The renewals process can be a time-consuming, resource-draining exercise for both risk pools and their members. Considering the endless back and forth of sending forms, exposure values data, and premium calculations keeping members informed on the renewal status can be a challenge. With the right RMIS, however, this process can transform into something that provides members with added value, while reducing strain on your staff each year.
Organizing and Automating Member Communication
Many pools rely on email systems to house all member communication during the renewal process. This leads to an inefficient “search and find” process each time responses need to be reviewed or acted on. Employing a strategy of filing email messages away in member-specific folders, with the goal of creating a more manageable structure, often fails to remedy the situation.
If the challenge of hunting for emails buried “somewhere” in member folders and subfolders sounds all too familiar, you are not alone. As cited in The Challenges of Email Folders, “… ironically, despite the heavy use of folders by most email users, research has actually found that the vast majority of items stored in folders are never referenced again. This makes the time and effort to create and manage folders a questionable practice.” The problem is that email systems are great at sending and receiving information, but not so much at storing and retrieving it.
Origami Risk tracks all renewal-related communications, making it easier to determine where a renewal stands, what the next steps required are, and which related documents need to be attached. Since all communication is attached to the account record, locating information is logical and easy. With the ability to create email templates and send group emails based on triggers, the process can be automated. Automating processes reduces the time your staff spends on administrative work.
Turning Renewal Data Collection into a Member Benefit
Gathering the exposure values, schedules, and additional information that members must update during the renewal process can be a major ordeal. This can actually lead to critical information being left out. According to James R. Mahurin, CPCU, ARM, property schedules typically omit at least 20% of their buildings and structures. As Mahurin, who has worked with public entities for more than 40 years, puts it, “Personnel in the administrative offices often have no clue what structures are owned, leased, loaned or borrowed—or how to find them.”
Simplifying Values Collection
To transform this process, two things must change. First, the values collection process must be simplified and streamlined. The more time it takes members to complete, the more likely they are to take shortcuts.
Origami Risk eliminates the cumbersome stitching together of numerous spreadsheets, as well as the difficulty of sorting out which values have been updated and who was responsible. Using a simple online portal, with the previous year’s values presented right next to the entry, capturing this data is straightforward and far from intimidating.
The Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRSA) used portals to allow for the completion of annual coverage applications and renewal forms online—an approach that gave members the ability to input as many as 30 different variables associated with coverage lines procured from CIRSA.
The second component in creating a member benefit out of the renewal process is to improve policy coverage by eliminating the 20% omission gap that Mahurin cites. If correct that this stems from values collection being completed by central office administrators, rather than the people who have the best knowledge of each class of property, then the solution would be to make it easier for those people to actually complete the data collection.
Origami Risk allows pools to create custom online portals that can be easily pushed out to the member staff with the best insight into each class of assets. The ability to see the status of each request allows the administrative office to oversee the process while keeping actual input in the hands of those with the most knowledge of the related data. This not only streamlines and shortens the process, it also ensures that assets are appropriately covered.
Easier Premium Calculations with Centralized Data
The premium calculation process can require combining numerous types of data, such as values collection data and member claims history. Having all this data reside within the same system as the premium calculation tools eliminates rekeying or converting data from other systems. This problem is compounded when pools use spreadsheets as part of the process.
As mentioned in the ZDNet article Excel errors: How Microsoft’s spreadsheet may be hazardous to your health, “Research has found that up to 90 percent of all spreadsheets have errors that affect their results.” Coupled with rekeying and transcription error rates, the risk of introducing bad data grows considerably. As the article notes, the European Spreadsheet Risk Interest Group Conference (Eusprig) is over 15 years old and still active.
Centralizing the data eliminates these types of errors. Underwriters can initiate a renewal for a set of proposals from the policies module in Origami Risk. They can choose what information from the previous year to pull over into the new proposal and make any adjustments as necessary—all without rekeying or copy and pasting data.
Origami Risk also contains robust underwriting functionalities that allow risk pools to manage the entire policy lifecycle, including proposal issuance, renewal applications, coverage schedules rating, coverage agreement creation, endorsements/audits, and even member billing.
Managing renewals doesn’t have to be a strain for your pool or its members. With better communications monitoring, an improved and streamlined values collection process, and elimination of the cumbersome rekeying and spreadsheets from premium calculations, you can tame this process. Ensuring that your members have policies based on accurate property schedules is one more way to add value for your members.