The current and future of submission intake in commercial underwriting

Jul 13, 2022

The current and future of submission intake in commercial underwriting

In commercial underwriting,the basic process of submission intake has been essentially unchanged for decades. An agent, broker or customer sends the carrier numerous documents with data that needs to be evaluated, cleansed, and set up before an underwriter can even start their work.

While leading carriers are swiftly moving away from passively processing these documents, some carriers are still looking for the ideal solution for their business lines to make sure that they do not lose their competitive advantages.

Most common problems faced by underwriters:

  • Submission data in insurance applications shared by customers, agents or brokers can be inaccurate.
    (If you are working with questionable data that hasn’t been validated for accuracy, then any strategy you implement is under threat to begin with.)
  • Submissions are often incomplete and missing key documents which in turn either demands more time to be resolved or simply becomes a waste of time and resources. Underwriters tend to spend a lot of their time manually validating the documents from reliable sources online or through other means. This process usually takes days or even weeks.
  • Information shared is in different formats or structures, requiring effort to correlate and organize. This could be through emails, on paper, PDFs, Excel or other forms.

To address these problems, carriers most often use skilled workers onshore or offshore to evaluate, validate and verify the submission data from authorized and certified sources. This also leads to a more challenging relationship with brokers or agents.

But in most cases, the carriers still end up with an incomplete view of the submission or painstakingly have to source the information manually to furnish it by themselves.

What is the biggest hurdle in commercial insurance for rapidly turning around a quote request, especially for mid and large markets?

It is undoubtedly the submission data intake processing. Many carriers have tackled standardization of submission forms, but not that of accompanying data. For example, it is typical for a midsize to large commercial property risk to include thousands of locations and property types. 

Brokers typically send submission data as an Excel file with possibly fragmented worksheets. Sometimes loss run reports come as attachments (in Excel or PDF format). 

The addresses and data may be incomplete and need to be tagged with the information available in-house. Most insurance carriers typically have a data processing team that scrubs the data, puts it in a consistent format to meet internal standards for underwriters. They also enrich data with internally available information, and then send the information to underwriters.

However, this process usually takes days, and sometimes even weeks, depending on the size and quality of data. This slows down overall efficiency and seamlessness that leads to increased profitability in itself.

Subsequent to this process, underwriters conduct risk assessments, classification, pricing, and then respond to quotes based on their appetite and internal underwriting strategy. The quality and turnaround time of the underwriting process depend completely on the underlying data quality and with the lack of intelligent automation, the amount of errors that are possible are substantially large. 

With the power of automation and artificial intelligence today, this process can be expedited and risks that underwriters would need to pay attention to alone can be flagged and the entire data intake process can be automated.

In a recent webinar with Novarica, Intellect’s senior leaders and industry experts discussed the considerations to take while ‘Modernizing Commercial Underwriting using AI’.

The ideal modern underwriter’s job –

  • Assess and evaluate risk for new and existing business
  • Analyze reports to determine adequate exposure and loss rating
  • Maintain awareness of market trends, pricing levels and policy form amendments
  • Negotiate renewal terms for the retention of business
  • Utilize loss control and risk management practices in the underwriting process.
  • Respond to inquiries from brokers regarding modification to policy files in a prompt and efficient manner.
  • Work with brokers to develop new business.
  • Develop and maintain excellent broker relationships and management of assigned broker portfolio
  • Provide above average customer service

This is the first stop on the underwriting journey with exciting opportunities to blend human and machine workforces to dramatically improve results. Today, there are intelligent tools that can completely transform the intake process.

  • Application programming interfaces (APIs), portals, and robotics can replace a significant portion of email as the submission source.
  • Natural language robots can read, classify, and initiate submission processing from email.
  • Data validation and manipulation tools can evaluate, adjust, and conform list data from processing, including locations, vehicles, or employees.
  • Deep learning solutions can evaluate benefit plans, medical records, or other long documents to quickly extract key data from cumbersome records.

Intelligent tools can not only become indispensable assistants to underwriters by helping them to prepare and manage submissions for processing but also a huge technology asset that improves underwriting as a process for a company. Furthermore, these products not only prepare the data that’s used by an underwriter, they can also supplement it with third-party data validations ensuring that the underwriter can work more efficiently and effectively.

The result is that submission information will be higher quality, more complete, and more cost-effective than today’s processing.

The best part is, all the solutions required to adopt are already market-tested and proven.

(Learn about Intellect’s robust products that are purpose-built for commercial underwriting.)

While traditional underwriting intake practices haven’t changed in decades, those that have adopted and transformed are experiencing significant competitive advantage in the market with intelligent tools.

Business benefits experienced by carriers that have adopted intelligent automation tools:

  • Reduction in the overall cycle time by as much as 50% to 80%
  • Eliminated or reduced manual intervention needs significantly, thereby reducing costs by as much as 35%
  • Improve decision-making science due to better quality, enriched data that can be leveraged for advanced analytics



  • Identify prospects that fit into your appetite
  • Target marketing for high conversion rate


  • Poll Email or Pull from DMS or Real-time user upload

Partial Extraction

  • Requirements check and email triggers (for documents requests)
  • Exception handling

Quick Decline

  • Perform knockouts
  • Communication to internal/broker


  • BOR, License, OFAC and clearance check
  • Submission dedupe

Full Extraction

  • Use-case based contextual documents extraction
  • Exception handling

Data Enrichment

  • Auto reverse engineer text to NAICS/ISO/RMS/ATC
  • Data validation and enrichment (based on rules and third-party sources)

Submission Scoring

  • External risk insights with scoring
  • Submission prioritization


  • Assigning underwriters and enabling collaboration
  • Straight-Through Processing (STP) / Quick quote

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