A Smarter, More Efficient Way to Manage Adoption Filings

Tracking and managing changes to bureau material has long been a time-draining process for property casualty insurance company staff. When we released Bureau Monitor, a subscription service housed within our StateFilings.com system, our aim was to make our clients aware immediately if there were updates required for their bureau based products. By centralizing loss cost, rule and form circulars for all bureaus and lines of business in a single location and then generating automatic notifications explaining the impact on our clients, the system was able to relieve in-house compliance teams from managing the minutiae of circular tracking. It also provided a crucial first line of defense against compliance violations.
We’ve now taken this process one step further. By combining our useful bureau monitoring service with the filing capabilities built into StateFilings.com, we’re launching our newest service: Bureau Maintenance. It’s a single, automated solution for keeping your state filings current.

How Bureau Maintenance Works

Our team of filing experts monitor the circulars impacting loss costs, rules and forms released by the various rating bureaus, including the Insurance Services Office (“ISO”) and the National Council on Compensation Insurance (“NCCI”). We publish these circulars to Bureau Monitor, which then generates a notification if your company is required to file an update to your product based on your specific adoption profile. Using Perr&Knight’s StateFilings.com platform, our state filings experts will submit the change on your behalf, eliminating your risk of falling behind or slipping out of compliance. Using an online dashboard, you’ll be able to see in real-time which adoptions have been filed and which are pending submission.

Why automate your state filings?

As technology becomes faster, smarter and more secure, it makes sense to outsource to machines the tasks that require lower levels of human discernment. Standard bureau adoption filings are an excellent function for automation because the process requires the management of numerous minor but important details, instead of critical decision-making, which is better suited for people. This approach frees up time and attention for your teams to focus on more complex product compliance tasks. Bureau Maintenance is simply that—maintaining bureau-based products in real-time, rather than being forced to play major catch up down the road.
Read more: Expert tips to speed up state filing approvals.

Updates that matter to you

Because your Bureau Maintenance profile will be unique to your company, you’ll be alerted to only those filing requirements that apply to you. Based on the lines of business you follow, your adoption status, and programs in the states where you operate, you’ll know exactly which circulars need to be adopted via a state filing. This eliminates the need for manual scrutiny of each published circular by your staff.
Even for companies that don’t seem overwhelmed by filing updates, Bureau Maintenance can protect you from the risk of non-compliance. For example, affiliating with an auto-adopt or file-on-behalf status will likely minimize your number of filings. However, in cases of the states that prohibit auto-adoption, you are required to pay attention and submit your filings accordingly. Bureau Maintenance will ensure that nothing falls between the cracks.  On other hand, if you have the opposite bureau affiliation profile — i.e. you have adopted loss costs, rules or forms from a particular bureau at single point in time and don’t intend to make updates— you could still be on the hook for mandatory changes if the bureau adjusts its materials based on regulatory changes. Once again, Bureau Maintenance will make sure that you keep current and compliant.
Read more: How to streamline bureau monitoring.

Maximize your resources

We deliberately created a competitive pricing structure for Bureau Maintenance because this ancillary service is designed to work in conjunction with your in-house teams. As a result, offloading the time-consuming tasks to automated software will increase the efficiency of your human capital on the revenue-generating tasks that forward your business objectives and competitive advantage.
Bureau Maintenance takes away the final piece of worry regarding the management of bureau adoption state filings. By letting dedicated software pay non-stop attention to bureau updates that impact your filings, you reduce the risk of overloading your internal teams or slipping into non-compliance. In an era where more and more businesses are capitalizing on the advantages of improved technology, automating these simple tasks just makes sense.

Contact Perr&Knight today to learn more about how Bureau Maintenance can eliminate your state filings and bureau monitoring headaches.

InsurTech: The New Frontier for A&H

As troves of data and lightning-fast processing capabilities become increasingly available to insurance companies, cumbersome manual processes are being replaced with faster, more advanced data capture and analysis. The applications for property and casualty insurance, particularly with personal home and auto coverage, were evident straight away; therefore, P&C providers quickly began utilizing innovative technologies from InsurTechs to streamline their workflows, increase rating accuracy, and improve the customer experience.
These technologies are now starting to expand to additional insurance types, ushering in an exciting new era for accident and health coverage providers as well.

