"Underwriters. I know that word strikes a nerve for many of you.
When I first got into insurance, I thought the same thing. They were the devil of success and their sole purpose was to make my life hell.
What I quickly realized is that they are the miracle workers and the final step between that big case being put through or being thrown out.
It can be hard to not let emotions be portrayed in a response to something being declined or turned away when you feel like there's still a way.
I can assure you though, a healthy and good relationship with your underwriters can make a huge difference. They are honestly the ones you should be kissing up to and making feel special.
If your name comes across that caller ID and they cringe, they do not and will not go out of their way to help. If your name comes across that caller ID and they see that it's their friend, someone who is always nice, and that they have a relationship with, guess what? They will bend over backwards and do everything in their power to help you.
Stop viewing them as an enemy and start viewing them as a crucial part of your team.
Thank me later."
Those words above from Insurance Soup and CIA co-founder Taylor Dobbie, the words about how underwriters are usually the bane of an insurance agent's existence, are likely words that echo your own thoughts. You've probably had experiences that add weight to the reason why underwriters get a bad rap, but like every agent knows, your career is built on good relationships. That goes for your underwriters too.
We know that's probably a tough pill to swallow, but you have to admit that Taylor makes a valid point. You get more flies with honey. Always. So, in an effort to help agents everywhere take a shot at improving the way they work with underwriters, we found these 3 quick tips to help you do just that. Check them out!
1. PROVIDE THEM WITH LESS RISKY POLICIES
We know, we know. The riskier policies are easier to sell. But if you're an agent who's been around for a while, you know that underwriters get a ton of flack from their carriers when they try to get riskier policies approved. Their carriers aren't dumb. They're very good at assessing the difference between "good risk" and "bad risk". If you do your underwriter a favor by submitting policies that are higher in good risk than they are in bad risk, you're probably going to get less push back because they'll get less push back from the carrier. If your underwriter knows that you're not just lobbing garbage at them non-stop, they'll be more likely to step up to the plate for you.
2. MAKE LESS WORK FOR THEM, INSTEAD OF MORE
You know what it's like when you see an email or a phone call coming through from a client or co-worker who always seems to have a million pointless questions that could have all been answered by visiting your website or by doing a quick Google search. You dread working with them because of the inevitable waste of time that comes with them. The same goes for your underwriters. If they see you as an agent who is consistently bringing the same issue to them over and over again, your needs might get pushed to the bottom of the pile. And can you blame them? If you're creating needless amounts of work for them you're probably not going to be a favorite of theirs either.
3. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH WHAT THE CARRIERS WILL ACTUALLY APPROVE
"Well, they should just approve what my client needs them to" might be what you're thinking, but we all know that's not how the big wheel spins. This means it's your job as the agent to know the difference between a standard policy ask or an outlandish one that will never get approved. Spend some time with your underwriter and find out how, why, and what's realistic from the carrier's side, as well as the underwriter's side. You'll be saving everyone, including yourself, a lot of time and trouble by being proactive on this one. Just saying.
Listen, we're not saying you should invite your underwriters over for Christmas dinner or take them on an all expense vacation with your family, but in Taylor's experience, giving a little in this area will get you a lot back. Treat your underwriters the way you treat your clients and you'll probably be glad you did.