Three ways to boost your relationship with underwriters during a hard market


Insurance brokers work hard to win and retain their accounts, and so do insurers. It’s common ground shared by everyone in this industry. With a hard market upon us, the industry can become a lonely place very fast if you don’t have underwriters in your corner crunching the numbers and bending the rules to make it work.


Despite commercial lines becoming more automated over time, an actual human being still underwrites most of your large commercial accounts. A hard market makes underwriters drill-down on the details and too many back-and-forth questions can put a strain on any relationship.

Here are three ways to boost your relationship with underwriters in a hard market.

1. Ask only essential questions.

It’s okay to be unfamiliar with some of the questions your underwriter may ask. It may be because you’re new to commercial lines, or it may be your first time dealing with a hard market.

So, rather than be reactive, be proactive. Head-off difficult questions by collecting solid data from the insured before sending it to your underwriter.

We can help. We’ve researched, analyzed and aggregated existing commercial lines applications into a single, data-rich questionnaire that satisfies all required P&C fields. Our questionnaire saves time by making sure you’re asking the right questions the first time and every time.

To get a free copy of our P&C questionnaire, click here.

2. Prepare precise submissions.

You can collect all the information needed and beyond from your insured, but it’s meaningless if your underwriter can’t decipher it.

  • What stories do your submissions tell? Do your submissions flow, or does your underwriter waste time flipping back and forth looking for information that may or may not be there? 
  • Did you include photographs? Rather than write a convoluted 2-paragraph description of a custom piece of equipment, it’s way easier to include a few photographs so the underwriter can see what it looks like. 

We conducted a survey of underwriters from across the country and asked them what they liked and didn’t like about broker submissions. Here’s what they had to say.

The number one frustration underwriters have with their brokers’ submissions is that they are incomplete or lacking information (81%), followed closely by one-word description of business (61%). Two other pet peeves included hand-written or faxed in submissions (21%) and lack of visuals/pictures (21%).

In short, making it easier for your underwriter to ‘underwrite’ the risk quickly and accurately ensures your submissions get the prompt attention necessary to compete in a hard market.

3. Add a personal touch.

As I mentioned earlier, an actual human being still underwrites most of your commercial accounts. Underwriters (or anyone for that matter), aren’t interested in canned responses or excuses when they call or email you with a question.

If you're in the middle of marketing a complex submission, it’s best to keep your language professional. But once you've passed that point, or if your underwriter is reaching out to share positive feedback, feel free to be less scripted, and more yourself. Remember, they’re feeling the pressure of a hard market too!

Use common sense to communicate with underwriters authentically, especially when it’s written communication, like an email. When answering their email, try to include an emoji, especially if it’s vital to communicate the tone. Little personal touches can endear you to your underwriter and make them eager to connect with you and move your submissions on the top of their pile!

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Topics: Marketing, E&O, Commercial_lines, profit, revenue, hard_market