InsurTech’s new tools and new opportunities

As millennials and Gen Z buy homes, start families and advance their careers, their needs for insurance increase. However, these emerging customers are unwilling to compromise on the speed and accessibility of any products they buy – including insurance. Therefore, the traditional method of over-the-phone insurance sales or person-to-person broker relationships no longer apply. These customers demand control, transparency, and ease. They want to complete transactions with a few clicks.
They are also accustomed to an unprecedented level of control and customization in their own lives. Non-traditional career trajectories, home-ownership as a second income stream, greater flexibility with travel and work schedules…all add up to a clientele that demands fast, flexible coverage that conforms to their specific needs. This often means shorter coverage periods, specific add-on coverage, and instant payment – again, all accessible via website or smart phone app.

The changing face of A&H

Traditionally, insurance product development for accident, health and travel has adopted a “one size fits” all approach, offering protection that covers a wide variety of scenarios over an extended period of time. However, new technologies enable A&H coverage to achieve an entirely new level of customizability that can provide customers with exactly what they need, only when they need it. Some forward-thinking examples of InsurTech applications for A&H that we have seen include:

  • Travel Insurance
  • Short-term Accidental Injury coverage for specific activities
  • Customizable Supplemental Health Insurance plans such as Critical Illness
  • Major Medical price transparency comparisons
  • Health benefits packages for gig economy workers

This level of tailoring serves customers more effectively, generates new product potentials, and creates efficiencies that ultimately lower internal operations costs for insurance companies.

Apps, IoT and AI – oh my!

InsurTechs have evolved many aspects of today’s insurance industry, but we have seen the most advancement to A&H in the areas of smartphone apps, the Internet of Things (“IoT”), and Artificial Intelligence.
Insurance companies are finally beginning to recognize the value of smart phone apps in connecting with their customers. Mobile technologies are invaluable to insurers, enabling more efficient product marketing, a direct point of sale, and the ability to collect data from wearables. These streamlined products and advanced data collection can reduce or even eliminate the need for underwriting. The result for insurance companies: more efficiency for a lower cost.
“Smart devices” that connect to the internet and transmit data over a network are known collectively as the Internet of Things. These devices work quietly in the background to collect and transmit data that can help insurers provide more accurate premiums to customers. Some major medical insurance companies offer incentives such as premium discounts or gift cards for meeting exercise goals while wearing specific devices (think: Fitbit trackers). Insurers can now tie premiums and rewards to real data, not theoretical projections.
Finally, artificial intelligence (or “AI”) is releasing insurers from burdensome manual processes. These technologies have the ability to learn and reason, freeing up their human counterparts to focus on areas that require more complex reasoning or subtle discretion. Insurance companies have successfully used AI to develop chatbots that streamline the customer service experience and applied machine learning to build more accurate algorithms and models for analyzing data. By applying machine learning to predictive analytics, insurance companies can analyze key consumer data claims risk, fraud detection, anticipated demand for a new product, claims processing and underwriting. This could lead to better rate adequacy and a better overall risk profile.

Control the risks

Emerging technologies are already transforming the insurance industry, but regulation is still woefully behind the curve. Though coverage offerings are more flexible than ever, insurance product development is still subject to a rigid regulatory environment. Regulation of coverage periods, marketing materials, and underwriting processes are still rooted in traditional ways of thinking.
Additionally, InsurTechs may bring the technological expertise, but they often lack industry-specific knowledge. They usually do not even have an underwriting company or reinsurer to take on the insurance risk. This can come back to haunt you if you’re not careful. With this in mind, it’s smart to connect with an experienced independent insurance product development partner to manage regulatory requirements as you incorporate new technologies into your product suite. Their expertise regarding the jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction requirements will be invaluable as you head into the approvals process.
InsurTechs are set to make sweeping changes across the insurance industry as their technologies provide opportunities for insurance companies to respond to never-before-seen coverage needs. These innovations are not trends – they’re here to stay. As data collection and analysis evolve, A&H insurers are positioned to develop systems and products that feature faster policy uptake and fulfillment,  greater flexibility in coverage, and increasingly targeted customer service.

