The 7 Principles of Underwriting Service

February 09, 2016

I take the concept of service very seriously as an underwriter. It is this passion for the customer, shared by all at Hiscox, that drives me to serve. Henry Ford said “Being greedy for money is the surest way not to get it, but when one serves for the sake of service–for that satisfaction of doing that which one believes to be right—then money abundantly takes care of itself. Money comes naturally as the result of service.”

In the world of insurance, this usually means providing exemplary service in the event of a claim. While that’s incredibly important, there is more to this industry than just paying claims fairly. What does service mean for underwriting?

1. Quote quickly.  Decline even quicker.
Formal quotes are always better than indications. I like to provide them within 24 hours of receipt of the submission…and usually much faster than that. “In by 2:00 out by 5:00” is an excellent model to serve by.  And if I can’t write an account, I decline it clearly, well before this timeframe.

2. Return phone calls with answers.
I get back to the customer within a few hours, and certainly no longer than 24 hours. Even better, when I return a call, I answer their questions then and there.

3. Be a step ahead.
When I’m asked a question, I try to anticipate the follow-up question. For example, when I’m asked whether or not we offer a certain coverage, I don’t just say “yes”, but “yes, and it will cost $500” or “yes, I can quote this, but will need to know how many.”

4. Share information.
I look to stay at the forefront of product and industry knowledge. Sharing that knowledge and experience with my customers is one of the ultimate goals of service. Viewing my brokers as my customers, I endeavor to give them the tools they need to sell and service our policies.

5. Understand the client.
I constantly work to address the needs of our end client with appropriate coverage enhancements. When I provide a quote, I always include the coverage that is most important to them. I let them know what they should be worried about and what may be less important to them.

6. If I can’t help, I know who can.
I’m never afraid to point a client in the direction of a competitor if that competitor can do something I can’t. I truly want the customer to have their needs met, whether or not it’s with me.

7. Never get a follow-up.
I take it personally whenever I receive a follow-up phone call or email. This means that I’m not on top of one of these principles. Every day I work harder to meet the client’s needs than I did the previous day.

My ultimate goal each day is to make my brokers’ lives easier and to make them look good. Whether it’s with a quick formal quote, an answer to their question, or change to a policy, we build our business one customer at a time. It might be hard work, but service is in our DNA; that’s the Hiscox way.