Welcome to this 9th note of my mini-blog. We receive some fantastic feedback and ideas from many of you about this note and our newsletter – so please keep them coming! One such idea was for me to write about a typical day in the life of an APRIL underwriter, so I’ll rise to that challenge and make it the subject this month.
Up front, you’ll have to forgive me for generalizing in my answer to this question. I do this for two reasons: firstly because there is so much diversity across our business in the lines we write, from residential, realty and hospitality through to major fleets and complex commercial casualty policies across different offices and all Provinces. Secondly, there simply is no such thing as a ‘typical day’ for us, with so much variety in the types of solutions we are asked to find for your clients.
Triaging the submissions
Our day will normally start by looking at the submissions we’ve received overnight or the previous afternoon. Triaging these submissions is key to our process – to make sure they are logged and also to check our market reservation system to see if we’ve received a particular risk in previous years or indeed from a different broker. From there, we want to establish as quickly as possible whether we can offer a solution for any given submission and try to decline as quickly as possible where we can’t help. Assuming we may be able to quote, the submission is then channelled through to the most appropriate underwriter, and this information is given back to the broker so that they know what’s happening. Triage is such a small, and often forgotten part of the process – but for us, it’s absolutely critical and an area where we’ve invested a lot of time and resource to continually improve. Over the last couple of months, since we implemented our new commercial lines platform, we’ve had some great feedback on the improvements you are experiencing.
Reviewing the submissions
From there, one of our underwriters will open and begin reviewing the submission. If it’s a class of business which falls into our homogeneous ‘fast lane’ process, then it’s usually a case of ensuring all the necessary information is available in the application, researching the particular risk from a few perspectives, and then building a quote using our rating tool and returning it to you as quickly as possible with financing options. If the client is a little ‘out of the box’, then of course the process can be a little more in-depth, with more questions around particular aspects of a risk. In many of these cases, and depending on the risk, our underwriters will typically try to call the submitting broker to get a better sense of the client, and expectations around terms and conditions. Quite often, this can involve a discussion about some specific risks relating to the client’s business, and how we can tailor various insurance solutions to fit the needs of the client.
Given our scale across Canada, our history and our technical track record – we are proud to hold the pen for many insurers in Canada and Lloyds of London. So, when a submission falls into the scope of one of our many contracts (which more than 80% do) then we are able to respond with speed and certainty. Where this is not the case, then our underwriters are always willing to refer for a second opinion to our current markets, or indeed attempt to place a risk into the Lloyds open market. This is one of the major benefits of dealing with an independent MGA with no corporate ties to any particular insurer.
The more complex the account, the more ways that we can build up the right insurance solution. I take great pride whenever I receive feedback from a broker about the efforts that one of our underwriters has gone through to solve a complex problem for a client, as this orientation towards solutions is absolutely what we’re looking for in our team. I recently attended the “Meet the Underwriter” night in London, Ontario, and it was fantastic to receive feedback like this from several fantastic partners in that region.
Of course, all of this is simply related to quoting for a new submission. Mixed in with this is the regular back-and-forth of questions and answers on other submissions, multiple phone calls, policy endorsements, issuance, and most importantly renewals! Like the majority of you, a typical day for us is pretty busy!
I’ll close by saying that we’re now in October – which is a heavy conference month. We will be in Halifax, Regina and Toronto this month for their respective conferences and I’ll be personally attending each of these with various members of my team. Please find us at the APRIL booth and come and introduce yourself! We’d love to hear about your business and how we might be able to help you.
All the best,