Want to know more about how technology can advance your A&H offerings? Our team of insurance and actuarial experts can help.

Predictive Modeling: 5 Benefits of an Independent Review

The practice of predictive modeling is a powerful tool for risk assessment for today’s insurance industry. What once was considered a new technique for insurance pricing is now getting utilized in all aspects of the industry.
Your models are only as sound as the industry knowledge that goes into their development. Lack of complete regulatory support for predictive models has slowed InsurTech companies and carriers on their path for regulatory approval.
Instead of dealing with the expensive and time-consuming fallout of stalled approvals, it makes more sense to get ahead of potential pitfalls by investing in an independent review of your model from experienced insurance actuarial consulting experts.
Here are five reasons an independent review of your predictive model is worth the investment.

1. Discover your model’s strengths and weaknesses

Independent review from actuarial consulting experts will reveal areas where your model can benefit from improvement as well as verify its biggest benefits. A review that combines proven industry benchmarks with professional actuarial judgment will surface erroneous assumptions, incomplete support and lead to model improvement.

2. Comply with state regulations

Many predictive models have been rejected by state insurance departments due to lack of compliance in that jurisdiction. States have their own unique regulation and you want to be prepared. By partnering with an independent reviewer who knows the nuances of each state’s regulatory process, you’ll strengthen your chance of approval.

3. Strengthen your case with key decision-makers

Achieving buy-in from the customer is crucial when marketing an InsureTech predictive model to insurance carriers. Though your model may perform impeccably, if your company has a limited track record in the insurance industry, it may be a hard sell to the carrier’s executive team. Getting an independent review with comprehensive documentation will demonstrate to decision-makers that your product has been carefully evaluated by insurance industry professionals. This vetting of your model and accompanying written proof may be the deciding factor between your product and a competitor’s.

4. Increase your speed to market

Presenting your model to regulators without thorough pre-submission scrutiny may reveal surprise shortcomings. Discovering these deficiencies while your model is deep into the review process adds unnecessary time. It’s much smarter to pressure-test your model before submitting to state insurance departments to speed up approval for your model’s implementation.

5. Trust in your results

Your data may support strong predictors used in your model, but to be truly effective, results must be combined with subject matter expertise. Insurance experts who understand all steps in the insurance process give you insights for model improvement.
High level assessment of your model’s viability, paired with detailed scrutiny from subject matter experts who specialize in insurance, is a smart way to protect your investment. An independent reviewer will ask tough questions, and follow best practices for predictive modeling in order to assess your methodology to add credibility and strength to your work product. It’s like investing in “insurance” for your insurance product.

Get your independent predictive model review today! Perr&Knight’s experienced actuarial consulting team can help.

The Sharing Economy: What You Should Know Before Jumping In

Authors: Courtney Burke, JD, CPCU, Michael Goldman, FCAS, MAAA, Les Vernon, FCAS, MAAA
The proliferation of the sharing economy impacts both commercial and personal property casualty insurance by creating new insurance needs. This new landscape brings many opportunities to better serve your customers – but also plenty of pitfalls. If your company is considering undertaking a new insurance product development project to address the needs of this fast-growing and quickly evolving marketplace, here are some key factors to keep in mind.

Mind the gap

Networking companies like UBER, Lyft and Airbnb have specific insurance needs that require customized commercial insurance. If not modified, traditional personal auto and homeowners policies may have gaps in insurance coverage for transportation network drivers and home sharing network hosts due to standard exclusions. For example, although UBER provides liability insurance for its drivers while they are working and Airbnb provides host protection insurance covering third-party liability claims related to a stay, the driver or host may not be protected for damage to their personal property.
The sharing economy also impacts the accident and health insurance industry. The majority of gig workers, i.e. service providers in the sharing economy like UBER drivers or Taskers on TaskRabbit, do not receive employee benefits through their networking companies. This creates a market for individual supplemental health products customized for gig workers.
These gaps create opportunities for insurance companies to develop bespoke products that address highly specific coverage needs.

