more about what StateFilings.com can do for your business? Schedule a demo today.

How Perr&Knight Defends Your Data

Authors: Tigran Karsian and Dana Pagliarulo, PMP, PMI-ACP

Data security has always been essential, but recent spikes in ransomware and public data dumps of sensitive information are a rising threat. Failure to control data can expose insurers to stiff penalties from regulators, compromise a company’s hard-earned reputation, or stop business in its tracks.

Unfortunately, securing internal systems is only half the battle. Most insurance companies partner with third-party providers for various business operations. Failure on their part to uphold high information security standards could cost your company dearly.

Security risks come in many forms, some more obvious than others. Accidental exposure of protected data, phishing, and other social engineering attacks, malicious and non-malicious insider attacks, ransomware, and data loss during a cloud transition are all ways sensitive company data could become compromised.

According to the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach in the United States in 2020 was $8.6 million. But data breaches do more than cost money—they have the potential to do major damage to a company’s reputation, workflow, and morale.

At Perr&Knight, “data security” is more than a talking point. It’s an essential part of how we provide superior service to our clients. Here are some of the ways we elevate the standard for data security to defend our clients.

SOC 2® Type 2 Certification

Our SOC 2 type 2 certification shows our clients we have established clear protocols for protecting their data and we continually live up to our own high standards.

Developed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), SOC 2 outlines criteria for managing customer data based on five “trust service principles”: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

Type 2 certification is an internal controls report capturing how we safeguard customer data and how well our controls operate in practice. SOC 2 type 2 certification requires outlining all our data security processes, including data storage, log-in access, credentialing processes, data transfer protocols, and more. Our SOC 2 reporting process covers all internal policies as well as how we manage data in our proprietary insurance support software, including StateFilings.com, StatReporter, and License Reporter.

We then produce documentation verifying we have achieved these standards upon annual audit, conducted by a qualified third party. In contrast to SOC 2 type 1 reporting which is only done once, type 2 requires annual review.

Network Monitoring by Crowdstrike

Our network is protected by Crowdstrike, an industry leader in monitoring and blocking malicious actors. Unlike automated or semi-automated systems, Crowdstrike’s service agreement includes monitoring by experienced network operation center (NOC) analysts. This is significant because humans are better able to distinguish traffic anomalies than software-only solutions, reducing the risk of a threat slipping through the cracks.

Proactive Penetration Testing

A network is only as strong as its ability to withstand attack—and it’s impossible to tell how network security will hold up unless an attack takes place. We proactively attempt to penetrate our own network defenses to reveal vulnerabilities before we find ourselves in a real-world data security emergency.

Working with Trustwave for network penetration testing and Elliot Davis for application penetration testing, we attempt to “hack” our own system on two fronts: from outside the organization and within the company. Separation of sensitive systems ensures data is partitioned and protected should a breach ever occur in one aspect of the organization.

By “pen testing” our applications, such as our industry-leading StateFilings.com app, we ensure our entire suite of technologies is robust enough to withstand brute force attacks or any other attempts to gain unauthorized access.

Exceeding Client Expectations

During decades of serving insurance companies of all sizes in all lines of business, Perr&Knight has worked with every type of organization, from newly-minted InsurTech start-ups to carriers with long histories. Each of these organizations has a different type and depth of data security needs.

In fact, top 10 insurance client security audits are often more intense than even SOC 2 type 2 audits, but Perr&Knight passes with flying colors every time. In many ways, our clients’ questionnaires mimic SOC 2 audits. As a result, we continually re-evaluate our security processes, adjusting our policies to ensure we stay ahead of our clients’ requirements.

A Rigorous Process—But Worth It

Perr&Knight dedicates extensive resources to data security and ensuring we live up to our own high standards. Our clients trust us with their data and we take that responsibility seriously. Other companies may do the bare minimum, which is technically sufficient, but the disaster resulting from a breach makes cutting corners unacceptable. We invest heavily in maintaining strict processes and top-tier technology, but no price is too high for peace of mind.

Work with the leaders in actuarial consulting and insurance operations consulting. Contact Perr&Knight today.

Digital Transformation: Old Wine in New Bottles?

