How risk pools can eliminate underwriting inefficiencies and errors

As risk pools look to improve or add to the services provided to members, inefficient and ineffective processes always stand in the way. In many cases, inadequate technology (in the form of antiquated databases, disparate systems, and multiple spreadsheets) limits the ability of risk pools to implement change. Take, for example, the challenges associated with processes related to the calculation of members’ premium contributions, such as:

  • Values and exposures collection is time-consuming for staff and members
  • Historical and current loss data is not readily accessible
  • Spreadsheets used to calculate premium contributions increase the risk of error and limit options for easily incorporating changes
  • Visibility into the process is extremely limited for pool staff and members

The right technology can help. It should be capable of tracking and managing the exposures and loss data for all of a risk pool’s members. It should include underwriting tools flexible enough to accommodate changes in rating tables and formulas, while also being easy to use. The right solution should also provide staff and members with role-specific insight into each point in the process.

Streamlining the collection of exposure data

Complete and accurate data is critical in the calculation of member premium contributions. The problem is that gathering the exposure values, schedules, and any additional information required is often a major ordeal. It’s a process that can drag on for weeks and consume too much of pool staff and members’ time — time better served on higher value activities.

Additionally, the more complicated the process, the greater the likelihood that critical details are overlooked. Streamlining the process around collecting data related to assets, vehicles, property information, and other exposures for members is essential.

Origami Risk offers a solution in the form of custom online portals that, when made available to members, makes it easier for them to provide the required information. Data collection workflow tools also allow for the automation of emails, reminders, and completion notifications related to data collection.

As Best Practices Pools: Managing the Renewals Process points out, this is beneficial in that it provides the ability to see the status of each request which allows the administrative office to oversee the process, thus reducing the burden on administrative staff and reducing the time the collection process takes.

The annual collection of values was once a process that took Washington Schools Risk Management Pool (WSRMP) over two months to complete. Using Origami Risk, the collection of values from 92 members participating in the pool’s property program took less than two weeks.


Expanding access to member loss data, reducing the potential for errors

Along with complete and accurate values and exposure data, the calculation of premium contributions also requires access to historical and current loss data. This is problematic when loss details are spread across multiple systems, resulting in the need to copy and paste (or rekey data) from one or more sources into a spreadsheet. Errors can easily be introduced.

According to Raymond Panko, a professor at the University of Hawaii, nearly 90% of spreadsheet documents contain errors. “Spreadsheets, even after careful development, contain errors in 1% or more of all formula cells,” writes Panko in What We Know About Spreadsheet Errors. “In large spreadsheets with thousands of formulas, there will be dozens of undetected errors.”

The “Why” and “When” of Moving from Spreadsheets to RMIS makes the case that centralizing loss, safety, and risk data in the same system eliminates the need for rekeying data. It also offers a vast improvement over spreadsheets, in which complex formulas or algorithms can be corrupted and contribute to errors that are difficult, if not impossible, to trace.

Unlike spreadsheets, Origami Risk’s cloud-based RMIS solution is designed to handle both large amount of data and complex calculations. Additionally, system checks can be put into place that draw on user-defined business rules, designated fields and formulas can be protected, and the system also stores an audit trail of changes.

Complete control over the underwriting process

Using spreadsheets or legacy systems in the underwriting process can also be problematic. As mentioned, with spreadsheets, there’s the likelihood for errors when making adjustments to algorithms or accidentally entering data into the wrong row or cell. Managing ratings and formulas in a legacy system can mean a lengthy process that’s reliant on costly custom programming.

The Origami Risk system gives pools administrators access to a flexible tool that can help streamline the underwriting process. Policy sets, rate tables, and rating formulas are organized in a user-friendly format that eliminates the need for maintaining multiple spreadsheets.

When creating policy sets, an administrator can define effective and expiration dates, select applicable coverages, and set options for limits, deductibles, and aggregates. Rate tables can be uploaded to the system and can be easily modified by a user with the appropriate permissions when necessary. This eliminates the need for custom programming and simplifies the process of making rate changes.

Using Origami Risk, a pool also has control over rating algorithms. Members’ premium contributions for each coverage can be calculated based on formulas specified in policy sets. Schedules are run through the rating algorithm and any additional factors or credits applied to determine the contribution amount.


Like many risk pools, Montana Schools Group Insurance Authority (MSGIA) used spreadsheets in the underwriting process. This practice required a great deal of effort on the part of staff and affected MSGIA’s ability to provide members with the robust information they needed to understand how premium contributions are calculated. The move to Origami Risk has transformed their approach.


An easier and more transparent process for risk pool members

In addition to improving the collection of data, online portals and customizable dashboards can also improve the way information is shared with members. Upon logging in via a member portal embedded in your website, members can easily lookup and view the policy and claim information for which they have access rights, view a history of premium contributions, update information needed for renewal, and check the status of endorsements.

Origami Risk can also help to simplify the process of generating and delivering quotes. With just a few clicks, exposure values and schedules provided by a member are run through the rating process and a premium contribution quote is provided to the member. On-screen tools allow for the delivery of multiple proposal options, submission of change requests, and automatic communication of the impact of changes. Streamlining this process improves operations, and also adds to services provided to members.

The right technology – and the right technology partner – for risk pools

Putting the right technology in place can make a difference. Integrated tools like those found in Origami Risk give risk pools a greater degree of control over the entire policy lifecycle, including issuance, renewal applications, coverage schedule rating, coverage agreement creation, endorsements, and member billing.

Origami’s cloud-based RMIS includes sophisticated tools for tracking exposures and consolidating loss data. Easy-to-use system administration features give staff full control over the configuration of the rating tables and formulas used in premium contribution calculation. Member portals and collaboration tools simplify the process for both staff and members.

Origami Risk has a proven track record of success in working with risk pools to provide technology used to streamline processes and increase the value they provide to their members. To learn more, or to request a demonstration, contact us below.