Insurance + technology = opportunity

Much of the sharing economy is technology-based – services are engaged online or via a mobile phone application. If you’re considering targeting the sharing economy, you may need to mirror this online delivery model for your insurance products. This modernized distribution of insurance provides an opportunity for insurtech companies who can help deliver insurance products that feel native to this tech-centric landscape.

Finding the right insurance product development partner

As the sharing economy becomes more prevalent, you’ll likely begin to explore different methods to provide coverage. If you’re new to the sharing economy insurance market, you may wish to develop products with features specifically designed for this arena, including episodic or short-term insurance, or industry-specific coverage.
To design a solution that keeps pace with the market, you should partner with an insurance consultant who has extensive experience in developing new products. Experienced insurance product development consultants can draft coverage enhancements to incorporate specific coverages that may not be currently offered in your product. A product design consultant will also work with you to understand where coverage gaps or limitations exist in your current product and then make recommendations to address each.

Right pricing requires close actuarial attention

One of the sharing economy’s unique features is shortened exposure periods for coverage. Sharing economy insurance products typically offer coverage just during heightened time periods of exposure to risk, aka “insurance on-demand.” For example, home sharing insurance coverage, such as that offered by Airbnb, would depend on the frequency and length of stays, the number of guests, accessible areas of property, etc.
Understanding and correctly pricing for risks during unique exposure periods requires actuarial experience to correctly handle expense loads, increased risk of adverse selection, potential fraud and risk of litigation. If you’re thinking of entering the sharing economy, work with consulting actuaries and data scientists who have the expertise and experience to utilize predictive analytics and advanced pricing techniques in the development of rates.

Regulation varies by state

Sharing economy insurance products must comply with each state’s insurance regulations – those that apply to all insurance products as well as those specific to sharing economy insurance. For example, several states have passed specific legislation regarding transportation network companies. By working with an experienced regulatory compliance consultant in the markets and jurisdictions you wish to enter, you can ensure that your products comply with applicable regulations and that your products are filed with the states as required.
Strict governmental and industry oversight make insurance one of the most demanding industries for regular and accurate data reporting. Property and casualty insurance policies designed for the sharing economy present unique challenges. For example, for a ride-sharing driver, when is s/he covered by personal auto versus commercial auto? To which special statistical code does the vehicle get assigned? Your regulatory compliance consultants will make sure all these details are covered before you file.
To best capitalize on this exciting time, work with an experienced insurance consulting services team who can help you develop a proactive strategy to release products the correct way. In addition to actuarial expertise, make sure your partners possess years of statistical reporting experience, technical expertise, and data management best practices to help you navigate your unique reporting requirements. With a clear objective and the right team, you can develop a comprehensive solution that puts you ahead of the market in this new economy.

For more information about how to best develop insurance products specifically for the sharing economy, contact Perr&Knight today.

Think Before You Act: Why Expert Solution Architecture Should Always Precede Critical Data Initiatives

Deploying a data solution that addresses a real-world business problem is not just about drafting a quick set of specs and coding to meet those requirements. Instead, it’s about architecting a solution that will satisfy your true business need.
As experts in insurance data services, we have seen many companies dive headfirst into development without taking the time to outline a process that delivers not only their desired data set, but a viable strategy to keep moving forward.
Companies can sink deeper and deeper into development quicksand, increasing budgetary spend and extending the project timeline by piling more features onto both legacy and modern systems that don’t fully address the problem. To achieve lasting solutions that deliver maximum value, slow down and think before you act.

Focus on the problem, not the tools

Before you undertake any data initiative, it’s vital that you dedicate sufficient time and attention to define the full scope of your problem. We have seen companies get distracted by the latest, greatest software tools and fail to determine whether or not these tools will deliver the information they need.
Focusing primarily on tools is like shopping for ingredients without an idea of the meal you will be preparing. Instead, clearly articulate the problem first, then determine how you will utilize the tools at your disposal to solve this problem as efficiently as possible.
At Perr&Knight, most of our engagements are preceded by an in-depth workshop, during which we aim to identify the true need. Many companies think they need help with one aspect, but it turns out that addressing a different issue will solve their challenge. We apply our insurance data services expertise to determine short-term success as well as define a long-term solution that will help our clients avoid this situation in the future.