So much of what we find new and exciting requires what we too often write off as outmoded.
Today’s insurance technology initiatives are increasingly motivated by our latest term of art, digital transformation. We love to throw those words around as if they represent some magical incantation that, when invoked, will produce brilliant solutions that lift us to otherwise unattainable competitive positions, as masterworks of art that evoke feelings of awe eons after their original creation.
Of course, we’ve been “digitally transforming” for decades. Setting aside the nineteenth-century innovations of Charles Babbage for a moment, modern “digital” computing is easily traced at least as far back as 1945 with the introduction of ENIAC, “the first programmable, general-purpose electronic digital computer”.[1] The intervening years have seen a remarkable explosion of computing power. Famously, the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) used to put men on the moon in 1969, with its 2 MHz CPU speed, had roughly the same computing power as a twenty-five year-old Nintendo Entertainment System (1.8 MHz). An old iPhone 4 (2010), with its 800 MHz CPU speed, outgunned the $32 million Cray 2 supercomputer (1985) by a factor of three (244 MHz).[2] And today’s iPhone 12 (2.99 GHz) and Sony PlayStation 5 (3.5 GHz) make those computing milestones seem quaint.
The growth in computing power, and therefore the number of practical applications that can be handled by affordable computers, has been astonishing. Indeed, it has made the aspirations of computer scientists who only dreamed about artificial intelligence and virtual reality just a few decades ago – dreams because they would require rooms full of very expensive hardware – available to the masses in tiny packages for very modest sums.
So it follows that today when we hear about insurers wishing to undertake digital transformation initiatives, we understand that their desire is to leverage today’s massive computing power to gain a competitive advantage. Otherwise, we’re simply talking about modernization, which was all the rage way, way back in 2015. Today’s initiatives have the far more ambitious goal of producing novel solutions, in the sense that competitors haven’t yet discovered – let alone adopted – them, and so they’re in a very real sense disruptive.
But disruption comes out of tolerance for mistakes. Disruption comes from having the wherewithal to experiment and fail repeatedly. Disruption comes from having the courage to engage in radically candid conversations laced with dissent and debate. So disruption can only happen if the company culture permits it to happen – an idea antithetical to an insurance company’s traditional mission, which is to avoid undue risk.
This frosty bit of insight begs an entirely different approach to insurance company operations that goes well beyond technology. Famously linear thinkers, insurance professionals have historically worked to place a price x on some risk y in anticipation of a positive return z. We press this button and that happens. Of course, this approach has turned out to be of dubious value, evidenced by the prevalence of combined ratios that exceed the century mark. Instead, a confluence of factors in a variety of dimensions conspire to destroy our bottom lines, if not our innocence: Geopolitics. The environment. Social movements. Generational sensibilities. Competitive moves. Regulatory constraints. Human psychology. Solar flares?! And yes, the rapid pace of technological change. After all, how popular was cyber insurance – arguably influenced by each of those factors – in 1950?
Woke (forgive me, but the term seems to work in this context, too) insurers have accepted this. And so their efforts are directed toward aggregating not just traditional datasets that populate rating algorithms or underwriting rules, but those many ancillary bits of information that influence risk selection and loss potential in a far more informed (read: non-linear) way. They utilize Big Data. They leverage artificial intelligence. They employ dedicated predictive analytics units. They automate routine operational processes. They invest in new technology. And they adopt change management programs to support those initiatives. That’s a long list of expensive undertakings for a smaller insurer. But that’s the world in which they have to compete.
Middle-tier regionals with relatively modest means must contend with tiny upstarts with tens of millions in capital investment unburdened by years of legacy operations on one end, and multi-billion dollar behemoths spinning off autonomous innovation centers on the other, for their share of the hundreds of billions of premium dollars blown skyward by the shattering of preconceived notions.
And so we arrive at the intersection of culture and technology, of art and science, of hard skills and soft skills. In an industry famously fixated on risk avoidance and profit margins, this juncture becomes an especially challenging moment in time. Indeed, a quick review of recent literature on disruption in the insurance industry makes scant mention of the behavioral changes that must accompany any radical innovation, both within an organization among its constituents and outside among its customers and suppliers.
The impact on many well-established insurers? InsureTech startups are eating their lunch. That is, unless those veteran organizations were prescient (and well-capitalized) enough to develop their own skunkworks, separate and apart from their core organizations in order to permit the risk-tolerant cultures found in their more nimble adversaries. That’s fine if you’re a major player, one of the billion-dollar insurers who can afford separately funded venture arms, or an agile start-up with fifty million smackers to burn. But what of the middle tier, those thousands of regional insurers vying for market share in the face of old threats (mainstays) and new (InsureTechs)?
The obvious answer is they need to think a little differently. With no discretionary trove of millions to casually deploy, the focus must be on manifesting beneficial change. And beneficial change begins with vision, culture, and leadership – not bits and bytes. Old wine in new bottles, you might say.
I’m not suggesting plastering office walls with poster-sized admonitions to “embrace change,” nor am I suggesting that beneficial change is a thing that happens if you hire the right consultants. I am suggesting, however, that with all of the marvels of technology available in the twenty-first century, it’s still people who matter most. It’s still paying attention to what motivates – inspires – every individual responsible for the welfare of the organizations in which they toil that separates leaders from laggards. And most importantly, it’s regularly respecting and acknowledging their contributions to ensure they stay focused and motivated, long after the paint is dry on that beautifully executed automation project.
Of course, standard “tactical” practices for operational improvements and technology deployments involving proven toolsets for workflow analysis, business process design, and technical project management are essential for a successful digital transformation initiative. But no amount of funding will replace the unbridled enthusiasm of a group of colleagues setting out to effect change for the better. It’s that enthusiasm and commitment that drive organizations to prosperity; it is rarely prosperity – and never technology – that drives individuals to become enthused if they’re not adequately engaged and committed to the work they do.

