Are you on the copy and paste merry-go-round?


Most insurance brokers I talk to use Microsoft Office®, namely Microsoft Word. It’s an excellent tool, it was used to write this blog. Did you know MS Word has been around for over 25 years? Even if your brokerage started using it in 1997, that means you have 20 years of data stored on assorted Word documents.


Think about that. That’s almost a quarter century worth of data. Yet, most us just keep typing away, adding more and more data, completely unaware of its potential. Does a standard workflow in your brokerage look like this?

  • The producer gives a handwritten application to a CSR.
  • The CSR types the information into a submission in MS Word.
  • The producer’s handwriting is illegible. The CSR makes a mistake on annual gross receipts. The correct number is copied and pasted into the submission.
  • The incumbent submission has different information than the new business submission. Copy and paste sections accordingly. Did the mistake on annual gross receipts get fixed on this one?
  • The email message for the incumbent is different than new business insurers. Copy (or cut) and paste again.
  • The insurer quotes arrive. Back on the merry-go-round we go, copying and pasting responses into a MS Word proposal.

I know some of you are saying, “we use mail merge to expedite our workflows,” but you still need to setup a main document, a data source and a merged document to do that. You’ll also need someone at the brokerage with the time and know-how to maintain it.

Copying and pasting is an unconscious task because we do it frequently. It feels like it only takes a couple of seconds, but 100 times copying/pasting @ 30 seconds per task = 3,000 seconds. Three-thousand seconds is 50 minutes. That’s almost an hour of copying and pasting! That doesn’t include the time it takes to search through 20 years of Word documents stored on the network either.

An hour on the copy and paste merry-go-round can make even the strongest stomach nauseous. So, how do you get off this crazy ride?

A commercial management system (CMS) is an ideal solution. The data is stored in one place, allowing you to seamlessly build submissions, proposals and binders from one source. There’s practically no time spent copying and pasting because your:

  • Submission is a foundation document and once it’s sent to underwriters, it cannot be changed.
  • Proposal is created from your foundation/submission. All that needs to be added are rates and premiums.
  • Binder is created from the data extracted from the proposal.
  • Renewals/Remarkets - no starting over, no searching for information - it's all there.

In short, each document builds off the previous transaction. This allows your commercial lines team to spend more time servicing clients, not on data entry and especially not copying and pasting.

Copying and pasting is a repetitive task cleverly disguised as an automated task. Automation at its best reduces human intervention to a minimum and the reduction of human intervention means less time spent doing the task and less chance of human error. A win-win situation.

Become more efficient

Start with this book written by Sean Mulcair, Principal at Gradient Solutions. It provides a framework to help identify those inefficient, and costly, workflows.

Get the Book

Topics: Workflow, Marketing, Best practices