Outline specific future actions and activities

After assessing your problem, articulate the specific activities that you will take as a result of obtaining your data set. Knowing these actions informs the scope of what should be contained in your reports. Focus on obtaining useful information that will equip your teams to perform their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

Teams must understand how their roles support your business

IT teams might be deeply focused on technical aspects of the initiative but lack sufficient context for the project as a whole. As such, their expertise is stifled. Don’t limit your IT teams to only the execution of the plan – loop them in early to make sure that the ultimate solution takes into consideration your actual business needs. Spend time bringing your IT team up to speed on how their input fits into the bigger picture of your data initiative and what your overall goals and outcomes are. Equipped with this knowledge, your technical teams become more valuable project assets.

How to avoid “analysis paralysis”

Successful deployment efforts start with the known and build incrementally from there. Look for what you can define that will provide an immediate benefit. In the effort to plan for every possible event, software developers can end up overdesigning their solution architecture. Companies that want to create a massive system to address every possible future need often get stuck developing bloated, unwieldy software that takes forever to deploy.
Perr&Knight’s process is to plant a firm stake in the ground by targeting a specific data consumer with a specific need, then focus on building out just those portions. From there, we expand incrementally, generating deliverables that are definable, measurable, and achievable.

More expert tips to keep your data initiatives on track

  • DON’T cast too wide a net. Keep your eye on the specific problem you’re trying to solve.
  • DON’T chase trends. Make sure your solution delivers the information that addresses your core
  • DO make sure that you are being specific. There’s no point in coding to vague specs.
  • DO define what constitutes success before you undertake the project, including how you will measure progress along the way and metrics that ensure you accomplish various scope items throughout development.

The fact is, data reporting is not a sexy profit center – but it is a critical part of doing business. Everyone wants a quick plug-and-play fix, but solution architecture is more about business modeling than a strictly technical solution. There is no such thing as a silver bullet. Quality solution architecture starts at the business level, i.e. understanding your business problem and applying that knowledge as your guide to implement the best solution. Data initiatives are a marathon, not a sprint. Keep this in mind and you’re sure to go far.

For more information about Perr&Knight’s expert insurance data services, contact us today.

6 Essentials Every Insurtech Company Must Know

The avalanche of data now available to insurance companies is rapidly changing the capabilities of an industry that has historically relied on manual processes. Insurtech entrepreneurs are discovering new advancements in data capture and analysis that allow insurance companies to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
However, it’s important not to leap before you look. It’s wise to prepare for the business realities and regulatory scrutiny that are inherent in the insurance industry. We at Perr&Knight have provided insurance technology consulting for many emerging tech companies to assist them in advancing their product in the complicated insurance industry.
Here are some essential guidelines to keep in mind as you proceed through development and rollout. Disregard these guidelines now–and you may end up paying dearly later.

Do your homework

In the heavily-regulated insurance marketplace, product rollout is not nearly as fast as in other industries. Constraints including privacy rules, compliance requirements and standards that vary by state can throw a wrench into the best-laid plans. We suggest partnering with insurance technology consulting experts who can help you navigate the tricky regulatory environment.

Think bigger

You might have developed a product to help claims but its functionality has the potential to improve accuracy in fraud detection or streamline marketing efforts. Qualified insurance consultants can evaluate your product and inform you if there are other uses for your technology beyond its original application.

Test your tech on real data

Feed real data into your technology to demonstrate specific outcomes that you can share with potential clients or investors. Measurable results can also support your case when submitting to regulatory bodies, especially if your product is entirely new to the industry.

Prepare for regulator review

Complicated regulations apply to the collection, evaluation, and sharing of data in the insurance industry. It’s smart to prepare for the range of questions you will be asked by regulators (keeping in mind that rules not only vary by state but also by line of business) BEFORE you are ready to submit your product for approval. Preparing ahead of time enables you to respond to regulator inquiries quickly and completely.

Be ready to train

Even insurance companies that embrace new technologies will undergo a transition period where staff needs to become comfortable using your product. The most successful Insurtech companies put support staff in place to train users, answer questions and help companies through an integration of the new technology with their existing systems and processes.