Contact Perr&Knight to support your digital transformation initiative with experienced project managers, business analysts, and process improvement experts well-versed in the ‘people part’ of transformation, who can assist with the requirements management, process redesign, and change management capabilities that are essential for any such project.

[1] Swaine, M. ENIAC. (n.d.). Britannica. Retrieved January 25, 2021 from https://www.britannica.com/technology/ENIAC
[2] Routley, N. (2017, November 4). Visualizing the trillion-fold increase in computing power. Visual Capitalist. https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-trillion-fold-increase-computing-power/.

Improve State Filing Efficiency, Even Working Remotely

Authors: Jessica Witvoet API, AIS, AINS, AIT, Diane Karis AINS, CPCU, and Neresa Torres
Many insurance companies were faced with a difficult transition when state or county orders meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 forced some or all of their staff to stay home earlier this year. Those who weren’t prepared for extensive remote working scrambled to set up secure systems easily accessible by employees unable to return to the office where servers, desktop computers and physical files are stored.
Because of Perr&Knight’s five regional offices across the United States, we’ve already had extensive experience using digital tools to collaborate from geographically dispersed locations. Our state filings support team conducts the majority of our work online using sophisticated web-based software, enabling us to work together seamlessly from anywhere.
StateFilings.com is a proprietary software tool we use internally to provide insurance filings support for our clients. It is also available for subscription, so insurance companies can more efficiently manage their own rate, rule and form filings.
StateFilings.com enables companies to maintain the pace and accuracy of filings even when working offsite. The software includes built-in features controlling three aspects of the process: project management, research and workflow. Here’s how these tools support the entire scope of insurance product filings support. 

Project Management

Because all aspects of our form filings services are online – including access to SERFF – StateFilings.com updates all phases of the project in real-time and provides visibility to team members who have been granted access. This means an individual can create and submit a filing to a DOI and others can see exactly what has been done and how far along the filing is in the approval process.
This real-time visibility eliminates the need for lengthy internal back-and-forth communication via email and enables all members of the state filings department to provide support or peer review without a cumbersome catch-up process.
On our end, easy access and full transparency for all filings enable our state filings support team to process any countrywide filing project within ten business days. Insurance companies who subscribe to StateFilings.com for their own filings departments also report that access to a single, user-friendly filing repository has dramatically increased their efficiency.
Real-time processing also eliminates the need to regularly check with DOIs to monitor actions. StateFilings.com has access to SERFF via a secure API, so the system automatically downloads approvals or objections and updates project status automatically. Dispositions trigger automatic emails noting the filing has been closed, along with a link to the approval. This high level of automation simultaneously eliminates time-consuming batch processing and ensures individuals in filing departments always have instant access to current information.


StateFilings.com can be utilized as a research tool to evaluate various historic countrywide projects. We use StateFilings.com to enhance our insurance product filings support by checking previous filings to determine particular jurisdictional nuances that may impact our clients’ filings. We can also calculate the average DOI turnaround time by state and line of business to accurately gauge the anticipated time to approval for similar filings.
The software also keeps approved forms and rates and rules on file, accessible via the web. By removing the need to house this information on location-specific servers, filing department staff can quickly review important information, even while working remotely.
Companies who subscribe to StateFilings.com have access to all these features for their own current and historic filings.

