Underwriters can work more effectively with agents by taking time to understand their point of view.
Even though they have the same goal, it often feels as if underwriters and agents are on opposite teams. Learning about the submission process from an agent’s view can help underwriters ask the right questions, leading to a more successful partnership.
A Sit Down with Seifert
Last time we sat down with Art Seifert, he used his experience to give agents a glimpse of the underwriter’s perspective and provided tips on how agents can communicate more effectively during the submission process. This time, Art is flipping that point of view; offering advice to underwriters and allowing them a better understanding of what agents undergo when prospecting new clients.
Arthur B. Seifert has almost 40 years in the insurance industry including positions in sales, financial consulting, underwriting and leadership in multiple companies. He currently oversees six niche insurance programs as the President of Glatfelter Program Managers.
Facing a Time Crunch
It’s not uncommon to receive a submission with a need-by date that is fast approaching. As an underwriter, try not to assume that the agent procrastinated. Sometimes it is difficult for agents to pin down prospective clients, which can lead to applications submitted after the standard 120-day window. Even though it is the agent’s responsibility to communicate why an application has a condensed timeline, underwriters shouldn’t be afraid to reach out and ask for more information that can help them set priorities.
If an account is a new prospect for an agent, it’s likely that the agent won’t have all of the information needed for the application at the time of submission. This isn’t due to lack of trying, but rather the delicate balance an agent needs to engage new clients without appearing overbearing. Keeping this in mind; if an underwriter needs to ask follow-up questions, it’s best to only do so once.
An agent that constantly returns to ask for more information can quickly become a pest to the potential client and lose the sale. So before clicking send on a follow-up email to an agent, underwriters should take a moment to add any additional questions or notes that they may need. It may help to request the agent send a few paragraphs explaining details about the client if checking boxes on the application won’t tell the whole story.
Despite what can feel like a contentious relationship, agents and underwriters need to work together to drive more business. Communicating effectively and keeping the other’s perspective in mind can lead to a more fruitful partnership.