Use expert evaluation to validate your product

Before investing in major upgrades, insurance executives want to be sure that new technologies will deliver results that justify time and expense. Insurance technology consulting partners help secure buy-in from execs with data analytics used to quantify and support your innovation.
Your product might be fantastic and your user interface might be seamless, but those are only a few pieces of the Insurtech puzzle. Experienced insurance consultants can complete the picture by providing you with insight and preparation for the complexities of the insurance market as it relates to your product or service, saving you from headaches, hassle, and wasted resources.

For more information about how Perr&Knight supports Insurtech entrepreneurs, contact us at (888)201-5123 ext. 3.

Not Your Grandfather’s Policy: Reaching Millennials in Today’s Insurance Market

As the younger generation leaves the nest, they’re looking for insurance coverage that matches needs that are in many ways unrecognizable from those of previous generations. Not only are there differences in coverage, but millennials have customer service expectations that are vastly different from their parents and grandparents. Smart insurance companies are keeping up with the times, developing insurance products and customer service processes that match the millennial lifestyle–and it all starts by understanding how millennials live their lives and what’s important to them.

Home is where the Xbox is

Gone are the days of household inventory lists that include china cabinets, grandfather clocks, and heirloom silverware. Today’s millennial customer needs insurance for electronics, electronics, and more electronics. Flat-screen TVs, tablets, smartphones, external hard drives, smartwatches and gaming consoles comprise a millennial’s most prized possessions. Smart insurance companies are developing products that provide replacement coverage for electronic devices based on the current cost of brand-new equipment.

Bling home the bacon

Millennials are earning higher salaries in their first few years on the job than their parents ever did. Many are using this hard-earned cash to buy luxuries like high-end watches, jewelry, artwork, and sporting equipment. These one-off valuable items require policy extensions that expand beyond a basic homeowner’s or renter’s policy. The standard policies that many companies currently have in place don’t address these needs. They’re still offering $50k in contents when what the millennial consumer really wants is $5k in contents and a jewelry or sporting goods floater. Insurance companies should mine data to discover which higher-value items millennials seek to insure and offer policies that explicitly provide this coverage.

Click here for coverage

The millennial attention span is notoriously short (some research pegs it as shorter than a goldfish). Insurance companies can’t afford to continue much longer with paper-heavy processes. Young people don’t want to sit in an insurance office and listen to a pitch. They want to compare coverage at any hour, fill out an online form, upload a few pics from their smartphone and click to initiate a policy right away. Wise insurance companies are dedicating resources to developing a seamless digital presence that enables millennial customers to conduct much of their business online.

Spread the love

If baby boomers were the “Me Generation”, millennials are the “We Generation.” Social responsibility is important to young people and they seek to do business with companies that make an effort to invest in good causes and help communities in need. They’re more influenced by an insurance company’s explicit social actions today than a stalwart legacy. In addition to openly investing in good causes, insurance companies can tap into millennial altruism by crafting policies that empower customers to designate a charity that will receive monies somehow derived from the customer’s purchase, such as shared profits or a designated donation.

Rewards, rewards, rewards

So many of today’s companies offer rewards and incentives for adopting their services–and millennials expect their insurance providers to do the same. They’re looking for policy providers who craft offers that acknowledge good behavior and reward loyalty. Developing insurance products with vanishing deductibles, with the ability to purchase coverage instantly for only a limited period of time or a particular event, or with unrelated co-insureds show millennial customers that their insurance company acknowledges both their responsible behavior and the change in lifestyles and demographics. 

Life in the fast lane

Millennial customers expect their insurance companies to respond with lightning speed when they have a question, need assistance or want to process a claim. They don’t want the current cash value of their property; they expect their insurance policy to replace their stolen or damaged property with the latest and greatest technology. They expect a guaranteed replacement cost, even if it’s above and beyond the current worth of the loss. And they want it on their doorstep tomorrow. The more an insurance company can streamline these processes, the higher regard they’ll receive from millennial customers.
Relationships have always been at the heart of the insurance business. Insurance companies must take a close look at what drives millennial decision-making. Outside sources like technology companies are encroaching on the insurance industry, upping the competition through their understanding of the millennial mindset. These tech companies hold no attachments to the “business as usual” mentality that many insurance providers have adhered to for generations.
By responding to the real-world expectations of the millennial market, insurance companies can establish trust by providing products that match the millennial set of priorities. Companies who ignore these priorities risk being left behind.
Interested in developing new insurance products to reach Millennials in your market? Contact us today to speak to our insurance product experts.