Workflow Assignment 

Activity Manager allows users to view outstanding items on a filing including the activity type, due dates and follow up dates for any state included in a project. Assignments can be divided by line of business or state, providing at-a-glance insight into outstanding issues with filings, project assignments and approval status. Work load can quickly be determined, delegated and easily reassigned within Activity Manager to one or multiple users. This functionality allows our team’s supervisor to ensure efficiency and productivity so that we may deliver the most value to our customers.
This level of organization is also helpful for quickly onboarding new members to the State Filings Department. Access to historical filings enables new employees to easily review submitted information, required materials, questions from regulators and any notes made during previous filings.
Because of our nationwide presence and focus on technology, Perr&Knight has been structured to support virtual collaboration for years now, so the shift to remote work was not disruptive to our workflow. We know many of the tools and processes we employ can help other insurance companies improve productivity and get their products to market faster, even in today’s uncertain climate. For insurance filings support, StateFilings.com has been a crucial asset to our business model and we have seen it help other companies achieve the same high level of filing efficiency. 

Perr&Knight is ready to help you add the technological assistance and advantage of Statefilings.com to your organization. Contact Perr&Knight today to talk.

Digital Transformation: Are You Sure You’re Ready?

Motivations behind digital transformation initiatives usually involve improving speed, cost, or quality of products or services. Migrating to the cloud, increasing mobility, implementing robotic process automation (RPA), deploying intelligent automation solutions, or capitalizing on data from the internet of things (IoT) all have the power to profoundly impact an insurance company’s competitive standing – if not their very survival.
With 67% of insurers considering implementing digital transformation initiatives over the next twelve to eighteen months[1], companies not considering these changes will soon be left behind.
However, undertaking an initiative too hastily may overlook critical organizational considerations likely to inflate project costs and jeopardize the success of the program.
Throughout hundreds of insurance technology consulting engagements, we have identified five phases comprising successful preparation for every tech project: Initiate, Design, Experiment, Prioritize, and Plan. Each is a valuable component of the process which, if executed carefully and correctly, has the potential to double the chances of success of your IT project.
In this article, we’ll cover an often-overlooked – but vitally important – aspect of the Initiate phase: determining your readiness to even begin.

The Picture Is Bigger Than You Think

Because every company’s systems are so deeply intertwined, each affects more aspects of the business than may be initially apparent. Even if equipped with good intentions, simply jumping into major structural or process changes can create serious roadblocks for other departments or processes down the line.
In our decades providing insurance technology consulting services, we have seen dozens of costly – and avoidable – challenges arise when companies implement new initiatives without adequately ascertaining the impact of their project on the whole of the organization. It’s not uncommon for organizations to discover their planned initiative reflects only a superficial portion or “end of the line” aspect of the required change, when they should plan for complementary tech upgrades or cultural impacts in other departments as well.
By “preparing to prepare,” you determine your organizational readiness to undertake any transformation – digital or otherwise. And, taking a holistic view reveals the true scope of the initiative, one that may extend well beyond initial expectations.

Conduct a Readiness Assessment

We believe so strongly in the value of determining whether organizational readiness supports – or inhibits – a project’s ultimate success that we have designed a comprehensive organizational Readiness Assessment.
Conducted during a sixty- to ninety-minute web meeting, the assessment reviews key questions about your organization to determine its level of readiness in six areas of your business: Personnel, Processes, Technology, Metrics, Governance, and Environment.
The assessment drills down into a range of relevant factors:

  • Personnel availability
  • Team skills
  • Individual and team empowerment
  • Staff commitment
  • Impact of program on processes
  • Process indoctrination
  • Benefits realization
  • Technology infrastructure
  • Software considerations
  • Interfaces
  • Metrics definitions
  • Visibility into KPIs
  • Response to met or unmet KPIs
  • Extent of existing program planning
  • Program organization
  • Program procurement
  • Program implementation & deployment
  • Program support, monitoring & evaluation
  • Physical location
  • Company culture
  • Team morale
  • Other business-specific considerations

Readiness Assessment for Insurance Technology

A page out of Perr&Knight’s Digital Transformation Readiness Workbook

Answers to straightforward questions on these subjects reveal a clear picture of your organization’s strengths and weaknesses in areas with the potential to impact the result of your transformation initiative. This valuable contextual view enables your team to further develop your strategy before beginning project planning, in order to avoid playing costly catch-up later.
The results of this exercise create the foundation for the remaining four steps of preparation for your project. In addition to determining your level of readiness overall, this assessment provides a useful starting point to prioritize areas for work before and during your digital transformation initiative.

