Policy Works blog | Commercial lines bliss

The New Over-Under

Written by Crystal O'Hara | Dec 13, 2016 9:52:21 PM

I am not a gambler but I do know how over-under works. In essence, it’s a wager where the bettor predicts a total points number in a game like football. It’s a popular way to bet if you can’t pick one team over the other.

If your brokerage has switched your BMS or CMS or adopted any new technology lately, I’d say the odds are in my favour when I predict your commercial lines staff are overloaded and underwhelmed a.k.a. the new over-under.


Multiple onsite training days, onboarding the new program and phasing-out the old leaves little time for day-to-day activities like issuing certificates of insurance and binders. Your staff are working late or coming in on weekends to catch-up and it’s debilitating.

This is avoidable if you prioritize. Is there anything that can be put on the back burner to free up time? Try shorter meetings, even eliminate meetings temporarily and filter email. Experiment with prioritization and pick a strategy that works best for you and your team.

Talk to any bettor and they’ll tell you they have a ‘system,’ a strategy they use when placing bets. Sometimes they win, sometimes they don’t but at least they have a system.


Was the reason for change explained to your staff before the transition took place? Based on my experience, it is common to see people show up for training with very little or no idea why they’re there. This can leave staff feeling underwhelmed because they were not involved in the decision. Why should they care how much of your time was put into it if you didn’t care about theirs?

Sometimes the opposite can happen too. A new BMS is hyped by management and when it’s finally rolled out everyone else fails to see what all the excitement is about. The software doesn’t meet expectations or doesn’t do what was promoted.

Curtail those “Now what?” moments by encouraging feedback during the entire process. Be slow to respond to feedback at first. When something is new, not every question or comment is relevant. The same should go for your replies. Determine what is fact and what is frustration.

All projects have hiccups. Tell your staff that and don’t be afraid to adjust expectations. After all, if you want to be good at something you first must be willing to be bad at it.

When placing any wager, it’s important to take a solid look at the underdog. There’s no finesse in picking the favourite every time. Take a risk but if the odds look too good to be true, they probably are.