How to Avoid Common Mistakes Carriers Make When Implementing New Systems

Carriers who have not been through complete development and implementation of a new system tend to underestimate the time, attention, and project management expertise it takes to smoothly roll out a system that works seamlessly with the other systems already in place. During our decades of providing project management and insurance technology consulting, we find that there are no universal “best practices.” However, there are good practices that everyone should try to follow.
Here are some of the most common mistakes we see and our suggestions for better alternatives.

MISTAKE: Thinking that your in-house staff has the bandwidth to properly oversee your new system rollout.

WHY IT’S A PROBLEM: In-house teams already have full slates and might overlook crucial details that can compromise the project.
BETTER ALTERNATIVE: Partner with insurance experts who can bring a fresh perspective. They will evaluate the details of your system roll-out to spot hiccups before you begin. They can also create achievable timelines and budgets, helping all parties stay on track to meet these expectations.
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MISTAKE: Relying on an inexperienced project manager.

WHY IT’S A PROBLEM: Project management is about more than just watching the schedule and staying organized. Successful project management requires scope management, HR management, and experience in risk, quality and procurement management.
BETTER ALTERNATIVE: Since there are many moving pieces and many specialized disciplines to take into consideration, it’s wise to trust an experienced project manager who has the insurance technology consulting expertise required to successfully implement new systems specifically for insurance companies.
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MISTAKE: Drafting an ambiguous or incomplete scope of work before beginning the project.

WHY IT’S A PROBLEM: Poor planning reveals surprises that must ultimately be sorted out down the line. These can delay deployments and cause budgets to balloon.
BETTER ALTERNATIVE: Carefully define your scope of work before engaging vendors. Make sure that all stakeholders understand what’s in and what’s out of scope before awarding a contract, and encourage them to draw to your attention any gaps or points of confusion.
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MISTAKE: Adopting an ad hoc or informal approach to planning.

WHY IT’S A PROBLEM: Scattered planning results in reacting to problems as they arise, not charting a proactive course of action.
BETTER ALTERNATIVE: Ask your insurance technology consulting expert to give you a realistic picture of what to expect while you draft your scope of work. Make sure you account for all aspects of your current systems that need to be updated before integrating with your new systems.
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MISTAKE: Doing things the way they’ve always been done.

WHY IT’S A PROBLEM: A “business as usual” approach can cause you to overlook important details or blind you to new practices, which can result in the marketplace leaving you behind.
BETTER ALTERNATIVE: To remain both efficient and competitive, insurance companies must maintain the flexibility to adapt to new situations. Simply relying on project management practices that have worked in the past can cause you to miss out on opportunities for greater efficiency or profitability.
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MISTAKE: Jumping to a solution before properly assessing the issue.

WHY IT’S A PROBLEM: Rushed decision making leads to costly oversights that can stall a project or force a complete re-evaluation down the line.
BETTER ALTERNATIVE: Undertake a proper discovery period to correctly assess your project needs and evaluate the costs and benefits associated with project decisions.  Create a game plan that makes sense and make sure everyone is on the same page before you start the project.
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MISTAKE: Hastily selecting a vendor.

WHY IT’S A PROBLEM: Partnering with the wrong vendor can cost you time and money. You might end up deep in a project and be forced to throw good money after a bad vendor experience in an effort to get your project back on track.
BETTER ALTERNATIVE: Take the time to properly vet your vendors. Ask them specific questions about their experience in the particular lines of business you are planning to write. Look for areas where they push back. You don’t need a team of yes-men. You need experienced professionals who tell you the truth, no matter what.
– – – – –

MISTAKE: Remaining with the same vendor.