Readiness Assessment Results by Perr&Knight

The results area of Perr&Knight’s Digital Transformation Readiness Workbook

Preparation Is Important – But So Is a Tolerance for Risk

Successfully executing any major change requires commitment, tenacity, and a risk tolerance from leadership and the organization as a whole. To promote innovation, there must be support for experimentation and a willingness to endure the challenges of repeatedly failing, learning, and failing again before success finally takes root. The values that represent your organizational culture are crucial – if individuals are punished for failure, they will cease to experiment, and innovation will become a distant hope rather than a realized goal.
Gaining a thorough understanding of the benefits of a successful endeavor balanced against the pitfalls that lie ahead – even before approaching the starting line – gives you a much stronger chance of completing a successful digital transformation initiative and truly remake the way you do business.
To support the insurance industry’s unprecedented embrace of digital transformation, the workshop is being offered by Perr&Knight on a complimentary basis to organizations contemplating any type of transformation project. The accompanying readiness workbook and resulting assessment will be provided at the workshop’s conclusion.

Interested? Contact Perr&Knight today and carve out just ninety minutes to significantly increase the likelihood of a successful digital transformation initiative – ready or not.

[1] SOURCE: 2020 Financial Services Digital Transformation Survey, BDO

The Race to Autonomous Vehicles

The $2 trillion global automotive industry is ripe for disruption from autonomous vehicle technologies that make driving safer, more energy-efficient and more convenient. Driver error causes more than 9 out of 10 crashes.  Autonomous vehicles are robots on wheels that eliminate driver perception, distraction and incapacitation errors. While cybersecurity risk poses a safety threat, there is little doubt that robots can drive better than humans under normal conditions. Most autonomous vehicles are powered by eco-friendly, zero-emission electric batteries, and they are designed to drive safely and efficiently. Autonomous vehicles offer limitless opportunities for convenience by changing the driver into a passenger.
Following several years of product and strategy improvements along with making progress in gaining regulatory approvals for road testing, the major players are emerging in the race to commercialize fully autonomous vehicles. To name a few, Waymo started as Google’s self-driving car project and is a self-driving taxi service currently operating in Phoenix, Arizona with a pilot program for employees in California. Waymo is the largest active self-driving company in terms of daily miles driven. General Motors’ Cruise provides an autonomous ride-hailing service for its employees in San Francisco and recently unveiled plans for its fully autonomous Origin with no steering wheel or pedals. Volkswagen and Ford have made large investments in self-driving software company Argo AI with plans to implement Argo AI’s software in new vehicles in the early 2020s. Uber is heavily investing in replacing its human fleet with a driverless fleet. Startups like Optimus Ride and Pony.ai have launched self-driving ride-hailing services in designated areas of cities like Brooklyn’s Navy Yard.
These companies have really smart people, breakthrough technologies and deepening pockets. And they are all watching Tesla whiz by in the race to commercialize autonomous vehicles.
Here are several reasons why.


Tesla’s autonomous vehicle system primarily uses cameras to identify stationary and moving objects in the vehicle’s surroundings. Radar and other sensors are used to help see in dark and adverse weather conditions. The Autopilot system is a standard feature and currently qualifies Teslas for SAE Level 2 Automation, which means it can handle all aspects of driving under certain conditions, but the driver must be ready to intervene at all times. Tesla deploys the hardware needed for self-driving in all of its vehicles sold to consumers, and they use the hardware to train artificial intelligence systems called neural networks that are designed to automatically improve with new data.
Virtually all major players except Tesla are using LiDAR technology to build autonomous vehicles. LiDAR is a sensor system that measures reflections from laser pulses to build a 3D representation of the environment around the vehicle. Geofencing is used to define spatial boundaries, and detailed maps of the terrain and objects within the geofence are developed. The self-driving car projects the sensor data on top of the map to gather information and determine the safest path.
Proponents of LiDAR argue the technology is crucial to reliably assess and measure the environment around the car in all conditions. Argo AI describes a “street-by-street, block-by-block” mindset[1] underlying their LiDAR-based technologies to make self-driving vehicles safe and accepted by society. The goal of this approach is SAE Level 4 Automation, which does not require any human intervention in limited spatial areas.
Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder and CEO, criticized the use of LiDAR in autonomous vehicles at Tesla’s 2019 Autonomy Day event. “In cars, it’s freaking stupid. It’s expensive and unnecessary…once you solve vision, it’s worthless. So you have expensive hardware that is worthless on the car.”[2] He has a point. Although the per unit cost of LiDAR is dropping, it still costs a few thousand dollars per vehicle. Researchers at Cornell University found that cameras can detect objects with near the precision of LiDAR at a fraction of the cost[3]. Also, developing capacity for LiDAR use by geofencing and mapping communities is costly and slow whereas camera-based systems can be employed in cars anywhere in the world.  Musk’s goal for Tesla is SAE Level 5 Automation, which does not require any human intervention with no spatial limitations.


