The role of today’s Underwriter is complex. They must be gatekeepers, relationship managers, marketers and sales managers
As Agents, we must understand, and respect these differing and often conflicting roles. If I could distill the qualities of exceptional Underwriters into a few words, I would call them problem solvers and educators. The best Underwriters position themselves as an invaluable resource for their Agents. They consistently educate us on the best way to configure coverage and service to effectively and efficiently manage risk. In doing so, they form a scarce and unique business relationship with their agents. These Underwriters can and should become part of your team to help you solve your client’s problems and help you win and retain more business.
“The best underwriters actually help me sell. They show me why they are better by giving me examples, stories and value propositions that help me sell their Company to my prospects and clients.”
The best underwriters approach the information gathering process in an effective and holistic manner. They have a process that is organized and efficient rather than piecemeal. They understand there are only so many times we can go back to our clients and prospects with questions before we become viewed as unorganized or unprofessional. The best not only ask intelligent and intuitive questions, but they do so in a manner that educates.They engage you in honest business conversations that explain the reasons for their questions, and how they use this information to build solutions.The best underwriters help their agents in the qualifying and vetting process.
Strong Underwriters are decision makers who want to partner with Agents on business opportunities. They also value our time. If they get a strong submission, with a target date and price range, the best Underwriters can and will give an answer quickly.
For me, the answer doesn’t matter. I want a yes, or a no, and a why so I can move forward.
If the response is conditional, how do I negotiate and navigate the conditions required to underwrite the risk?
The best underwriters help me sell. They engage in conversations on how their Loss Control, Claims and Underwriting solutions are the best approach to assist clients in solving problems. They give specific, tangible reasons why, their company’s experience, or disciplines, enhance their company’s value. Many companies laud their services, experience and approach as better than the competition.
The best show me why they are better and give me examples, stories and value propositions to help me sell them to my prospects and clients. Great underwriters are also good sales people, and are effective in joint sales calls and proposals. They are passionate about writing business and invested in helping their Agents succeed.
The best think long term and help me develop a long-term plan for retention. They build service platforms and timelines to create stability and the opportunity to drive service to minimize risk and improve experience. These approaches create stability for clients and loyalty from their agents.My experience is that you only need a few great Underwriters to have exceptional success as an Agent. Find Underwriters that mirror the characteristics described in this article and endeavor to form a true business partnership and personal relationship with them. If they become invested in helping you succeed, you will.