Policy Works blog | Commercial lines bliss

Standardize, Economize and Revitalize - The Trifecta of Templates

Written by Kathleen Kotchon | Feb 25, 2014 11:30:00 AM

Templates have been used in the commercial insurance industry for years. When you think of it, the application form is the predecessor of templates; invented to bring cohesiveness to a collective group of questions. And insurance people like application forms (and questions) a lot.

When you’re putting together a submission or proposal, it is important to have rules. For example, you wouldn’t include a photo of a client’s building on the same page as your limits and deductibles. It should be obvious it belongs in the construction details segment or with the description of a location. Shouldn’t it?

This is where templates come into play. A trifecta is a bet in which the person betting forecasts the first three finishers in a race in the correct order. So, here’s my template trifecta of first, second and third place finishes.

1. Standardize

When you standardize something, you want everyone working off the same sheet. The most important question to ask yourself is: what information do you want your team (producer, marketer, account manager or CSR) to collect to successfully quote on any given piece of business? A good starting place is to look at a risk in terms of four generic categories: underwriting, risk, location and coverage details. Then, look at the different lines of business you write, or specialize in, like contractors or restaurants.

One good way to create these templates is to leverage the knowledge and experience of your seasoned producers and principals. This not only helps to differentiate you from your competitors, but it gets that knowledge out of their heads and onto paper. So when they retire (and they eventually will) you have captured that knowledge.

Also, make sure everyone is using the same graphic treatment on font sizes and styles for headings, body text and so on. If Myrtle in the Small Business Unit likes using Brush Script font because it’s pretty, she can use it for her own personal use but not on a submission because the font is pre-determined by the template. Templates provide conformity.

2. Economize

Nobody wants duplication of work. It’s boring and it wastes time and money. So, create templates that capture the most important information for a given risk or risk category. This is extremely important when you are giving your producers templates to complete when they are out in the field. You want the fields to match exactly to what the marketer must complete to market a risk.

Templates are cost effective because you fill in the blanks; make a few minor tweaks if necessary and it’s done. Think of all the time you have to watch hilarious cat videos now.

3. Revitalize

To revitalize means to infuse something or someone with new life and vitality. Periodically review your templates to make sure that the optimal information being captured. Perhaps a piece of underwriting data is continually required to write that restaurant, but is not being captured on the template. Add it in.

Or maybe your brokerage has started writing a new line of business, and you simply don’t have a template for that niche. Create one. The goal is to make sure that both the suite of templates, and their completeness, is being reviewed and updated.

Now that your commercial lines staff are no longer creating their own funky documents or being bored with repetitive tasks (see item 1 and 2 above), they come to work invigorated and happy, they might even have fun! There! I just made a paragraph using commercial lines, happy and fun. I must be revitalized!

Is it possible Economize may breakthrough on the homestretch and beat Standardize? Is Revitalize a long shot? Place your bets because they’re at the post!