Training a self-driving car requires a lot of data. Tesla has over 3.3 billion Autopilot miles and 22.5 billion miles in Tesla vehicles[4] from its fleet approaching 1 million units sold worldwide. On an average day, Tesla collects approximately 650x more driving data than Waymo.[5] Tesla feeds the vast amount of data it is collecting into its advanced neural networks, which use the data to improve the vehicle’s ability to predict common behaviors as well as behaviors for rare situations that are difficult to simulate. Although Autopilot is currently intended only for use on highways, Tesla is using the data it gathers in all environments to train its cars how to handle intersections, traffic lights and pedestrians.


Many autonomous vehicle companies are partnering with automotive companies to implement their self-driving platform into new vehicles. Waymo has equipped several types of cars with its self-driving equipment. Argo AI partnered with Ford and Volkswagen to roll out its autonomous vehicle technology in both the U.S. and Europe. Daimler has partnered with Baidu to equip Baidu’s Apollo program, an open-source autonomous vehicle platform, onto Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz vehicles to test self-driving vehicles in Beijing, China.
Tesla is an automotive company and an autonomous vehicle company, allowing the company to fully integrate hardware and software autonomous vehicle specifications into its vehicle design and build processes. Large automobile companies typically source their parts from suppliers all over the world who can meet their quality demands at the lowest cost. Tesla learned the dangers of a global supply chain the hard way when its Model X deliveries fell far short of demand in early 2016 caused by a shortage of parts from a supplier. Tesla has moved many parts manufacturing operations in-house, which has led to new types of batteries, seats, motors, windows and other parts that differentiate Tesla from the competition. Bringing parts manufacturing in-house allows Tesla to be flexible and nimble in pushing improvements into its products. Musk noted Tesla pushed 20+ improvements per week into the product development process of Model S[6]. Tesla’s culture of continuous improvement is key for automation where iterative development is required to make driverless cars safe.


Most autonomous vehicle companies are intending to provide ride-hailing services. These companies are making big bets on the future of shared vehicles, but they don’t have much choice. Consumers do not want to buy a personal automobile that doesn’t operate outside of the town’s geofence, and the LiDAR-based system is costly equipment to pass on to the consumer. A vehicle-sharing model makes sense in highly congested urban areas where parking space is limited, but it will not displace personal automobiles anytime soon. Car owners value the accessibility and independence of having their own vehicle. Also, in the new era of social distancing and extra health safety precautions, vehicle sharing and ride sharing faces serious headwinds.
In contrast, when Musk and the regulators determine Tesla’s fully autonomous vehicle technology is safe for use, a simple over-the-air software update can transform Tesla’s automobile fleet into a fleet of driving robots with human-driver capabilities.
In 2019, Musk predicted Tesla’s self-driving vehicle technology will be feature-complete by the end of 2020. While this timeframe seems overly aggressive, I hesitate to doubt Musk. After all, one of Musk’s other companies, SpaceX, just became the first private company to send humans into orbit, and the company is seeking to send humans to Mars and beyond. Compared to space travel, teaching robots to drive safely at 55 miles per hour is a manageable problem.
In reality, there will be room for many winners in the autonomous vehicle market. Global automakers like Volvo, BMW, Nissan and Toyota have stumbled out of the gates in building self-driving vehicles, but they continue to invest and will not be far behind. Ride-hailing startups could shift consumer preferences on car ownership if people are able to order a ride on their phone anytime, anywhere. Autonomous vehicles have the potential to be used for a multitude of purposes including for commercial cargo transportation and in vehicles used for urban commuting or long-distance transit.

