How Far Has Automated Underwriting Come?


Jerry Whetnall
Director Life Product Management
StoneRiver

Has automation of the Life underwriting process moved from the ‘nice to have’ phase to table stakes necessary to stay in the game? Industry trends indicate that automation has reached the majority adopter phase with more carriers having automated underwriting than not. Life IT spend projections show carriers committing upwards of 10% or more of their budgets to these systems.

The Society of Actuaries previously cited several factors that had hindered a more rapid adoption rate of automated underwriting by Life carriers, including:

  • Costly implementation
  • IT resource constraints
  • Infrastructure compatibility issues
  • Cultural resistance to change

Yet many of these factors have been negated or at least mitigated when it comes to advances in technology in general and to automated underwriting systems in particular. Implementation costs have been reduced because of advances in system configurability and extreme advances in the rules engines that drive these systems.

Most configuration aspects and rules development are now handled by business analysts, reducing IT resource demand for implementation and longer term support. Advances in and implementation of service-oriented architectures, enterprise services buses, web services and higher adoption rates of ACORD Standard new business transactions have overcome many compatibility issues.

Ultimately, though, it is the definable business value and high return on investment versus current process expense that is motivating the increased adoption rate. Would you agree? Hit the “Add New Comment” link below and tell us what you think. Also, you might take a minute to read about Woodmen of the World’s experience.

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