WHY IT’S A PROBLEM: Legacy partners can also get mired in their own systems and might not stay current with technology changes or industry advancements, causing you to lose out on important opportunities.
BETTER ALTERNATIVE: Ask your current vendor to bid alongside new vendors. If you have a personal relationship with your current vendor, request an unbiased third party from your team to handle the interviews and compare proposals. Take their assessment into strong consideration when deciding if your current vendor measures up or if you should partner with someone new.
There are as many ways to implement a new system as there are individual insurance companies. Use these guiding principles to help you make more thoughtful decisions as you develop new ways of serving your clients.
Need more guidance? Call Perr&Knight at (888)201-5123 Ext. 3 to discuss how we can help your implementation proceed more smoothly.

5 Strategies to Improve Your State Filings Process

As every insurance professional knows, an inefficient state filings process can have a major negative impact on day-to-day operations and the timely filing of submissions. Problems related to organizing, sorting and tracking state filings consume time and resources and can create frustration and friction between departments. During our decades of providing insurance support services, we hear regular mentions of these challenges. As a result, we have identified five useful strategies to improve your company’s state filing process starting immediately.

Strategy 1: Stop relying on local storage and MS Excel.

Files stored on network drives, personal computers or on individual hard drives that are organized by MS Excel spreadsheets can lead to significant problems due to accidental erasure, data overwrites and inaccessibility by others. Local storage failures can stop your state filings in its tracks and render your team powerless to obtain vital information. Under audit, digging through old drives for information can waste days or weeks of manpower. Centralize your files in a cloud-based system and ensure your information is always safe and available.

Strategy 2: Say goodbye to your internally developed insurance software systems.

While it seemed like a good idea to develop an in-house state filings management system a decade ago, you might now realize that sustaining the software and hardware required for a secure and reliable system eats up more resources than your company can handle. These outdated systems can slow down the very processes they were developed to enhance. Maintenance and upgrades on legacy systems can get expensive and pose scalability challenges. Often only a few people on staff understand the system’s complexities and must personally resolve hiccups, thus stealing their attention from other duties. Switching to reliable hosted state filings software can ensure that your technology keeps pace with your business needs.

Strategy 3: Enable secure access by more individuals.

An insurance company’s state filings are often handled by a single department comprised of a few employees who manage all filings and issue all status reports. This employee involvement can slow the process down due to the time it takes to request information and generate reports. By storing your state filings in a web-based central location, you can issue log-in credentials to various stakeholders who have the ability check the status of filings at any time. Accessible and transparent data empowers users to get the information they need without running the risk of missed communications or slow-downs caused by human oversight.

Strategy 4: Maintain updated forms libraries and filing status information.

Old or outdated state filings status information can result in time-wasting confusion and policy issuance of incorrect forms. Rather than risk this unnecessary runaround, invest in insurance software that displays status and other forms data in real time and can be searched easily using relevant text. This enables all interested parties to monitor filing progress and obtain accurate, time-critical data at any time. 

Strategy 5: Take immediate action to enact change.

“Business as usual” operations avoid rocking the boat today at the expense of tomorrow. While it is easier to continue relying on a broken system and delay necessary improvements to your state filings protocol, you do so at your own risk. Chasing missing paperwork, sifting through email chains and calling emergency IT support to extract data after hardware failures takes time, attention and energy away from your staff–and only gets you as far as the next process failure. Generate a realistic timeline to improve your state filings process then stick to your benchmarks and watch your process improve.
Letting go of old systems and processes that no longer serve your business can be a daunting task. At Perr&Knight, we have seen these challenges affect scores of clients who watch their state filings systems become more and more fractured but lack a viable alternative. We enhanced our own state filings services by developing StateFilings.com, a cloud-based insurance software that streamlines filings process by directly addressing many of the pitfalls described above. In addition to using this software internally for our insurance support services, we offer StateFilings.com for license to insurance companies who seek a single, reliable solution to address their state filings challenges.
No matter which of the above strategies your company decides to employ, the first step to improvement is recognizing the limitations of your current processes and resolving to make a change. For questions about how to streamline your state filings process, call Perr&Knight at (310) 230-9339 or contact us today.