The time is now to start planning your insurance needs for the autonomous vehicle age.  Contact our product development and product design experts for help.

[1] https://www.argo.ai/2019/09/the-argo-ai-approach-to-deploying-self-driving-technology-street-by-street-block-by-block/
[2] https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/24/18512580/elon-musk-tesla-driverless-cars-lidar-simulation-waymo
[3] https://www.therobotreport.com/researchers-back-teslas-non-lidar-approach-to-self-driving-cars/
[4] https://lexfridman.com/tesla-autopilot-miles-and-vehicles/#:~:text=The%20following%20is%20a%20plot,Tesla%20vehicles%3A%2022.5%20billion%20miles
[5] https://towardsdatascience.com/why-teslas-fleet-miles-matter-for-autonomous-driving-8e48503a462f
[6] https://www.caradvice.com.au/367472/tesla-model-s-gains-20-engineering-changes-per-week/

Monitor Agent Licensing in Real Time with License Reporter

Maintaining current licensing information for insurance-producers is a crucial but time-consuming task. Many agencies are still tracking upcoming renewals and expirations on spreadsheets housed on internal servers or individual computers. This approach might work reasonably well, provided agents are licensed in a limited number of jurisdictions.
However, when more agents are added to the roster (or an agency expands their services into more territories, or the one person who has been tasked with monitoring renewals for the last decade leaves the organization), keeping track of the details can quickly devolve into a paperwork nightmare.
Perr&Knight has been offering renewals as part of our insurance licensing services for years. Our team submits, monitors and tracks producer licensing in all jurisdictions across all lines of business. Eight years ago, we developed software enabling us internally to track and monitor licensing status. We have recently released an updated version that our insurance licensing clients now have the ability to access via online portal.

Introducing the new License Reporter

LicenseReporter.com is Perr&Knight’s online license reporting solution for our current insurance licensing services clients. This web-based software permits clients to log in via any web-enabled device to check the status of recent, past, and upcoming renewals. While our licensing department team continues to manually manage the submission of forms to state Departments of Insurance (DOI) on behalf of insurance agents and agencies, LicenseReporter.com enables our clients to access a transparent view of the various licensing processes.
Using LicenseReporter.com, license and appointment data can be searched by a range of key criteria, including:

  • Agent Name
  • Agency Name
  • Agency & Affiliated Agents
  • State
  • Expiration Dates (date range)
  • Line of Authority
  • License Type

Increase transparency, reduce risk

LicenseReporter.com provides a new level of transparency into the insurance licensing and renewals timeline on a nationwide scale. By increasing insight into the licensing process, agencies establish more control, thus reducing the risk of information falling into a black hole or becoming trapped in administrative purgatory upon in-house staff turnover.
LicenseReporter.com was developed to increase efficiency for Perr&Knight’s insurance licensing services teams, but also provides the following valuable benefits for our clients:
Eliminate email back-and-forth Answer questions immediately by letting HR managers or licensing analysts view the current status of all submissions, 24/7, from any web-enabled device
Reduce the risk of accidental expiration – Ensure all agents are operating with current licenses
Become aware of upcoming renewals – Monitor upcoming renewals
Ensure correct jurisdictional licensing  – Confirm agents are properly licensed in all areas before expanding business into new territories
Access proof of current license –  LicenseReporter.com enables us to attach relevant documents, including a copy of the agent’s current license, or web verification from the state, saving space in the file cabinet and the time required to access a copy of the license, if necessary

Who should use Perr&Knight’s producer licensing and appointment services?

We manage licensing services for agencies of all sizes and scope. However, for certain agencies, our licensing services (including LicenseReporter.com) can be especially beneficial. These agencies include:

  • Insurance start-ups
  • Insurtech companies
  • Agencies with limited in-house support
  • Agencies operating in 5 or more states

Peace of mind managing license renewals

We developed LicenseReporter.com to solve an important issue that drains valuable time and resources from insurance agencies. By offloading the licensing process onto Perr&Knight’s experienced producer licensing services team then monitoring progress via online portal, insurance agencies can make sure all agent licenses are up to date while freeing their internal teams from managing minutiae.

Is your agency staff getting buried by license renewals? Let our licensing department lighten your burden.